Moscow, March 29 (IANS) Against the backdrop of ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, calls for foreign businesses to leave the Russian market do not subside. Ukrainian oligarchs and big businessmen publicly declare that they have no assets left in Russia. But in fact, part of the establishment continues to control business in the Russian Federation through proxies and offshore companies, a media report said.
Among them are not only names of the Ukrainian Forbes, but also President Vladimir Zelensky, the RT News report said.
Ukrainian business media estimate the number of major Ukrainian businessmen doing business in Russia at hundreds of names. One of them sounds especially loud in the current situation – Zelensky.
So, in Russia, LLC Green Films and Platinumfilm continue to operate and receive income. These companies, founded by the current President of Ukraine and his comrades in 2012, are responsible for distribution, rental income and royalties from Kvartal 95’s comedy shows and films, RT reported.
Green Films submitted its last financial statements for 2020 only. Then its revenue amounted to 55.7 million rubles, according to Rosstat. Platinumfilm showed zero revenue in 2020.
The Kontur Focus service shows that both Russian companies belong to the Cypriot Green Family LTD. The Cyprus offshore, in turn, was owned by Zelensky himself by a quarter before the start of his presidential career, the register of legal entities in Cyprus indicates.
In 2019, Zelensky got rid of his share, distributing it between a colleague in Kvartal 95 Andrey Yakovlev and an offshore company from the British Virgin Islands Appex International. This is evidenced by extracts from the commercial register of Cyprus received by RT. However, indirect evidence suggests that Zelensky retains control over the film production business through his closest associates, brothers Sergei and Boris Shefirov, as well as Timur Mindich, RT reported.
The co-founders of Kvartal 95, the Shefir brothers, continue to control 15 per cent each of the authorized capital of the Cypriot legal entity, according to a fresh extract from the register. Both of them stand at the origins of Kvartal 95 and have known Zelensky since 1995, when the KVN festival was held in his native Krivoy Rog.
Since that time, Zelensky and the Shefirs have not parted – they lived in Moscow in the same apartment, worked together on KVN, founded Kvartal 95 together. Zelensky has repeatedly publicly called Sergei Shefir his friend. And the day after taking office as president in May 2019, Zelensky appointed a friend as his first assistant, RT reported.
Timur Mindich, the owner of the Virginian company Appex, is no less close to Zelensky. The fact that Appex International belongs to Mindych was repeatedly written by authoritative Ukrainian media. Through this offshore, Mindich received most of Zelensky’s former share and became the owner of 50% of Green Family, which receives income from Russian rentals.
The Russian, German and Ukrainian press call Mindych the man of the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, whom Kolomoisky himself allegedly “identified” as Zelensky’s entourage, RT reported.
The degree of closeness between Zelensky and Mindych can be judged, for example, by the fact that the Ukrainian presidential candidate drove Mindych’s car.
Mindich has close cultural and business ties with Russia – he is married to the daughter of Alla Verber, the founder of the Mercury jewellery house. Werber worked as the creative director of TSUM until her death and, according to Vogue, had extensive contacts among the Russian establishment.
And blogger Sergei (Zergulio) Kolyasnikov, shortly after the start of the military special operation in Ukraine, said that Zelensky’s mother-in-law and wife continue to receive income from renting real estate in Moscow. They, according to the blogger, allegedly own two business-class apartments – one in the Tushino area, the other on Varshavskoe highway, RT reported.