Yacht for $100 million and business projects of the son of the former president and family “purse” Igor Yusufov
Many wonder why once considered a liberal Dmitry Medvedev turned into the most rabid hawk of the war in Ukraine. As The Project found out, this metamorphosis hides, among other things, a personal drama. The only son of a politician Ilya Medvedev – of course, he did not go to the front, but with the outbreak of war he lost millions of investments made for him by his family Igor Yusufov the opportunity to travel the world and a chance to relax in the open sea on the luxury yacht “Universe”.
What worries bothered the young children of powerful parents? The yacht “Universe” itself will help to understand this. built Dutch bureau Damen Yachting in 2018, it was registered offshore from the Cayman Islands by Southerner Ltd, the real owner of which is hidden. However, the movements of the yacht in recent years indicate that the owner is most likely from Russia. For example, in 2020, the Universe spent at least 72 days in the port of Sochi, according to VesselFinder data. And in 2022, shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine no later than March 2when foreign authorities began to seize the assets of influential Russians – yachts, houses and planes – “Universe” left the Italian port of Imperia, where it was anchored at that moment, and through Istanbul came to Sochi, where, as the Project correspondent saw with his own eyes, she is moored even now.
Two sources of the “Project” – a friend of the Yusufov family and a person who is aware of the operating conditions of the “Universe” – say that it is the Yusufovs who own the yacht, but in fact Dmitry Medvedev’s family uses it. On the “Universe” the former president and prime minister have an office and special communications, and in the territorial waters of the Russian Federation she is often accompanied by ships of the Navy.
The “project” also found a lot of indirect evidence that it was Medvedev who actually uses the yacht. Turkish spotter Yoruk Isik, who monitors ships passing through the Bosphorus, in May 2022 informed that the “Universe” probably belongs to Medvedev. In a conversation with The Project, he clarified that he had made such a conclusion based on information from his source. Turkish observers from NGOs Nordic Monitor also called Medvedev the owner of the “Universe”. Another source of the “Project” among yacht brokers, citing the crew, claims that the Medvedev family uses this yacht. Finally, an employee of the Sochi marina, where the ship is now under guard, calls it “Medvedev’s” and “government”.
As further investigation of the Project showed, the same principle applies to other assets of the Yusufov family – what is recorded on them may actually belong to Medvedev and his heir.
Hayt – chief architect systems of electronic price tags for retail, devices instead of paper price tags that allow displaying information about the price and properties of a product on a screen located next to the product itself. Together with a partner in 2017, he created the Compo IT startup. Now the company is deeply unprofitable – according to the results of last year, a loss, according to SPARK-Interfax, amounted to 80.8 million rubles -, but at the start she had good prospects. In 2017 the company became participant of Skolkovo, and already in 2018, the startup found a strong investor in the face of VEB Innovations, which was ready invest in business up to 200 million rubles. Compo made plans for export and development. True, in the end, the agreement with VEB remained on paper, because that’s when the startup got an even more eminent investor.
“We were carried along the waves of American and Russian startupism, until Ilya Dmitrievich Medvedev was directly recommended to us as a potential investor,” Haight recalls with a smile. According to him, it was arranged like this: negotiations, together with Medvedev and on his behalf, were conducted by the eldest of the sons of Igor Yusufov – Vitaly, on which most family companies are now recorded. In terms of meetings, the youngest son of Igor Yusufov, Maxim, also joined the investors.
“In my understanding, Ilya Dmitrievich was given to the Yusufov family for education. This is a big family office, with a large number of its people in different structures, scattered throughout the country, says Hite. “Vitaly sets Medvedev on the right path in the life of a respectable venture businessman.”
In 2018, Compo entered into an investment deal with “Ikominvest” company, 100% owned by Vitaly Yusufov. The amount of investment is more than $4 million. “I was clearly told that your investor is Ilya, and you answer to him,” says Haight. Now he regretfully explains why he agreed: “They are not masked security forces, but the liberal wing, civilized supporters of European integration.”
The “project” made sure that the money actually came to Compo’s accounts – they came from various legal entities controlled by the Yusufov family – from Aykominvest and from the Digital Garrison. Despite the fact that $4 million is not the most impressive amount on the scale of a big business, neither Ilya nor Dmitry Medvedev could legally have that kind of money. Medvedev Jr. just graduated from MGIMO, and his father, if you follow him declarationssince 2012 has earned a total of about $ 1 million – with an unemployed wife Svetlanawhose annual income since 2012 did not exceed 0 rubles.
However, towards the end of 2018, strange things began to happen. In the Moscow region, a legal entity was established with an almost identical name – “NPO Compo”, the owner of which was the same “Aykominvest” Vitaly Yusufov. A few months after the conclusion of the investment deal, in October 2018, when Compo had already begun construction of a plant for the production of electronic price tags, Hite was unexpectedly called to Moscow and informed that a decision had been made to “pick up his business,” says Hite.
