As a businessman Vladimir Kruglov wanted to outsmart everyone, and gave the oil depot in Feodosia to someone else’s mother

As a businessman Vladimir Kruglov wanted to outsmart everyone, and gave the oil depot in Feodosia to someone else’s mother

The Crimean authorities successfully sold the once valuable asset – the largest, already dead oil depot on the coast in Feodosia. The new Moscow owners – businessman Vladimir Kruglov and lawyer Viktor Khmarin – did not want to shine – so as not to fall under sanctions related to restrictions on local business. The mediator Andrei Guskov took advantage of the circumstances. The other day, the verdict was read to him.

In Ukrainian times, the tank farm was one of the most successful and profitable enterprises in Feodosia. In the Russian Federation, in its former form, solid investors did not need it. The Crimean authorities sold the asset and are no longer interested in her fate, although there are 270 employees there and she is still associated with the State Unitary Enterprise of the Republic of Kazakhstan “Chernomorneftegaz”. The Feodosiya oil terminal can store 250 thousand tons and transship up to 12 million tons of oil per year.

The couple Dorosh came to Crimea from the Kursk region, where her husband, a retired officer, headed the Municipal Unitary Enterprise “Ritual Services”. Svetlana Dorosh completed the Kursk period of her life as an instructor in the protocol department of the regional administration. In 2020, she, a teacher by education, briefly acted as the first deputy head of the city administration of Feodosia. In November 2019, the Ministry of Property and Land Relations of Crimea put up for auction JSC “Marine Oil Terminal” (MNT) for 651.2 million rubles. In preparation for the sale, the names of Sergei Kurchenko, a fugitive Ukrainian oligarch with ties to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and Russian lawyer and businessman Viktor Khmarin were mentioned.

The winner of the auction unexpectedly became the Moscow-based JSC Firma Gunas (there is one person in the state, the authorized capital is 35 thousand rubles), in the government of Crimea, the owner of the joint-stock company and the chairman of the board of directors of the Sea Terminal was called Valentin Dorosh. He promised to carry out the technical re-equipment of the tank farm with the installation of pontoons, the installation of gas pollution systems at the site of treatment facilities, and the reconstruction of the railway overpass.

Since then, the activity of the Marine Oil Terminal has not been indicated, oil transshipment has not resumed, losses have been recorded in the reports: for 2021, 64 million rubles. Judging by the company’s website, it is simply difficult to call the enterprise alive, one of the most “city-forming” events occurred in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic: in 2020, Feodosia doctors reported on the vaccination of its employees. In December 2022, Svetlana Dorosh participated in the next competition for the post of head of the administration of Feodosia, but was not successful.

In the summer of 2022, the oil depot was again talked about in the business press, now about the fraud associated with it, the theft of shares that took place. In this part of the drama, the Crimean officials did not participate in any way, they successfully threw off this stone for themselves.

The actual buyer of the tank farm, Vladimir Kruglov, who has not been mentioned in connection with the Marine Terminal so far, was recognized as the victim in the fraud case. At the time of his arrest, Guskov appeared as unemployed, previously he served as deputy general director of the North-Western Shipping Company, chairman of the Russian resettlement movement “Chelovek. Earth. Russia”.

In the course of the investigation, the following picture emerged. The Feodosia MNT was not the first oil and gas asset for Vladimir Kruglov: he is a co-owner of three companies associated with the processing of hydrocarbons, the general director of Nefteproduktservis LLC, a large oil depot in the village of Starosyrovo near Moscow, owned by the already mentioned lawyer Viktor Khmarin.

Mr. Kruglov intended to hide his ownership of the Crimean asset for fear of falling under international sanctions. Andrey Guskov assured the employer that, having many years of experience and extensive “knowledge in economics and jurisprudence”, he is able to successfully solve the problem. And he guaranteed the customer the use of a methodology that would initially allow him to successfully acquire and then anonymously manage a Crimean company, making only hired managers public.

The essence of the scheme was reduced to the creation of a “matryoshka” – a set of firms (a chain of interconnected closed-end investment funds), which hides the real beneficiary.

The scheme proposed by the consultant was approved, and Andrey Guskov received 25 million rubles for its implementation. This money was used to create a closed-end mutual investment fund “Dolina”, which belonged directly to Mr. Kruglov, and a management company with a foreign name “Mercury Asset Management”, which is still managed by a man named Marat Kadyrov.

At a legal auction, the shares of the tank farm were bought by Gunas JSC, then they were transferred to the LLC of the same name, the founder of which was Guskov’s mother. In other words, Andrei Guskov, while acquiring the oil depot from the Crimean authorities, secretly from the real investor, seems to have simply embezzled MNT shares. At least that is the conclusion reached by the court of first instance.

When Vladimir Kruglov accidentally found out about the change in the owner of his company, he did not put the brakes on the matter. After six months of proceedings, the state prosecutor in the debate asked to sentence Andrey Guskov to eight and a half years in prison. However, the court issued a much more humane verdict. According to the decision of the Preobrazhensky Court of Moscow, the consultant was found guilty of fraud on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony. The court also granted the civil claim filed by the injured party. However, while Guskov pleaded not guilty, his defense intends to appeal the verdict.




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