Crack-down on Vekselberg: why is the “Renova” company associated with the “Gaizer case”

Crack-down on Vekselberg: why is the “Renova” company associated with the “Gaizer case”
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TheGaizer case” may impact upon Victor Vekselberg

The scandal around the “Renova” GC, controlled by the famous businessman Viktor Vekselberg, is likely to be connected with the former councilor of the Head of the Komi Republic, Alexander Zarubin. He is the only defendant in the so-called “Gaizer case” who has been arrested in absentia. He had managed to escape abroad before the arrest of 18 defendants in the case in 2015.


To remind you, on September 5th the media reported on the detention of two top-managers of the GC — the CEO of the “T plus” company, Boris Vainzikher, and “Renova” managing director Evgeny Olkhovik and on searches “Renova” offices.  A criminal case has been initiated against them according to p.5 art.291 of the Criminal Code,  “Especially large bribery”. Mikhail Slobodin, who used to be the head of “Vympelkom” until recently, is also involved in the case.

All these people at different times managed the “T plus” energy company, which is a successor to “KES-holding”, and, according to the investigation, took part in fraudulent schemes connected with the company’s business in the Komi Republic when it was headed by the lamentably famous governor Viacheslav Gaizer, arrested in September 2015.

According to the information from the Russian Investigative Committee, Komi authorities, in return for bribes totaling more than 800m roubles, in 2007 – 2014 set tariffs which were very profitable for the company, and got ownership of 38% of the “Komi power supply company” via offshore entities.

It is interesting that from 2003 until 2009, “Renova” was headed by Alexander Zarubin, who could by all means be the initiator of all of the schemes. Komi experts believe the former husband of the singer Lolita Miliavskaya to be the key figure in Gaizer’s organized crime syndicate, and Gaizer himself was likely to be the person providing for the money transit’s legality.  By the way, at the start of his career Gaizer worked under Zarubin’s direction at “Komi Social Bank”.

Crack-down on Vekselberg: why is the “Renova” company associated with the “Gaizer case”

According to RBC, “Renova” bosses have  had interests in Komi since the end of the 1990s, when the SUAL aluminium holding (Chair of Board: Victor Vekselberg) bought a large block of shares in the “Timan Bauxite” company, having obtained a license for the Middle Timan deposit development.

It was at that time that the first election campaign of the future governor, Vladimir Torlopov, took place. It was financed by Zarubin who became the governor’s main councilor and actually formed the economic bloc of the Komi government.

Later, Zarubin was invited to head “Renova”, and he put Alexei Chernov, a businessman from Saint Petersburg, in his place. The latter then became First Deputy Governor. At present, both Chernov and Gaizer are in Lefortovo.

Konstantin Romadanov, the man who supervised the republic’s energy sphere, is also there. Being Head of the Komi Republic’s Tariff Service, he received his wedge via a number of front organizations from all energy sources in the republic.

Crack-down on Vekselberg: why is the “Renova” company associated with the “Gaizer case”

In 2015 experts called the arrest of the “Gaizer’s group” a hit on Vekselberg. But then “Renova” rejected rumours of relations with Alexander Zarubin, explaining that he had not worked with the company since 2009. However, keeping in mind that the new case involves periods of time up to 2014, it is possible that after Zarubin had left his post, top-managers of the company continued their predecessor’s murky affair.

As a person who has lived in Syktyvkar for many years and who headed one of the leading media outlets of the Komi Republic (“Krasnoye Znamya”), I will follow this case carefully.