“[Они] they said: “You know, Konstantin, we don’t usually do this, but we like everything here so much that we decided to buy this company from you,” Haight recalls an October 2018 conversation. At the table in front of him sat Vitaly and Maxim Yusufov, as well as Ilya Medvedev. The interlocutors did not name the amount, suggesting to wait. At the beginning of 2019, one of the Yusufovs’ confidants told Khait: “What would you say if we value your share at 0 rubles? Your right to disagree, but we have created in Dubna, in a special economic zone, a company called “NPO Compo”. A director was appointed there and our management team landed. We only lack engineers, but we are ready to offer your engineers to move to Dubna, especially since you will not be able to pay their salaries, because we are stopping the financing of Compo. And as you remember, you have no right to attract funding outside of our organization. – the investment agreement forbade this, follows from the words of Hite. You have a choice: either you can transfer the share to our OOO “Future Invest” and then we will leave you 10% of our future victories, or you yourself figure out how you will bankrupt your LLC “Compo””, Haight retells that conversation.
Hite’s business was completely withdrawn in the spring of 2019. Things didn’t work out for the Yusufov-Medvedev firm – the loss of NPO Compo at the end of 2021 reached 161 million rubles, according to SPARK-Interfax. The aforementioned company Future Invest, which still owns Compo, is owned by firm “M Wy Group”, which is controlled by a friend of Medvedev Jr. on the yacht Maxim Yusufov. Medvedev Jr. is really connected with this business – in the leaked tax bases, he was listed as a person who received income from the M Wy Group, which, in particular, was previously wrote The Insider.
The Yusufovs did not respond to Proekt’s offer to speak for this article.
Nikiforov is a creature of Medvedev, he worked in his cabinet from 2012 to 2018. Diginavis employees interviewed by the Project believed that Nikiforov himself was the investor; they had not heard of Yusufov or Medvedev participating in their business. Hite says that Diginavis was also invested in the interests of Ilya Medvedev. Most of the company’s projects are at a loss by 2022 – the Reka marketplace for rolled metal products created by Diginavis is unprofitable by 11 million rubles. at the end of 2021, the Zen.car car service — by 53 million rubles, the Aviapraktika aviation project — 1 million rubles.
However, one of the most interesting IT-related investments of the Yusufov family was not made in Russia at all, and it deserves a separate story.
“In January 2018, Vitaly Yusufov arrived with a delegation. Musaev showed him the facility in Menlo Park, and I showed him the “church”. The “church” in question is an old Catholic church in San Francisco that investors wanted to turn into a co-working space for startups. in San Francisco. Yusufov didn’t have any special questions,” recalls Pavel Cherkashin, a Russian businessman who has long settled in Silicon Valley in California. At the time, he was partnered with Magomed Musaev, another Russian businessman based in California. Now the former partners have broken up and sort things out in the courts. As Cherkashin recalls, Musaev invited Yusufov as a potential investor in a project called 80 Willow Street. This is the address of an office complex on the border of the cities of Menlo Park and Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley. As a result, Vitaly Yusufov purchased this house in the spring of 2018 for $72 million, The Wall Street Journal wrote with reference to documents and sources.
A source familiar with the Yusufov family business says that this investment was also made in the interests of the Medvedev family. Musaev, whose name many still associate the Menlo Park house with, declined to comment for this article. An acquaintance of Musaev claims that he has nothing to do with this business since Yusufov acquired the mansion, although several businessmen told the Project that they discussed joint projects with Musaev on the mansion in Menlo Park until the summer of 2021 and even visited this object at the invitation of Musaev.
“His interest was to rent the right wing after Yusufov bought the house,” Musaev’s acquaintance describes the situation. “But then it turned out that the priority right to rent belongs to the Robin Hood company, which has been operating on the left side of the building for several years.” The interlocutor admits that Musaev himself wanted to buy this mansion, but did not find the funds. At that moment, Yusufov appeared, with whom Musaev had previously, according to his close friend, been unfamiliar.
Ilya Medvedev was very interested in American startup culture, two acquaintances of the former president’s family say. “The main one[the Compo investors]who was really interested in America was, of course, Ilya,” Haight recalls. Ilya traveled to Silicon Valley with his father during an official visit in 2010, two participants of that trip recall, and he had an American visa. A representative of the State Department told the Project that he was not authorized to comment on the issue of whether Medvedev’s son had a visa, suggesting that he familiarize himself with the presidential decree Joe Biden on sanctions against Russians dated April 15, 2021. Among other things document specifically stipulates that adult children of persons subject to US sanctions will not be allowed into the United States. Dmitry Medvedev was on to the sanctions lists in April 2022.
Around the same time – in the middle of this spring – Ilya asked his acquaintances what activities he should focus on in the new conditions, a Russian businessman familiar with the Medvedevs says: “IT business did not go, and the war completely crossed out its prospects, now Ilya social entrepreneurship”.
As a result, the father came up with a new occupation for the young man. In the summer of 2022, Ilya was solemnly accepted into United Russia. In the new place, Ilya, in his own words, will be engaged in particular in “support for small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurship.”
Medvedev Jr. will have to wait with his business – in the words of a family friend, he turned out to be too young for IT entrepreneurship, and under pressure from his father went to United Russia.