A story ‘Alexander Nikolaev helps Russia to avoid some of the American and European sanctions’ published on April 11, 2018, was false.
The above-mentioned article includes a false information packaged to deceive the public into thinking it was produced by professionals with respect for truth.
The fact-checking showed that many aspects of the article cites never took place or have been wrongly interpreted by PoliticalLore.com journalists. In future, we promise to be more mindful in checking the facts and the source of news stories.
The full text of deleted publication is available below.
The Ukrainian conflict sent some of the Russian powerful businesses and individuals to the black lists, created by the United States and supported by other countries. But Russia still has ways to avoid these prohibitions with the aid of such persons like oligarch Alexander Nikolaev.
The man part-owns the distillery and production plant Novy Svet located in occupied Crimea, reports eutoday.net. Yury Kovalchuk, the illegal owner and operator of the business, is already in the sanctions lists of the EU and the American Treasury Department. But, with Nikolaev as the co-owner, the plant still can exist bypassing sanctions.
Nikolaev also partially owns Trade House 2A andAlliance1892 – Russian distribution and alcohol production companies respectively. In the first business he works in the partnership with Boris Titov, who is already on the sanctions list.
As the international community does not target the oligarch yet, sanctioned companies and individuals see him as an opportunity to avoid prohibitions, specifically in businesses on illegally seized properties in Russian occupied Ukraine. Nikolaev works as a front for them. Individuals and companies can use his “innocence” as the man’s partners or by simply funneling money through him. Other businessmen, who are absent in the sanctions lists, can act as the same “loophole”.
This opportunity significantly decreases the efficiency of the European and American sanctions.
Nikolaev is also accused in the participation in the money laundering conducted by the development bank of Roman Trotsenko. The man also used Nikolaev’s help because he is already in the “black list”.
Background and details
The conflict started in 2014. The set of circumstances, including the complex situation with the amalgamation with the EU, led to the annexation of Crimea and armed clashes in eastern Ukraine. Russiawas accused in these events and punished with the set of sanctions by the international community.
The process touched NovySvet, which was actually stolen with the annexation of the peninsula. The closer analysis of this object and the general situation revealed interesting details.
At the end of January, the US Department of the Treasury sent to Congress the ostensibly public part of the Kremlin report – a list of Russian officials and businessmen against whom US sanctions may be applied. The list included Yuri Kovalchuk, who became the owner of NovySvet in 2017. Trade House 2A, the result of the cooperation of two major Russian alcohol companies – Abrau-Durso and Alliance 1892, is the official distributor of the plant’s production in the Federation. The champing brand is a family enterprise of Boris Titov, which is led by his son.
Mr. Nikolayev first took the stage at the end of 2013 during the revoking of the license from a ‘Project Financing Bank’ for money laundering. The man connected with the institution as its former board member and informal representative of Roman Trotsenko, the real owner of the company. Like Titov and some other mentioned businessmen, he is already in the US sanctions list.
The history of the revocation of the license from the bank turned out to be highly questionable – the state-appointed provisional administration found that accounts and other information had been completely erased from the servers: Nikolaev knows how to cover his tracks.
The recent interaction between Nikolayev and Alliance 1892, mentioned by the Russian media in relation to sanctions, looks unclear. What is meant is the scandal, which happened in early March, when Russian security officials conducted searches at the company’s office in Moscow. The reasons for this check are unclear, but there are two connections to Nikolaev.
The first is the institution that conducted the search, the Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption, who are the elite of the Russian police, specializing in unraveling the most complex financial schemes of the underworld.
Secondly, Alliance1892 has still not commented publicly on these events – apperently, the owners of the company simply have nothing to say in public.
Russian law sources provided two possible reasons to explain the situation. The first is the financial relations between Russian government agencies and the taxi company Asap at the suit of the state-owned company VEB-leasing. Alexander Nikolaev is the main beneficiary of Asap through the offshore Awendale Resources Inc., which is controlled by him, and is registered in Seychelles. He also acts as an individual or a co-owner of the wide list of international offshore companies. The list includes such places as:
- Cyprus: “Peregrina Ventures Limited”, “Poitiers Enterprises Limited”, “Melward Investments Limited”, “RRR Holdings Limited” and “Lakvero Holdings Limited”;
- Republic of Seychelles: “Les Boissons Royales”, “Awendale Resources Inc”, “Tropic of Capricorn”;
- Netherlands: “Pilgrefin B.V.”;
- France: “SAS Distillerie Tessendier Fils”.
The second reason is tax evasion in the production and sale of alcohol products and the laundering of money obtained via criminal means. According to one of the court decisions, Alliance 1892 concealed taxable profits in the amount of more than $2.7 mln USD.
Nikolaev also demonstrates interest to the American business.
For example, aNew York law firm helped one of his companies in the United States District Court, where it fought for the disclosure of information in accordance with Section 1782 of Title 28 of U.S Code. This section allows parties to obtain information from any person or company who is in the jurisdiction of the federal district court, without reference to an international treaty or other international agreement.
In this case, deliberately false information about existing criminal and arbitration proceedings in Russia, in which Nikolaev’s company allegedly acts as an aggrieved party, was used and appended to the application. During the trial in the US court, Nikolaev demanded disclosure by large banks, including American banks such as Citibank N.A. New York, Deutsche Bank Trust CompanyAmericas, Bank ofAmericaN.A.
Thus, Mr. Nikolaev, using the American system of justice, obtained the information under false pretexts – filing a frivolous suit which allowed him access to otherwise protected information – which he was interested in at the expense of unsuspecting American lawyers and judges.
It looks strange that Nikolaev, despite of his participation in the huge scandals and cooperation with people from the sanction lists continue to work and maintain a strong influence in the international business sphere. It looks like both the US and the EU should focus more attention on Nikolaev and other potential intermediaries for sanctioned people and companies.