Fear and Loathing in Russia

Were times when Russian VEB (Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs) was a proud bearer of a State Development Corporation title. Nowadays, however, that organization has become one of the primary sources for a crime news
11.07.2016
A few days ago former deputy minister of fuel and energy and currently a CEO of "Evraziyskiy" corporation Stanislav Svetlitsky was apprehended by police in the city of Rostov-on-Don. "Evraziyskiy" is a subsidiary of VEB and Svetlitsky was accused of a large fraud by Russian authorities.

VEB has allocated about 75 million US dollars on reconstruction of water supply system in Rostov-on-Don. The money was given to "Evraziyskiy". As a result of company's management unlawful actions about 14 of 75 million ended up in foreign accounts owned by some unnamed offshore firm. Four years ago authorities has also arrested acting VEB vice-chairman Anatoly Ballo on same charges, but he was released almost instantly and remained in his position in VEB up until this spring.

However the scale of "Evraziyskiy" fraud pales in comparison to what's going on at Kerch Strait bridge construction site. The bridge is supposed to connect Russian mainland to Crimean peninsula, but now almost all the work has stopped due to lack of funding. The reason for this isn't money shortage, but machinations of Rotenberg brothers - a prominent Russian oligarchs and lobbyists. Rotenberg brothers want to direct the flow of government money through one of their own banks. The client company for Kerch Strait bridge construction is "Rosavtodor". By some coincident is headed by Rotenberg's protegee.

Moving on to a scandal with another big Russian bank "VTB Capital". In 2013 bank give government of Mozambique more than 500 million dollars, and also begin to print country's bonds. However, VTB has conveniently forgot to mention to the buyers that Mozambique has about almost half a billion dollar debt, and soon after the bounds was released the authorities of African country have proclaimed default.

Now investors are suing VTB potentially on more than 1 billion dollars and bank was also criticized by IMF director Christine Lagarde. She said that VTB actions was mere a smokescreen for a massive corruption scheme. This story has also attracted attention of Great Britain and US. Maybe someday we will discover the truth in some Panama offshore company archives.

Russia's largest property owner and MP Ildar Samiev has took a bunch of loans but not very eager on paying for them out while hiding behind his privilege of parliament. Samiev's lavish lifestyle in well-known to Russian media: private jet trimmed in ostrich leather, Bentley Mulsanne, a collection of yellow diamonds and a castle in Switzerland.

Ildar Samiev is also one of the main sponsors of the Russian political party unironically called "Fair Russia" (Spravedlivaya Rossia), but lenders persistence potentially promises a big problems for him in the near future. Right now, some of the Samiev's property has already been placed under arrest.

And now, the bizarre news: the Narovchatka village in Russia Chelyabinsk Oblast was mortgaged in a bank without its inhabitants notice. This was the result of a fraud conducted by village housing stock authority, who's apparently does not give a damn about anything other than its own pockets.