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Two chairs for Puchkov: USC put at the service of personal business? Thursday, 11 April 2024

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC put at the service of personal business?

The former vice-president of VTB, having taken the post of director of USC, violates the law banning officials from doing business and creates a corruption precedent?

Six months after his appointment to the post of head of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation, the “right hand” of VTB head Kostin, Andrei Puchkov , still has not parted with his personal business, thereby creating corruption risks. Will it be through him that companies will sell off USC’s non-core assets, skimming the cream in favor of individual characters?

The correspondent looked into how one high official combines entrepreneurship and civil service.  

After USC, under whose wing the main shipbuilding assets of the country were concentrated, finally fell to the bottom, it was transferred to the management of the state bank VTB.

In September 2023, the head of VTB Kostin said that USC had a “huge financial hole”, the lack of reliable reporting and the management of the state-owned company was not effective. At the same time, Kostin added that the “old holes” should be closed by the state, not VTB, clearly hinting at budgetary injections. 

In August 2023, Andrey Kostin sent his “right hand”, VTB Vice President Andrey Puchkov, to steer USC . The protégé’s task, apparently, is to establish that very efficiency of management, but already in the understanding of it by Kostin, who himself is not averse to taking gesheft from state assets. Just remember his ownership of the former forest hunting FSUE “Los”.

Puchkov turned out to be somewhat similar to his boss.

Puchkov’s business box

Six months have passed since Puchkov was appointed to a high position, but he remained the owner of four commercial real estate companies. He did not even create the appearance of decency in the form of transfer to trust management. And this is where the corruption risk appears. 

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After all, USC, in addition to shipbuilding assets, also has other, as they are commonly called, non-core assets. This includes real estate, which is being actively sold by the state corporation. And then, you see, the head himself suddenly drew up companies that could act as intermediaries in such transactions. There is something for the prosecutor to think about, perhaps. 

Andrey Puchkov, being the head of USC, today owns four companies in the field of leasing, real estate management, as well as the purchase and sale of it. Among them are Bibireorealestate LLC, established in 2002, Hefler MOS LLC (established in 2012, is the owner of premises in the Capital City business center North Tower), Sanproperty LLC (2017) and LLC Enthusiast". All companies are alive and operating, judging by the results of 2023. Puchkov’s revenue from them amounted to 236 million rubles. We don’t know whether the head of the state corporation declared this income or not, since for some time now the declarations of officials began to be hidden from the population, lest something happen. 

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

Among Puchkov’s business partners in some of his companies, very remarkable persons were previously noted. For example, in Hefler MOS LLC, this was Igor Kuchin, a lawyer, owner of a share in Salymneft LLC and Legal Bureau TsKR LLC. So, the latter is the contractor of the “subsidiary” company of the VTB state bank - VTB DC LLC, with which at least three contracts were previously concluded for a total amount of 75 million rubles. Taking into account that Kuchin, according to a UtroNews source, is also possibly a fellow student of Puchkov, an interesting picture is drawn. 

That is, Mr. Puchkov is not averse to lobbying for the interests of “his” people and allowing them access to the budget millions? In USC, perhaps, there will be even more scope for such manipulations. 

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

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Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

Kuchin’s partners in Salymneft LLC are also interesting, which in the near future may become a supplier of USC fuel for ships.

Today, the co-owner of Salymneft is a certain Promazot LLC owned by Andrey Teterkin and Artem Gurinov. Teterkin is a former top manager of the Evraz Group, NK YUKOS and SIBUR, who has several fuel trading companies under his belt. Teterkin also previously was the director of Russian Fishing Company LLC, when its owners were the brother of the governor of the Moscow region, Maxim Vorobyov, and the son-in-law of the oligarch Timchenko, Gleb Frank. With these two, Teterkin even had a common asset - RMD - Foreign Investments LLC, in which Vadim Gurinov, another native of the SIBUR division, ex-owner of SIBUR - Russian Tires, also had a share. 

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

Among Teterkin’s business partners, offshore companies from the British Isles - KIMBERLY TRADING SERVICES LTD and CAROLINE GROUP SERVICES INC. - ran through one of the oil and fuel companies. And Gurinova is mentioned by FederalPress as a co-owner of the petrochemical AvestraGroup and an investor in premium real estate in London and highly liquid suburban locations in different places in the UK.  

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

By the way, in the biography of at least one company, Puchkov also inherited an offshore company - HEFLER INVESTMENTS LIMITED, which was liquidated only in 2019.  

Speaking about Puchkov’s classmate Kuchina, one cannot ignore another very remarkable character - Sergei Kotlyarenko, with whom they had a common company - TsKR-Consultants LLC. Kotlyarenko was the asset manager of the head of another state corporation - VEB.RF - Igor Shuvalov.

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

Among the partners of Kuchin and another partner of Puchkov - Andrey Romanov (in Teriberka Finance LLC) was a certain Evgeny Zaltsman (investment company Ultimate Capital, worked at Deutsche Bank).

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

Zaltsman was a managing partner of the Marathon Group together with Alexander Vinokurov, the son-in-law of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Also in 2019, Zaltsman was included in the board of directors of TransContainer. Which at the same time included the then adviser to the head of Russian Railways, Alexey Taicher. Another very remarkable person. The Moscow Post has repeatedly talked about schemes as a result of which the former top manager of state-owned Russian Railways received tasty assets.  

Returning to Puchkov, it is also worth noting that among the former co-owners of his companies there was a certain Maxim Puchkov, who, judging by his patronymic, may be his brother. This Mr. is also the owner of seven companies, one of which works in the IT field, and the rest in the same company as the head of USC. We will not be surprised if, in the event of a scandal, the rest of Puchkov’s assets will go to a relative.

Two chairs for Puchkov: USC “put” at the service of personal business?

Although Puchkov left VTB, he did not lose touch with his patron Kostin. After all, it is VTB that manages USC and is its main creditor. 

Sources claim that it is also through Puchkov’s close friend, billionaire Roman Gromozdov, that communication is carried out regarding the affairs of the Donstroy developer, which VTB once relinquished for debts. MorningNews reported more about this in its previous article. 

Taking into account the connection between Donstroy and VTB, the direction of Puchkov’s business begins to play with new colors. But the question arises: does Kostin know about the personal interest of his protégé Puchkov, or will this corruption risk bomb come as a surprise to him? 

And it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Investigative Committee to check how a federal-level employee is also a businessman.

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