FSB General, Africa, and “Schemes” in Togliatti: A New Investigation of Sheiman’s Crimes
What does the son of the head of Lukashenka’s administration and the “cashier” Dmitry Medvedev have in common?
The son of Viktar Sheiman, who recently appeared as an advisor to his father, probably has an opaque business in Russia. His partner is a retired FSB general close to the “cashier” Dmitry Medvedev. Details are in the Belsatinvestigation.
In early March, the head of Lukashenka’s affairs department, Viktar Sheiman, paid an official visit to Zimbabwe. The visit to Belarus became known only after the fact when Sheiman reported to Aliaksandr Lukashenka about the conclusion of contracts with African countries for $ 58 million.
According to the Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald, among others, Sheiman’s son, Siarhei, was present in the Belarusian delegation. The latter was introduced as an “advisor” to the head of the delegation. The fact that Siarheiis working with his father has not been previously reported.
The son of Viktar Sheiman is a very non-public person. He does not have a page on social networks, does not attend open receptions, and does not give interviews. Therefore, little is known about him: as Nasha Niva wrote last year that Siarhei Sheiman has a law degree, worked for some time as the chief controller of the Economic Control Committee under the Minsk Regional Executive Committee, organized concerts “For Belarus!”, and then went into business.
Nothing is known about his business in Belarus. But a person with identical data – Siarhei Viktaravich Sheiman – appeared in Russia.
Sheiman in Togliatti
In the Russian Unified State Register of Legal Entities (USRLE), Siarhei Viktaravich Sheiman appears as a co-founder of Tep-holding LLC in Togliatti (Samara region). In the Statistical Register of the Russian Federation, the company is designated as a micro-enterprise (the number of employees is less than 15) with Belarusian capital and a small authorized capital – 40 thousand Russian rubles (about $ 640).
Extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. Please note that S. Sheiman does not have an individual taxpayer number – this happens when a person is not a citizen of Russia and does not pay taxes there.
Tep-holding was established in 2006. The main activity, according to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, is the lease and management of leased real estate. Plus 46 additional activities (from brokerage services to trading in metals and fuels).
“This is a very private business. And, apparently, not large-scale,” journalist Roman Avrusin, head of the Companies and Markets department in the newspaper Samarskoye Obozreniye said in a conversation with belsat.eu.
What signs that the “non-public” business is really working, we managed to find in the public domain? The website cadress.ru, which accumulates information on government procurement in Russia, notes that Tep-holding took part in tenders related, among other things, to the army. For example, the company claimed to supply building materials to one of the Togliatti military units, to supply medicines to the Privolzhsky health resort of the Ministry of Defense, as well as fuel for the Federal Tax Inspectorate. In addition, Tep-holding regularly took part in tenders for the sale of confiscated goods.
According to the findcoms.ru business directory, Tep-Holding’s annual turnover is 808 million Russian rubles (about $ 13 million). Altough, there is no confirmation of these figures from other sources.
Together with Siarhei Sheiman, the founders of Tep-Holding are three more citizens of the Russian Federation: Aydar Avkhadiev, Voldemar Paklar, and Anatoly Tkachuk. Each of them has 25% in the authorized capital.
Siarhei Sheiman became a co-founder of Tep-Holding in December 2009. The company had already existed for three years at that time. On the same day, Anatoly Tkachuk, a retired major general of the FSB, became one of the founders of the Togliatti firm.
Chekist, businessman, writer
If anyone in Belarus knows Anatoly Tkachuk, then, most likely, as the author of spy novels – his works can be purchased in bookstores. But literature is just Tkachuk’s hobby.
From 1972 to 1998, Tkachuk worked in the state security agencies, where he rose to the rank of major general of the FSB. After the Chernobyl disaster, he headed the counterintelligence group of the KGB of the USSR in contaminated areas. In 1998, Tkachuk retired and went into business.
