OCCRP Union of Investigative Journalists found outthat the former deputy head of the Russian government administration Kirill Androsov and the “authoritative” businessman Yevgeny Novitsky, whom the American investigators considered one of the “treasurers” of the Solntsevskaya organized crime group, participated in a joint project to build a resort in the Maldives.
Back in 2015, then President of the Republic of Maldives Abdullah Yamin “as part of a large-scale corruption scheme” leased a lagoon in South Male Atoll to Depezar Services Limited from the British Virgin Islands for $ 2.5 million. Half of this company was owned by the Turkish construction magnate Tufan Aytekin Gultekin and the founder of the Rixos hotel chain Fettah Tamince.
According to documents from the Pandora Papers, published in October 2021, the remaining 50% of Depezar Services Limited was owned by the Singapore-based private equity fund Lang Capital Fund, which was managed by Androsov. And Novitsky invested $ 50 million in this fund, note in OCCRP. In 2017, Lang Capital Fund sold its stake in the company for more than $ 4 million to Gultekin’s construction firm Sembol İnşaat.
Based on satellite imagery, construction of the resort has not yet begun, although the Government of the Republic of Maldives lists the atoll leased by Depezar Services Limited among projects in progress. As specified in OCCRP, local authorities have leased “dozens” of islands without a tender. Some of the participants in these offshore deals are still unknown. In connection with the “sale” of the islands, the budget losses of the Maldives are estimated at $ 80 million.
Abdullah Yamin was stripped of power in 2018 and convicted of money laundering a year later. At the moment, he is facing new charges of corruption.
Information about the Russian owners of Depezar Services Limited was contained in the materials of Asiaciti Trust, one of 14 companies that provided money laundering services through offshores and ended up in the Pandora Archive. More than 600 journalists from all over the world worked on the publication of the archive.
It follows from Asiaciti documents that Novitsky was hiding the origin of the money invested in the project. Only in April 2019, the Asiaciti management came to the conclusion that it was Novitsky who controlled the Lang Capital Fund, and not Androsov. After that, Asiaciti’s cooperation with the foundation ended.
It also follows from Pandora’s documents that Asiaciti has been in possession of information about Novitsky’s possible connections with the criminal world since 2015. However, the company was satisfied with the recommendation that the former Swiss banker gave Novitsky as his business partner.
In a series of letters sent in response to inquiries from OCCRP, Androsov argued that Novitsky was not affiliated with the management of Lang Capital Fund. The former official also stressed that accusations of links with organized crime to Novitsky “have never been formally brought forward or investigated.”
Kirill Androsov began his career as an official in the 1990s. Then he, together with Vladimir Putin, worked in the team of the mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak. In 1996, Androsov was an advisor to the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for City Property Management of St. Petersburg on economic issues, a year later he became the head of the Investment Projects Department of the Committee, and in 1998 – the Director of the Department of Economics of City Property of the Committee.
In 2005, Androsov was appointed Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation. In 2008-2010, he was the first deputy chief of staff of the government of the Russian Federation. At that time, the post of head of government was held by Vladimir Putin.
At the moment, Androsov remains one of the most influential investors in Russia. In March 2020, at a meeting at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, he sat next to Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Evgeny Novitsky from 1995 to 2005 held the post of President of JSFC Sistema. According to US investigators, he was closely associated with the Solntsevskie organized crime group. How wrote “Kommersant”, at the 1997 trial in Switzerland, the testimony of the US FBI officer Robert Levinson was read out, who mentioned Novitsky as one of the three “treasurers” of the group who controlled the gangster “common fund”.
Leave a Reply