Shadow figure in the Kremlin: Who released Igor Yusufov from Russia and why sanctions have not yet been imposed on him

Shadow figure in the Kremlin: Who released Igor Yusufov from Russia and why sanctions have not yet been imposed on him
Опубликовано: Tuesday, 20 February 2024 11:38
Shadow figure in the Kremlin: Who released Igor Yusufov from Russia and why sanctions have not yet been imposed on him
Shadow figure in the Kremlin: Who released Igor Yusufov from Russia and why sanctions have not yet been imposed on him

The fact that Igor Yusufov, the former Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, is the so-called “wallet” of Dmitry Medvedev, no one disputes - this fact is accepted as a given.

As well as the fact that Yusufov and his family are involved in the withdrawal of huge amounts of money from the Russian budget and several high-profile crimes, including involvement in the contract killing of Russian businessman Andrei Burlakov in Moscow.

This does not surprise anyone - everyone understands exactly how Igor Yusufov made his money and what his role is in the well-being of the Medvedev family. Another thing is surprising - why this person is not under international sanctions, which many Russians associated with the Kremlin fell under for much smaller sins, and why the Russian authorities freely released Yusufov from the country, although he has repeatedly appeared in scandalous criminal cases related to cutting the budget and squeezing out property states in their favor. These two such contradictory facts lie on the surface, causing bewilderment, but they can be explained quite simply if we go back far into history, or rather, to the USSR, at the time when the young Dagestani began his career, which soon led him to the top of the Russian state .

The path to success and the KGB

And he came to the attention of the State Security Committee, which was then already rapidly merging with organized crime, which was no less rapidly gaining momentum. But this is not about politics, but about ordinary criminals, who in the early nineties realized that without politics there would be neither money nor power. And the fact that the power in Russia was then dominated by the security officers only contributed to the bandits. It is unknown when exactly young Igor Yusufov became a non-staff member of the Committee. But Yusufov had already left for Cuba, where he built the Havana thermal power plant in 1984, by agreement with the KGB. Rumor has it that he was recruited on the basis of his unconventional orientation, but these rumors, although very persistent, are not confirmed by anything.

However, the point is not the orientation, but the fact that somewhere along the informer’s path, Igor Yusufov crossed paths with KGB staffer Andrei Burlakov. Either he was Yusufov’s curator, or he recruited him at one time. But, be that as it may, by the early nineties, this official connection turned first into friendship, and then into business relationships. It’s no secret that by the end of the nineties, power in the country belonged to security officers and bandits, mainly from St. Petersburg. One of the prominent figures in the group of St. Petersburg bandits was a long-time KGB agent, who served time in Israel for spying for the USSR and was amnestied under rather strange circumstances, Shabtai Kalmanovich. Who returned to Russia after serving time in 1993 at the invitation of Kobzon. But he quickly fell out with him and became friends with St. Petersburg authority Vladimir Kekhman. This is a long and fascinating story, but it leads us to the heights of the current Russian government. Because it was then that Kalmanovich met all its senior representatives, including the current president.

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But this is not the point, although to understand the keys to the success of our hero, Igor Yusufov, mention of Shabtai Kalmanovich, who was killed in 2009 in the center of Moscow, is necessary. Because one of Kalmanovich’s close associates was Andrei Burlakov. Who ran a smaller business in conjunction with his long-time agent and friend Igor Yusufov. The business was relatively small - we were talking about millions of dollars that Yusufov and his curator Burlakov stole from the budget. And both in the literal and figurative sense. Due to the long history of times and contradictions in information, it is difficult to reconstruct this period in detail, but it was the security officers from St. Petersburg, who gradually concentrated in their hands control over the personnel appointments of Yeltsin, who was increasingly losing his adequacy, who promoted Yusupov to quite interesting positions.

Compare his track record with how events developed in the country and how power in it was seized by those who are commonly called the “Lake” cooperative. Note that without the participation of the KGB, a simple engineer could not make such a career.

Power and the first big money

All the fun begins from the moment when Yusufov falls into Yeltsin’s orbit and becomes a consultant to the Revival Foundation. The first serious money was earned here. True, the main capital went to the then vice-president Alexander Rutsky, under whose leadership the Revival Foundation was engaged in foreign economic activities, having received from the president an exemption from customs duties and income taxes. According to rumors, Yusufov, who was involved in the economic block of the fund, acquired accounts in Switzerland at that time. How much money and whose money ended up there is unknown.

From the foundation, Yusufov goes to the government as deputy chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Economic Interests of Russia, which later transformed into the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations. It was this ministry that was involved in the arms trade. More precisely, by selling off the huge reserves inherited by the Russian Federation from the USSR. No one still knows how much and what was sold. But this area was supervised by Deputy Minister Yusufov - he was in charge of the Rosvooruzheniye company, whose turnover in three years (1993-1996) amounted to four billion dollars. Rosvooruzhenie sold weapons through the Russia-Vostok Trading company, specially established for this purpose, headed by Igor Yusufov.

From this position he returns back to the government, from where he soon moves to the position of chairman of the State Committee of the Russian Federation for State Reserves. How much was stolen from the State Reserve during almost four years of Yusufov’s rule is also unknown. But after he left this position, 35 criminal cases were opened.