Anatoly Tkachuk also holds leading positions in several lobbying structures: the Commission of the Defense Industrial Complex of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), the Financial and Banking Association for Eurasian Cooperation (FBA EAC), the International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ICIE). By the way, the chairman of the ICIE is Artem Chaika, the son of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.
It is unknown if Viktar Sheiman and Anatoly Tkachuk knew each other during the latter’s work in counterintelligence, but after the start of the business career of a retired security officer, they definitely met.
In July 2010, an event took place, the details of which were not disclosed by the state media: the visit of a joint Belarusian-Russian delegation to Ghana. As reported by Ghana Business News, the Belarusian side was represented by Viktar Sheiman, then the assistant to the president on special assignments, and Russia – by Anatoly Tkachuk, as the vice-president of the RUIE. Delegates held talks with five Ghanaian ministers. They discussed the participation of Belarusian and Russian investors in oil and gas projects. According to the portal modernghana.com, the total investment should have amounted to a billion dollars.
Later, Sheiman will fly to Akra three more times – in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Every time there will be representatives of Russia, probably Tkachuk himself or his people. What specific projects the parties agreed on and how successful they were are unknown to the public.
Let us remind you: at the time of their first visit to Ghana, Anatoly Tkachuk and Siarhei Sheiman had a business in Togliatti for more than six months.
Titan, offshore, and murder
Anatoly Tkachuk and President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin
The scale of Anatoly Tkachuk’s social and commercial activities is not very compatible with the micro-enterprise in Togliatti. The main assets of the FSB Major General are Rustitan, Rusminresursy, Tsentrstroy, and the Chemico group of companies. His area of interest is government contracts in the field of protection and work with natural resources. For example, the company Rusminresursy back in 2011 received the largest titanium deposit in Russia for development – the project provides for investments of $ 1.3 billion.
The FSB general’s entourage gives an idea of who he usually does business with. For example, among the co-founders of Rustitan and Rusminresurso are:
– Evgeny Trofimov – ex-Minister of Internal Affairs of the Komi Republic;
– Viktor Prikhodko – General Director of the National Radio Engineering Bureau, which controls and distributes radio frequencies in partnership with the Ministry of Defense;
– Ivan Kostyukevich – according to the Novaya Gazeta investigation, such a person was called a “retired counterintelligence colonel” and took part in patronizing drug trafficking.
In addition, Tkachuk had dealings with the fugitive State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov, who was killed in Kyiv in March 2017. Both of them owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands – Kaul Engineering Ltd.
Also, Tkachuk and Voronenkov appeared in the story of the murder of a businessman. The ex-owner of the German ship Wadan Yards, Andrei Burlakov, was shot dead in a Moscow restaurant in September 2011. Then, in her appeal to the Prosecutor General, Burlakov’s widow called Voronenkov and Tkachuk the organizers of the murder (both deny their involvement in the crime). Moreover, Tkachuk, according to her, was the security adviser to Igor Yusufov, the then special representative of the President of the Russian Federation for international energy cooperation.
Is Medvedev’s “wallet” connected with Belarus?
Tkachuk, with his connections to the FSB, was a perfect match for Igor Yusufov. Today, together with his son Vitaly, he is in the top 200 of the Russian Forbes list.
Igor Yusufov worked in the government back in the Yeltsin era and oversaw the trade in arms, gold, and diamonds. In 2001, Yusufov was appointed Minister of Energy, almost simultaneously he chairs the board of directors of Rosneft and is a member of the board of directors of Gazprom. Under Medvedev, Yusufov becomes the president’s special representative in international energy cooperation. At that time, Yusufov’s son Vitaly was already gaining weight in business. The Yusufov father and son are buying out the German shipboard Wadan Yards and a stake in the Bank of Moscow. In the transaction, they acted as private individuals, but the partners testified: “Yusufov said that he was acting in the interests of the president.” That is, the extracted assets were supposed to come under the control of the authorities. On this occasion, the media began to call Yusufov Sr. “Medvedev’s wallet.” After the scandal, he resigns from public office and continues to do business.
