Investigation RBC: as has been smuggling through St. Petersburg customs

Trucks near the customs post “Torfyanovka” on the Russian-Finnish border

In early July the FSB has been a significant reshuffle. President Putin replaced the head of one of the key units of the economic security Service (SEB). Place of retired 64-year-old Yuri Yakovlev took Sergei Korolev, formerly head of Department of own safety. The reshuffle also took place with several key employees.

Chair SEB was previously occupied by Alexander Bortnikov, the current Director of the FSB.

Formerly, special Department initiated the audit in the SEB. The result has left his post as major General Viktor Voronin, who led the “K”. It is responsible for the banking sector, the fight against smuggling and drug trafficking. One of the reasons for the resignation of Voronin was a criminal case, where he was involved his subordinate Vadim Uvarov. The data at the disposal of RBC to indicate that the interest of law enforcement authorities to the FSB may be associated with information about the facts of protection, transport and logistics companies in the North-West region, including smugglers.

If so, then we are talking about the commodity flows worth billions of dollars. Only transportation and logistics company ULS Global, which presumably was associated Uvarov (customs documents of the company at the disposal of RBC), are annually imported goods worth $2 billion, says a former employee. This means, the potential payments to the budget had to be $600-750 million.

Scolding Putin

The agenda of the meeting of the government Presidium on 1 June 2009, headed by the then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin did not promise any sensation. Officials were to discuss the implementation of the Federal budget and extra-budgetary funds for 2008, and to adopt the strategy of light industry development up to 2020.

But suddenly we are talking about illegal imports. The Prime Minister was dissatisfied with the fight against smuggling. “And the result in such cases is landing in jail. Where is the landing?” — Putin was indignant, remembering that a few years ago dispersed all the customs heads making head Andrei Belyaninov. “So what? And channels both worked, and work still. There is still one of the markets goods worth more than $2 billion is still not destroyed, and no owners”, — continued the Prime Minister. Following the meeting, he instructed the Federal security service and interior Ministry to strengthen the fight against smuggling and counterfeit goods (fake goods).

28 days later, Moscow authorities have closed the Cherkizovsky market, the largest distribution center for clothing and consumer goods. According to police, the market is stored 6 thousand containers of contraband worth $2 billion was Soon followed by the sale of assets of act group, co-owner of the Cherkizovsky market and one of the beneficiaries, Telman Ismailov, for some time went to Turkey.

<p>Closing the retail pavilions on the Cherkizovsky market, August 2009</p>

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Photo: Andrew Switala/TASS

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The closure of the retail pavilions on the Cherkizovsky market, August 2009

However, the place of the Cherkizovsky market soon took a “green thumb” and shopping center “Moscow”, according to two of the customs broker and Petersburg businessman importing clothing and shoes. According to interlocutors RBC, the wholesalers transported the contraband goods across the country.

As told RBC representative of the market “Gardener”, this information is not true. He said that Rospotrebnadzor and other regulatory bodies regularly check the trading platform of violations in its activities there. In addition, compliance with the following laws and the administration of the “Gardener”. The same thing said the first Deputy General Director, OOO “TC “Moscow” angel of Ifraimov, adding that in case of detection of isolated sellers of dubious products, the property itself refers to the customs authorities, police, FAS and Rospotrebnadzor. Representatives of both venues emphasize that trade deal, the tenants, small and medium business.

According to Executive Director of Souslikovina (includes domestic enterprises of light industry), Igor Ulyanov, the amount of smuggling of goods of light industry in Russia in 2015 could be 0.5–1 trillion Problem confirmed by the head of the National footwear Union Natalia Demidova. Every year in Russia, sold not less than 500 million pairs, she says. About 100 million pairs produced in the country, 300 million — official import. The missing 100 million pairs is the minimum volume of illegal shipments.

