Corruption Weekly: 5-10 November

Russiangate publishes digest of the most important media investigations.

November 5, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) came out with an investigation based on documents obtained as a result of a leak from Appleby, which registered offshore companies worldwide.

This leak has become the largest since Panama Papers. 382 journalists from 67 countries have been working to prepare the Paradise Papers. Novaya Gazeta’s journalists represented Russia during the project. As a result, several materials have been published:

  1. The introduction text telling about the process of the investigation, information about Appleby activity, as well as rich Russians and foreigners using their services.

  2. A list of Russian citizens in the archive, including businessmen Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, State Duma deputies Vladimir Blotsky and Alexei Ezubov, lawyer Nikolai Egorov and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

  3. A detailed info on the income of the former wife of head of Rosneft Igor Sechin, Marina. Journalists have found out that the woman who had no property before the divorce (according to declarations), suddenly became an owner of multibillion-dollar assets and a company in the Cayman Islands.

  4. A text telling about a scheme used by Russian businessmen, Oleg Deripaska, Oleg Tinkov and the Rothenberg brothers, to avoid paying taxes.

November 8, Fontanka came out with a story about mysterious disappearance of a 125-km pipe in the Leningrad region, for which Gazprom has paid 1.8 billion rubles. The fact that the pipe should be there, is confirmed by documents approved by the company. Yet the publication found out that there is nothing on the site of construction. Therefore, almost 20 thousand inhabitants of the city of Priozersk live without gas.

On the same day, Transparency International - Russia reported on the results of a check of a state contract for construction of Kalashnikov Avenue in Izhevsk. The organization found out that the company Avtodormostroject received a contract due to cartel collusion. Antimonopoly service agreed with the arguments and sent the audit materials to the Investigation Committee.

"This case is unique, as practice of initiation of criminal cases on the facts of restricting competition is almost absent. The qualifying sign of a crime is infliction of major damage or income on a large scale. Investigators cannot easily prove these factors. Indeed, income in a large amount in this article is recognized income, the amount of which exceeds 50 million rubles, and large damages amounting to more than 10 million rubles. It is difficult to collect financial documents that would confirm such figures. Therefore, the article was almost "dead". We are pleased that Antimonopoly service reacted toughly to unscrupulous market participants and their patrons, "- explained the chief lawyer of the organization, Dmitry Utukin.

November 9, Meduza published a letter that the editor-in-chief of German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Wolfgang Krach, wrote to Tim Cook, the Apple CEO. The above-mentioned Paradise Papers have become a reason for it. Journalists of the newspaper have found out that the company transferred its assets to the offshore island of Jersey in order to avoid taxes.

On the same day, the publication "7x7" published an investigation about construction of Lybidsky Boulevard in Ryazan. The initial price of the contract was 51 million rubles. The contest was won by a project prepared by wife of the city’s chief architect, while a contractor was a company with only a few months history.

In addition, Novaya Gazeta told about how the governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District spent 8.3 million rubles of the budget money for an exclusive toilet for his residence.

RBC initiated a check of the FSUE Arkhangelskoye, which purchases fish for Russian prisoners. Prior to this, the human rights organization the Jailed Russia drew attention to the fact that the enterprise duplicated the functions of the regional directorates of the Federal Penitentiary Service and artificially inflated price of the goods. For ten months, the FSUE purchased 35.2 thousand tons of products. RBC estimated that for each prisoner, 630 thousand people in Russia, there are 56 kilograms of fish. The text was published on December 10.

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