But what connects the Yusufov family with Belarus? In 2012, Lukashenka said that the Russians wanted to buy Belaruskali at a reduced price ($ 10 billion instead of $ 32 billion), and for this deal, he was offered a bribe of $ 5 billion through Misha (probably Mikhaila Gutseriev), who represented the interests of Russian oligarchs.
“A 30-year-old boy came, a snotty billionaire…” – according to several media outlets, this is how Lukashenka then evaluated Vitaly Yusufov. However, his name was not officially announced.
As for Yusufov Sr., they write in specialized blogs: he is closely acquainted with Viktar Sheiman; they allegedly were engaged in the arms trade together. But there is not enough evidence for such a version.
Tep-holding of Siarhei Sheiman and Anatoly Tkachuk has the classic features of a gasket firm.
1. The company is registered in a private apartment in a Togliatti panel house. The apartment belongs to one of the co-founders – Voldemar Paklar. At least one more company is registered under the same address. At the same time, the local business community did not hear about Paklar and Tep-holding.
2. The director of the company, Sergei Smirnov, is a typical executive chairman. He is the director and founder of several firms in various cities of Russia, while he does not live in Togliatti or even in the Samara region, but in Yekaterinburg. Smirnov’s acquaintances told belsat.eu that he was engaged in the repair of cottages in his hometown; he had his own team of workers and financial problems.
On the Internet, Smirnov’s information can be found with the mark “unscrupulous customer.”
Over the past 10 years, Smirnov has been a director or founder of 19 companies. Three of them with a part “Tep” in the title.
3. Apart from Paklar, none of the co-founders is in any way connected with Togliatti. Tkachuk lives in Moscow, Avkhadiev – in Yelabuga (he is a top manager at the Essen Production AG food holding).
“Of course, this is a gasket firm with a “nominal” director,” a Russian merchant, who knows well the peculiarities of Russian “gray” business, tells us on condition of anonymity. “I can’t say how dirty it is: it is impossible to draw such conclusions without access to bank data. Most likely, there is no brutal crime there – otherwise, the real owners of the company would not be on the list of co-founders. Why didn’t they write down the entire firm at the same “face value”? Probably for a safety net. It is very easy to “squeeze out” a company where everything is written in the same “denomination” – security officials will come and force everything to be signed over to their own people. And if you stay among the founders, it is more difficult to do it. Gaskets are necessary to allow financial flows to pass through – to evade taxes, cover up gray deals, and accumulate profits or work with cashing out. Usually, such a company is one of the links through which money passes.
Belsat.eu was unable to get an answer to questions about the activities of Tep-holding from its management. Sergei Smirnov and Voldemar Paklar categorically refused to talk. Aydar Avkhadiev first stated that he did not know how his information got into the list of co-founders of Tep-holding, and he did not know anyone from this company, and then he stopped communicating. Anatoly Tkachuk’s secretary refused to put us in touch with him, referring to the fact that the chief was on a business trip. The contact number of the Tep-holding office does not exist at all.
The question remains: who is Siarhei Sheiman really today – an official or a businessman? And is there a conflict of interests of the Belarusian state and business here?
In response to our official appeal, the Presidential Property Management Department stated: Siarhei Sheiman does not work in the department, and the department did not include him in the Belarusian delegation in Zimbabwe.
Response from the Office of the President
Perhaps Siarhei Sheiman really does not occupy any position in the Department of Affairs. But The Herald reporter Tendai Mugabe, who covered the Belarusians’ visit to Harare in March, confirmed to belsat.eu that Sheiman Jr. was present there as an “advisor” and made a “presentation” to Zimbabwean officials.
Belsat.eu has not yet been able to get a comment from Siarhei Sheiman about his relations with the Presidential Property Management Department and business in Russia.