“Jerboa” and “the overload”

“It earns half of the Vyborg retirees, we call them “Toscanini,” says asked about the anonymity of the Petersburg businessman dealing with import of clothes and shoes. Early in the morning “jerboa” on personal vehicles crossed the Russian-Finnish border. In Finland they were waiting for the truck with 20 tons of goods, which it covers some two hundred cars at 100 kg per vehicle. Individuals legally carrying a product supposedly for personal use without paying duties. Employees of the customs post help the shuttles quickly to cross the border. On the Russian side, they were waiting for another truck that unloaded the goods. According to the interlocutor of RBC, “jerboa” time to make up to three trips back and forth, earning 3 thousand.

Smugglers middling practice more complex schemes. For example, wagon with goods, clothing and electronics legally leaves from a neighbouring country. But on the Russian border the driver takes the customs officer need a second set of declarations, from which it follows that the heavy trucks carrying building materials — the goods subject to low customs duties. The inspector passes the vehicle without additional control, x-ray or inspection. The truck is sent to the customs terminal, and there should be a clearance.

However, the way the truck swerves to the warehouse. There break seals, unload clothing and electronics, loading in vehicle bricks or gravel specified in the Declaration. Arriving at the customs terminal, the truck no problem is customs clearance. Then again, taking materials to the warehouse, to substitute a new consignment of expensive goods. This scheme is called “overloading”, described in the resolution on initiation of criminal case on evasion of customs duties against the businessman Dmitry Zarubina from St. Petersburg and its environment (copy of the decision is at the RBC).

However, smuggling can be carried out without any “Overdrive”. For example, in March of this year employees of FSB have detained in the port of Ust-Luga container of elite alcohol, is declared as a sealant. The searches took place in “Central logistic Severo-Zapad”, was arrested a well-known St. Petersburg businessman Dmitry Mikhalchenko. And at the end of may — in the same Ust-Luga — investigators found the party of the Turkish clothing described in the declarations as the construction materials. Cargo trailers arrived at the ferry, owned by the Russian-Turkish group ULS Global.

Six months before in Pulkovo airport, the Federal security service arrested 20 tons of iPhones and other machinery, delivered under the guise of picture frames. The searches took place in offices of the same ULS Global, and a member of the customs broker of Broker” seized the print, told RBC a source in the company.

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How profitable smuggling?

“On average, payments to the budget during import of light industry products account for 30-35% of the cost of the party on the invoice,” says the head of the support Centre FEA Galina Balandina. However, the figures can vary greatly. At the request of RBC experts from the support Centre FEA calculated value of official duties with the Turkish products (auto parts, coffee makers, furniture, coats, and clothing) worth $64 thousand under the invoice in the transit Declaration (the product traveled through the Baltic States). Turned $56 thousand, that is almost 90%. Another example is the Italian clothing with a price of $13 thousand According to the calculations of the legal company Eterna Law, payments to the Treasury are equal to 183 thousand rubles., or $3.2 thousand, on a specified date only 25% of the value of the goods.

According to several interlocutors RBC, dedicated to the delivery of goods to the North-West region, the cost of the party of the Turkish clothing and daily Essentials in a 20-ton truck — $300-500 thousand Thus, the budget to pay $90-175 thousand off the wagon.

Bets on illegal smuggling is much lower and they are not tied to invoices, continued RBC sources. For example, for the import of 20-tonne class with the same clothes and consumer goods, the importer must pay $45-60 thousand, and regardless of the country of origin. This includes $3 million tax on goods-a cover of $10-12 thousand bribes to customs officials, the police and the FSB, the rest of the margin of a customs broker.

Send to nowhere

ULS Global — large by the standards of the North West region transport and logistics company. She owns eight cargo planes, 350 cars and sea ferry. The owners of the group of Russian businessmen Igor Davronov and Leonid Kuzmin, and also a citizen of Turkey, Cabrayil Karaarslan. As a former employee of the ULS, the basic logistic scheme looks as follows: goods from Turkey, China and European countries take flights to Tallinn, there are loaded into trucks that travel in the Estonian port of sillamäe, and from there by ferry sail into Ust-Luga, where it is customs clearance.

“The company — under various names — works since the beginning of zero, in 2010, imported in Russia to thousands of trucks a month, now, after the jump rate and fall in imports, 150-200 cars,” says a former employee of ULS, asked about anonymity.

