The Karlovy Vary kleptocracy guide

Jan 31 2017

When communicating with Czechs we often hear that Karlovy Vary is a Russian city, and that the population is nearly 90% Russian. The locals have been calling this city “Ivanovka” for a long time, so The Municipal Scanner project decided to investigate how true this nickname is.

The project team checked all the addresses of Karlovy Vary through the Czech real estate registry and found the owners. Some objects are owned by legal entities and required additional verification from the Czech trade registry.

Here are our findings. Only about 50-60% of the city is Russian rather than 90%. Many of the names, in fact, are Russified versions of other nationalities, such as Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz. The project also looked into citizens with political connections, state contacts, and corruption charges.

Here’s the alternative guide to the city.

During the checks, the project team found that some real estate owners in Karlovy Vary also own property in Prague, Marianske Lazne, Rimov and other cities. We mapped them as well. In total, there are 238 objects on the map, which belong to 132 owners. These objects can be a house, part of the house, hotel or apartment. Each object has a link to the owner profile.

There are very different people in our guide.

The Mun. Scanner sent a statement to the prosecutor’s office regarding the Russian officials and deputies, who, in their opinion, are breaking the law and will update you as news comes in.

Russia

Alexander Postrigan – Head of the Klin district, a region of Moscow for 22 years (1992-2014). The Klin district is a hub for the gaming industry in Moscow’s suburbs. Igor Chaika, son of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, promised to turn Klin into the “Salzburg of Moscow Region”. Postrigan has owned the company since 2006 and also owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. His daughter and son in law have also acquired the four-star hotel “Venus” in Karlovy Vary. It was also found that their Czech business went ahead and in 2014 acquired a gorgeous resort in Slovenia, consisting of 4 four-star hotels.

Svetlana Tyagacheva – the wife of the former president of the Russian Olympic Committee and the head of the urban settlement Dedenevo of Moscow Region owns and operates a Czech company, which has an apartment in Karlovy Vary on its balance. According to Russian legislation, Tyagacheva violates anti-corruption restrictions.

A deputy of the Krasnodar Region’s Legislative Assembly of the United Russia party Alexander Fendrickov has been in the regional parliament since 2007. He and his wife bought their first apartment in Karlovy Vary in 2012 and a second in 2014. However, he did not indicate real estate in the Czech Republic in his anti-corruption declarations of 2014 and 2015.

The Torosyan brothers, Igor and George, own three multi-story buildings in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary through a legal entity. Igor Torosyan is Chairman of the local branch of A Just Russia in the Tuapse region of Krasnodar Region and previously was a deputy in the Legislative Assembly. Georgy Torosyan is the deputy of the district council of the Tuapse district in the Krasnodar Region since 2008 from the party “United Russia”.

David Adamia’s family (Adamia is the Head of the St. Petersburg Governor’s Office) owns two apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adamiya transgressed the law, since he is already working as civil servant but continued to own and operate the Czech legal entities.

Former vice-governor of St. Petersburg Vasily Kichedzhi now acting as Rector of the Academy Stieglitz, owns an apartment next to the Old Town Square in Prague. He also is the owner of the hotel in Prague 4.

A United Russia deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Igor Vysotsky owns an apartment through his wife in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary.

The Chairman of the Transport Infrastructure Development Committee of St. Petersburg Sergei Harlashkin owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary.

In 2013, a member of the Federation Council from United Russia, the head of the Interregional Coordination Council Vyacheslav Timchenko prudently transferred his Czech company to his daughter, who became the new owner. The company holds a cottage in the south of the Czech Republic on its balance sheet.

Vila Lutzow (built in 1854) in Karlovy Vary belongs to Gennady Lakhov, who headed the transport department of Rosvooruzhenie in the 90s.

Artem Butov, the head of a group of military factories in the Tambov region, along with his relatives, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary and Prague.

Iraida Landarenko and Tatiana Poroskun own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Both women are involved in the case of fraud for an interpreter for the judicial department in Moscow and the Moscow region. Iraida Landarenko, arrested in absentia, is wanted.