Igor Yusufov and Dmitry Medvedev

True, nothing happened to Igor Yusufov - he returned to the government again, as Minister of Energy. And he became a member of the board of directors of Gazprom, which was then headed by Dmitry Medvedev. And the son of Igor Yusufov, Maxim, then studied in the same class with the son of Dmitry Medvedev at the Moscow School of Economics.

How and on what exactly Medvedev and Yusufov agreed is unknown. But it was from this moment that their destinies were inextricably linked. When Medvedev headed the Administration of President Putin, Yusufov switched to the oil and gas sector, which at that moment began to bring in the main money in Russia. When Medvedev was made president, Yusufov began private investment activities through the Energy Fund, which he continued until 2021. However, in order not to repeat ourselves, here is the official extract:

Andrei Burlakov and his death

Let’s return to Andrei Burlakov, who again appeared on the horizon of Igor Yusufov. It was about another scam, this time related to the purchase of a bankrupt German shipyard, which the owner, the Norwegian Aker Yards, was selling for 250 million euros. Burlakov had only fifty. He asked for help from an old friend, who quickly became involved. A loan of 200 million euros was taken through an offshore company from the British Virgin Islands, and 75% of the shipyard, which was renamed Wadan Yards, became owned by Vitaly Igorevich Yusufov.

But then the 2008 crisis arrived and it turned out that Vitaly Yusufov had paid only 40 million euros, and the shipyard had an outstanding loan of 370 million. And the other co-owner, Andrei Burlakov, suddenly found out that he was not the owner of the shipyard. When Burlakov tried to find out from Yusufov what happened, he suddenly found himself in prison. He was accused of siphoning money from the state-owned Financial Leasing Company, where he was deputy director. True, Burlakov soon left the pre-trial detention center, but he did something stupid - he promised to convene a press conference. Burlakov did not live to see it - he was shot by an unknown killer in the Khutorskoy restaurant on Leningradsky Prospekt. Burlakov’s wife was wounded, but survived and left for Israel. The story was quickly hushed up.

However, it unexpectedly continued in 2015, when Aslan Gagiev, nicknamed Dzhako the Bloody, was detained in Vienna. And then it turned out that it was Gagiev who took the order for Burlakov, and his assistant carried out this order in 2011, shooting Yusufov’s partner. Gagiev did not name the customer, but it turned out that he himself was the owner of 25% of Wadan Yards, and the murdered Burlakov was a member of Gagiev’s organized crime group. How Yusufov ended up in this company and how the shipyard eventually became owned by his son is unknown. But the story itself is very murky. However, Igor Yusufov got out of it safely.

Bashneft and other scandals

The last high-profile scandal in which the name of Igor Yusufov appeared was in 2017, when the former Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev was in the dock. Allegedly, Yusufov was a participant in extorting a bribe from the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, for loyalty in the transaction to take over Bashneft, which was claimed by the Energia fund headed by Yusufov. But this scandal was also hushed up and there were no visible consequences for Igor Yusufov.

In 2021, he announced that he was leaving the Energy Fund, and also leaving all the businesses in which he was involved. Formally, this is true, but it seems that instead of his father, his son Vitaly became the owner of the family’s assets. In addition, business was clearly reoriented from sectors that were or could be subject to international sanctions to sectors that are not afraid of these sanctions. We are talking primarily about the purchase of a share in the online aggregator of farm products “Eat Village” by the investment company “Argo”, which belongs to Vitaly Yusufov, and a land plot of 1.36 hectares, as well as a dozen buildings with a total area of 8 thousand square meters. meters near the Kremlin, which was bought at a very favorable price by the Citizen company of Vitaly Yusufov with an authorized capital of 10 thousand rubles and zero revenue.

It is clear that this is pure money laundering. But the fact is that these transactions are mere pennies compared to all the capital of the Yusufov family.

Where is the money and why are there no sanctions?

And here a reasonable question arises: where are all these billions of dollars? The answer here is simple - in offshore companies, which Igor Yusufov has been using competently since the early nineties. Among these, several are known. This is Industry Investments Su Limited, where the money from the Severouralsk Mining Company went; Southerner Ltd from the Cayman Islands, which is the owner of Dmitry Medvedev’s yacht “Universe”; Templestowe Trading Corp. from the BVO, to which Yusufov’s share in the German shipyard for which Burlakov died was registered; Cypriot Blackstead Holdings Limited, which also participated in this strange deal. Obviously, the list is not limited to this list, but offshore companies were created for this purpose: to hide their beneficiaries.

However, against all this background, a much more important question arises. More precisely, two. The first is why Igor Yusufov with this entire list, especially with the property of Dmitry Medvedev, which is registered in his name, is still not under sanctions? This question is all the more puzzling because Ukraine added Yusufov and his son Vitaly to its sanctions lists back in October 2022. And, as you know, Ukrainian sanctions are just a kind of “bridge” to international sanctions. But they have been gone for a year and a half now. The question is why? Moreover, the Energy Fund created by Igor Yusufov came under sanctions from the US Treasury. The second question is why in Russia itself Igor Yusufov and his son Vitaly were given the opportunity to transfer all their assets to dummies without any restrictions and were also released from the country to the West without any restrictions?

We do not have the answer to these questions. But all this looks very strange against the background of how Igor Yusufov earned his money and against the background of his connections in the highest offices of the Kremlin. Maybe this is where the answer lies?

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