<p>the Aircraft <span style=”line-height: 1.6;”>ULS Airlines Cargo</span></p>

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Photo: uls-global.aero

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Plane airlines ULS Airlines Cargo

RBC managed to get acquainted with several hundred transit declarations submitted to the customs office of Estonia cargo transport ULS in 2012-2015. We are talking about clothes, shoes, coats, electronics and everyday products, Turkish, Chinese and Italian origin. The consignor was offshore, one of the recipients — the Petersburg firm “Fromcompleting by Kuzmin and Afronova (eliminated). In 2014 and 2015 merchandise totaling $24 million described almost 200 declarations were sent to the Russian companies “Crown” (INN 7804492052), Hermes (INN 7810509386) and TK Inkar” (INN 7804492098). However, the first two numbers are not registered in the Unified register of legal entities, that is, those companies never existed. The third (with this company was actually called “Artreyd”) was liquidated on 14 January 2014.

“If we were talking about one or two declarations, you can assume a trivial error in INN. But if it is a mass phenomenon, probably used some kind of illegal scheme”, — says the financial Director of BMS Law Firm Yuri Stepanov. Senior associate Herbert Smith Freehills Sergey Yeryomin recalls that the defunct company may not pay customs duty. A possible explanation, continues the lawyer, that the goods were imported into Russia to the address of the other firms, that is, before crossing the border supporting documents changed.

RBC appealed to the Federal customs service with a request to comment on the situation. It was also reported that unfair participants of foreign economic activities of organized illegal schemes of import of goods into the territory of the Customs Union, on making and replacing of shipping and export documents. Main Directorate for combating smuggling of the FCS is taking steps to curb these activities and the establishment of those involved.

RBC also asked the FCS to indicate what goods were imported into Russia for the transit declarations the cars in the designated date (this is the only way to track the substitution of documents). However, customs found that such information “is limited and cannot be sent in a commercial organization”.

Co-owner ULS Igor Davronov in conversation with RBC said that his company only provides transport and is not related to senders and recipients of cargo: “We play the role of a taxi and no more.” Delivery for Fromcompleting” emphasizes Davronov, was an “absolutely transparent and white business”, but about the deliveries to the non-existent firms, the businessman is not known.

A former employee of ULS says that 150-200 trucks, monthly imported by a company in Russia, half of it is Turkish product, 30% Chinese, 20% European. The annual cost of supplies, according to his calculations, more than $2 billion.

High patrons

A former employee of ULS in a conversation with RBC, suggests that the protection group is able to provide operative of the Main Department for combating smuggling (SPONGE) of the FCS of Russia Pavel Smolyarchuk and chief of the 7th division (in charge of customs) management “To” SEB FSB Vadim Uvarov. In confirmation of these words, a source close FSB (about her role below), provided RBC’s emails, which the representatives of the alleged ULS were Smolarchuk and Uvarov. The FSB these letters were donated by Dmitry Nesterenko, former partner, co-owners of the ULS on a number of projects.

What is governance?

The “K” is part of the economic security Service (SEB) FSB. Initially it oversaw the credit and financial sphere, but after the reorganization of the structure, “To” entered administration “N”, responsible for the fight against smuggling and drug trafficking. That is why “To” now oversees and customs. In addition, the SEB included management, regulatory industry (“P”), transportation (“T”), as well as the work of the Ministry of interior, Ministry of justice and Ministry of emergency situations (“M”).

One of the participants writes with ‘ faruch2050@gmail.com. He calls his employee Marchukova (CEO of Broker name is Alexei Marchukov), and one of his companies — “Fromcompleting” (belonged to Havanova and Kuzmin). Another recipient, alexandrov.bur10@yahoo.com as can be seen from the letters, working in customs bodies and is married to Oxana Smolyarchuk.

Winner ‘ alexandrov.bur10@yahoo.com warns faruch2050@gmail.com about future on-site inspections at Kingisepp (in the area of its responsibility is the Ust-Luga port) and Baltic customs, shares other internal information. And kosovka2013@gmail.com (supposedly Vadim Uvarov FSB) reports faruch2050@gmail.com what firms it is better to temporarily use in order to avoid the risk zone in the internal databases of law enforcement agencies. “Wise analysts recommend the [company] Karavan BTS — stall to the good times,” writes kosovka2013@gmail.com. In addition, it helps solve the problem with the ongoing law enforcement inspection of the company “Fromcompleting”.