Abesalom Gulordava owns apartment in Karlovy Vary. Gulordava is a figurant of the criminal case of fraud with government contracts in Moscow, is on the international wanted list.

There is an apartment In Karlovy Vary owned by Yuri Bakanov, Chief Engineer at “Kubangazprom” whom the media called the author of schemes of Tsapkov gang money laundering in the village of Kushchevskaya.

Alexei Levin, who opened Putin’s monuments in 2015, is co-owner of the four-star spa hotel in Karlovy Vary. Another co-owner is the daughter of the late chief of the Moscow metro, Gaev.

The “Russian village” is legendary place in Karlovy Vary. There were many scandals connected with this place, as the owner cut down relict Slavkov Forest. In 2010, the owner changed and Russian-language media in Czech modestly wrote: “Now land has been passed into the hands of VikaS Trade, s.r.o., which is owned by the 74-year-old Muscovite Alla Smirnova registered in the “Russian village”.  80-year-old Alla Smirnova is the wife of Conrad Smirnov, KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov assistant. And her sons worked for a long time in team with Sergei Stepashin (director of the FSB, the Interior Ministry, the chairman of the Chamber of Accounts), engaged in the official Putin residence renovating in the early 2000s.

Ukraine

Several current and former deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Party of Regions were detected In Karlovy Vary: Igor Sharov owns 4 apartments in Prague and Karlovy Vary, Vladimir Oleynik, who is wanted in Ukraine as well as Yuri Voropaev, Irina Berezhnaya.

Volodymyr Kozak, ex-Party of Regions MP and ex-Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine has an apartment In Prague.

Sergey Kharchuk, the deputy of Kiev city council from the “Self-Help” faction, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. However, he has not indicated ownership of the Czech company in his declaration.

Former Prosecutor of the Crimea Republic Vyacheslav Pavlov resigned at the beginning of the annexation and bought a stake in the Czech company in March 2015, which owns the hotel “Saint Michael” in the suburb of Karlovy Vary.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani elite have a long history of settling in Karlovy Vary. Even in 2012, OCCRP wrote about the diaspora’s assets in this city. A house that formerly belonged to the youngest daughter of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is now owned by Mahir Rafiev – the chief of the Main Department of taxpayer service of the Azerbaijan Taxes Ministry.

Arif Pashayev, the father of Ilham Aliyev’s wife, owns an apartment and hotels in Karlovy Vary.

There are Apartments in Karlovy Vary owned by the Pashazadeh brothers. Allahshukur Pashazadeh is Grand Mufti of the Caucasus, Javanshir Pashazadeh is Azerbaijani MP since 2005. He is a member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.

The Aliyev brothers own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adil Aliyev is a member of parliament since 2005, Muarram Aliyev is Presidential Adviser on Defence of Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan

Relatives of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, put down roots in Karlovy Vary long ago. Kairat Boranbaev and Zelina Katranova own assets. According to publications in the media, Nazarbayev has repeatedly taken vacations in Karlovy Vary. Nazarbayev invited Leonid Kuchma to rest at the villa “Ahlan” after the “Orange Revolution”

Others:

The former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, leader of the party “Ar-Namys” Felix Kulov left marks In Karlovy Vary.

Not only political but also economic swindlers find refuge in the Czech Republic. For example, Felix Ikonnikov – a famous member of the Russian financial pyramid MMM-2011, owns a house in the tourist center of Karlovy Vary.

More information on the Municipal Scanner project could be found here.

 

The project team checked all the addresses of Karlovy Vary through the Czech real estate registry and found the owners. Some objects are owned by legal entities and required additional verification from the Czech trade registry.

Here are our findings. Only about 50-60% of the city is Russian rather than 90%. Many of the names, in fact, are Russified versions of other nationalities, such as Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz. The project also looked into citizens with political connections, state contacts, and corruption charges.

Here’s the alternative guide to the city.

