Has Scotland become a haven for Russian entrepreneurs and money?
Scotland is an excellent country for prestigious business and real estate investments. Many Russian businessmen have chosen Scotland to live or for business activities. Who are they and how did they make money in Russia?
Vladimir Lisin, one of the largest shareholders in Novolipetsk Steel Company (NLMK), owns Aberuchill Castle in Perthshire along with 1.3 hectares of hunting grounds with a total value of $ 11 million. How did you make all this money?
After the collapse of the USSR, Lisin was one of the leaders of the Trans World Group, of which NLMK was a part. At that time, Russian oligarchs like Iskander Makhmudov and Oleg Deripaska worked with him. In 1996, Lisin took over NLMKpublic.
Vladimir Lisin must have been close to Vladimir Putin. For example, in 2012, after Putin participated in a conference where Lisin spoke, there was an attempt to cut taxes for mining and metallurgical companies.
In addition to the shares of NLMK, Vladimir Lisin has held a 14% stake in Zenit Bank since 2017. From 2008, he was a member of the board of directors of United Shipbuilding Corporation, and from 2011 to 2012, he was president of the company. In 2012, Lisin bought shares of the state-owned transportation company Pervaya for $ 5.8 million. Lisin is currently a member of the supervisory board of the media company Rumedea.
Yuri Shefler purchased the Tulchan estate with hunting grounds, riverside and cattle farm to $ 31 million through SF Scottish Properties Limited. The total area of the farm is 8.4 hectares.
Shefler is the founder and owner of the Russian company SPI Group, which produces vodka under the world famous Stolichnaya brand. In addition to making money from the production of vodka, Shefler enjoys his rights as the owner of the brand. It obtains a percentage of the sales of alcoholic beverages under the Stolichnaya brand in all jurisdictions.
Boris Mints is the owner of 1.7 acres surrounding the Tower of Lethendy, Perthshire, with a total value of up to $ 5.66 million.
From 1990 to 1994, Mints He was head of the city property management committee in Ivanovo. From 1996 to 2000, he worked as head of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation for Local Governance Affairs and as Secretary of the Local Government Council of the Russian Federation.
Mints and their children were arrested in absentia by a Russian court, and their property was worth $ 572 million it was frozen by a London court.
In the fall of 2017, Eugene, son of Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, I buy Knockdow House (Kilmichael House) in Argyll for $ 5.4 million. Where does the money come from?
Until 1991, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky was a KGB Colonel. The current president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, served in the same department of the KGB.
The former KGB colonel became Deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism of the Russian Federation in the fall of 1991. Within a year, Strzhalkovsky became Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tourism of the Russian Federation. After 12 years, he obtained a new position as director of the Federal Tourism Agency.
In 2008, Strzhalkovsky left government service to serve as Chief Director of OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel. In 2012, he earned $ 100 million for leaving the company and became a member of the Board of Directors of the Russian Geographical Society. It is notable that Vladimir Putin is the president of the Russian Geographical Society.
Anton Buslov and Sergei Fokin
Russian entrepreneurs Anton Buslov and Sergei Fokin own 85% of the shares of The Lindores Distilling Co. Lindores is a Scottish distillery with a history dating back to 1494. The McKenzie Smith family revived the activities of the old distillery, and Buslov and Fokin bought important shares of the company. Now they actively participate in the activities of the company. In addition, some of the green whiskey is sold in Russian spirits boutiques and restaurants.
The two investors in the Scottish distillery are also co-founders of the company UBF Management in their home country. UBF Management manages several companies, in which Buslov and Fokin have jointly invested, that compete with each other. Furthermore, these companies only win tenders from the Moscow authorities and the Russian military, raising issues of money laundering and corruption.
Alexander Shapovalov became the owner from Ballachulish House in 2009. The cost of the settlement was $ 1.28 million.
At first glance, Shapovalov’s career did not promise him huge profits. He reached the highest position as Managing Director of RRC’s Applied Chemistry development center for rocket fuel and radionuclide-based products. It is a leading state defense company supplying the military.
Due to suspicion of money laundering, Shapovalov was sentenced to house arrest in Russia. But he managed to flee to Scotland and hide in his castle. The criminal case started in Scotland ended with an acquittal.
You often hear of Russians making colossal money from corruption schemes in their homeland. But while earning money can be easy, many Russians are not confident in their ability to keep this money and have a comfortable life in Russia. Therefore, corrupt Russian officials often seek investment and real estate opportunities in Scotland.
In the case of castle and villa purchases, everything is clear enough: buyers are ensuring a safe place to stay if something goes wrong. However, the situation with companies is more complicated and Russian funds can put a company at risk. This is especially true today, as attention to Russian activities in Europe and the UK it is growing and there is a real threat of sanctions.