Igor Davronov told RBC that address faruch2050@gmail.com does not belong to anyone of the employees of the ULS. The businessman assumes that Dmitri Nesterenko fabricated this conversation, wanting to take revenge on the owners of the company.

The elimination of a competitor

On the night of September 29, 2015 on the road between Murmansk and St. Petersburg investigators with the support of SWAT arrested a St. Petersburg businessman, owner of the Cartier boutique and transport companies “Logis-TRANS” Dmitry Zarubin. Entrepreneur and ten members of his entourage are accused of organizing the smuggling of clothing and technology from Finland according to the “Overdrive”, which was the reason of non-payment of customs payments at 460 million rubles.

<p>the owner of the Cartier boutique and&nbsp;transportation company &quot;Logis-TRANS&rdquo; Dmitry Zarubin, may 2010</p>

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Photo: Valery Levitin/Kommersant

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The owner of the Cartier boutique and transport companies “Logis-TRANS” Dmitry Zarubin, may 2010

The businessman through his lawyers gave RBC that neither he nor his staff was not involved in the customs Declaration of goods. As suggested by Zarubin, the real reason for his arrest — competition with ULS and the desire of the owners of this company to “squeeze it from the market”. According to a source close to the Zarubin, the owners of the ULS didn’t like that the businessman carries from Finland the goods are of Turkish origin: allegedly, they wanted to monopolize the logistics and customs clearance of such products.

The basis for the criminal case went the official report of the operative SPONGE FCS Pavel Smolarchuk. Previously, he has tried to catch Zarubina on the “Overdrive”. In November 2014 the van close to the businessman, the company crossed the Finnish-Russian border at the checkpoint “Torfyanovka” and went to the customs post “Anninsky”, but turned into the industrial Park “Murino” allegedly due to a malfunction. Suddenly there were police and staff of FCS, including Paul Smolyarchuk. However, no violations found.

Zarubin and his entourage — in addition-payment of customs duties — charged with organization of criminal community (item 210 of the criminal code). This is in contrast to the “contraband article” allows you to keep them in custody. Detained for ten months sitting in jail, including sister Zarubina, the mother of a six-month child at the time of arrest.

Emails released Nesterenko, referred to a DZ, he’s off somewhere. Winner ‘ alexandrov.bur10@yahoo.com (presumably, Paul Smolyarchuk) expressed displeasure that the man dragged the knife through the part of another thread coats and expensive clothes. The interlocutors discussed the possible connection of CLE in law enforcement. In a letter dated April 1, 2015 alexandrov.bur10@yahoo.com reports on plans to work Abroad.

In a conversation with RBC Igor Charonov said that neither he nor the ULS are not relevant to the arrest Zarubina.

Shadow Boxing

Smuggling gives importers the opportunity to reduce the cost in half to two times the importation of Turkish goods and several times when supplies from Europe, it follows from the calculations of the two customs brokers of St. Petersburg. “The main reason for the popularity of illegal schemes and defensive high duties on light industry products, — says one of them. — Officially this is done to support domestic production, but in fact only feeds a layer of corrupt officials and police officers.”

Another reason for the proliferation of smuggling is the lack of a single database of customs and tax services. This allows imported bricks or tiles to disappear to nowhere, and consumer goods appear on the balance sheet importers from nowhere, adds the interlocutor of RBC.

The head of the support Centre FEA Galina Balandina, the General-the major of customs service in resignation, I agree with both arguments. “Import duties on light industry goods is really high. On the downside of the interaction of tax and customs officers, we can recall the old story, when the Declaration number one legally imported quantities of goods stated by different firms in dozens of invoices, but it did not attract the attention of the tax inspectors,” — said the expert.

Taking intermediary

October evening, the official of management of Federal registration service across St.-Petersburg Boris Avagian entered the hall of the luxury hotel The St. Regis Nikolskaya street in the center of Moscow. Went to an Italian restaurant, sat down at the table, he texted late the other person — Vadim Uvarov from the FSB. Three minutes later he appeared. Men had dinner, drank coffee, and an hour and a half went.

After the meeting, Avakian wrote the application in Department of own safety (USB) the FSB. He claims that the restaurant we went about the business patronage of the Uvarov a number of St. Petersburg companies engaged in customs clearance. FSB officer allegedly requested a $3 million (a copy of the application Avakian is at the RBC).

<p>the Official of management of Federal registration service for St. Petersburg Boris Avakian</p>

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Photo: Alexander Koryakov/Kommersant

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The official of management of Federal registration service across St.-Petersburg Boris Avakian

A couple months later, in mid-December 2015, Boris Avakian in the lobby of the hotel “Metropol” under the control of CSS, the FSB has transferred 2 million rubles to the former representative of the FCS in Finland Vyacheslav Naumov. The latter was immediately arrested. Two days later, the searches took place at Pavel Smolarchuk, drew the attention of the online edition fontanka.ru. As of the end of June of the current year in respect of Smolarchuk and Uvarov conducted investigative actions and operational-investigative activities aimed at verification of the information about their involvement in the bribe Naumov, stated in the official reply signed by the investigator for particularly important cases of the Main investigation Department of the TFR Oleg Martynov (have RBC) .

In a press-service of Federal customs service reported that repeated checking against Pavel Smolarchuk did not support a finding of service violations, at the moment he continues to perform his duties. In the Center of public relations of FSB has not responded to a request to RBC about Vadim Uvarov. Boris Avakyan did not comment on RBC a role in this story, having referred to secrecy of the investigation.

Not sold on the corners

Inside USB case Naumova deals Sixth service is one of the most secret structures of the FSB. It was noted, accompanied by high-profile arrests of the last time the governors Belykh and Vyacheslav Gaizer, Alexander Khoroshavin, the mayor of Vladivostok Igor Pushkarev.

Sixth service was established in 2008, it has only 35 employees, says the source RBC, close USB. “It’s the guardsmen who work not even for the idea, and for the straps, they have an impeccable reputation, no corruption scandal of all time,” continues the interlocutor of RBC. — People live on 200 thousand roubles a month, eat sprats and Belarusian blood sausage, drinking vodka and working around the clock”. But the natives of the “six”, he said, are held in warm places in the Corporation and secured to the end of life.

As explained by the same source, smuggling and detention of the intermediary from 2 million rubles to the level of the Sixth service, which is engaged in by officials, security forces and control over budget funds. But this case interested in the specials, because they are important Vadim Uvarov as a representative of the FSB and his superiors.

As writes “Rosbalt”, a couple of years ago, the economic security Service of FSB (it includes the “K”) and CSS was considered friendly structures — for example, they together defeated the influential anti-corruption Department of the interior, was sent to jail his boss Denis Sugrobova and other senior officers. But then the fighting started, the staff of the SEB began to get into the development of the specials. According to the source Agency in the secret service, the atmosphere was tense in the summer of 2015, but then the party “lit in the corners”.

Statements Avakian against Vadim Uvarov proved very useful in CSS interested and ULS, continues the interlocutor of RBC, close to the office. A special Department has examined the correspondence, published Nesterenko. At the end of may in Ust-Luga was arrested the cargo delivered by ferry ULS, Turkish clothing, declared as construction materials. Now is the examination of the goods, the case is under personal control of the head of FSB in St.-Petersburg and Leningrad region Alexander Rodionov, the source said RBC, adding that the initiator of arrest was Sixth service USB.

Two of the interlocutor of RBC in the FSB suggest that one of the reasons and the retirement of the chief SEB Yuri Yakovlev, and the resignation of the head of the Department “To” major General Viktor Voronin was the criminal case, which appears Uvarov, and timely data on contraband flows in the North-West region.

Thus, the main result of anti-smuggling and racketeering was the victory of one of the clans within the FSB, sums up the source of RBC, close to the specials.