During the checks, the project team found that some real estate owners in Karlovy Vary also own property in Prague, Marianske Lazne, Rimov and other cities. We mapped them as well. In total, there are 238 objects on the map, which belong to 132 owners. These objects can be a house, part of the house, hotel or apartment. Each object has a link to the owner profile.

There are very different people in our guide.

The Mun. Scanner sent a statement to the prosecutor’s office regarding the Russian officials and deputies, who, in their opinion, are breaking the law and will update you as news comes in.

Russia

Alexander Postrigan – Head of the Klin district, a region of Moscow for 22 years (1992-2014). The Klin district is a hub for the gaming industry in Moscow’s suburbs. Igor Chaika, son of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, promised to turn Klin into the “Salzburg of Moscow Region”. Postrigan has owned the company since 2006 and also owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. His daughter and son in law have also acquired the four-star hotel “Venus” in Karlovy Vary. It was also found that their Czech business went ahead and in 2014 acquired a gorgeous resort in Slovenia, consisting of 4 four-star hotels.

Svetlana Tyagacheva – the wife of the former president of the Russian Olympic Committee and the head of the urban settlement Dedenevo of Moscow Region owns and operates a Czech company, which has an apartment in Karlovy Vary on its balance. According to Russian legislation, Tyagacheva violates anti-corruption restrictions.

A deputy of the Krasnodar Region’s Legislative Assembly of the United Russia party Alexander Fendrickov has been in the regional parliament since 2007. He and his wife bought their first apartment in Karlovy Vary in 2012 and a second in 2014. However, he did not indicate real estate in the Czech Republic in his anti-corruption declarations of 2014 and 2015.

The Torosyan brothers, Igor and George, own three multi-story buildings in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary through a legal entity. Igor Torosyan is Chairman of the local branch of A Just Russia in the Tuapse region of Krasnodar Region and previously was a deputy in the Legislative Assembly. Georgy Torosyan is the deputy of the district council of the Tuapse district in the Krasnodar Region since 2008 from the party “United Russia”.

David Adamia’s family (Adamia is the Head of the St. Petersburg Governor’s Office) owns two apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adamiya transgressed the law, since he is already working as civil servant but continued to own and operate the Czech legal entities.

Former vice-governor of St. Petersburg Vasily Kichedzhi now acting as Rector of the Academy Stieglitz, owns an apartment next to the Old Town Square in Prague. He also is the owner of the hotel in Prague 4.

A United Russia deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Igor Vysotsky owns an apartment through his wife in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary.

The Chairman of the Transport Infrastructure Development Committee of St. Petersburg Sergei Harlashkin owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary.

In 2013, a member of the Federation Council from United Russia, the head of the Interregional Coordination Council Vyacheslav Timchenko prudently transferred his Czech company to his daughter, who became the new owner. The company holds a cottage in the south of the Czech Republic on its balance sheet.

Vila Lutzow (built in 1854) in Karlovy Vary belongs to Gennady Lakhov, who headed the transport department of Rosvooruzhenie in the 90s.

Artem Butov, the head of a group of military factories in the Tambov region, along with his relatives, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary and Prague.

Iraida Landarenko and Tatiana Poroskun own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Both women are involved in the case of fraud for an interpreter for the judicial department in Moscow and the Moscow region. Iraida Landarenko, arrested in absentia, is wanted.

Abesalom Gulordava owns apartment in Karlovy Vary. Gulordava is a figurant of the criminal case of fraud with government contracts in Moscow, is on the international wanted list.

There is an apartment In Karlovy Vary owned by Yuri Bakanov, Chief Engineer at “Kubangazprom” whom the media called the author of schemes of Tsapkov gang money laundering in the village of Kushchevskaya.

Alexei Levin, who opened Putin’s monuments in 2015, is co-owner of the four-star spa hotel in Karlovy Vary. Another co-owner is the daughter of the late chief of the Moscow metro, Gaev.

The “Russian village” is legendary place in Karlovy Vary. There were many scandals connected with this place, as the owner cut down relict Slavkov Forest. In 2010, the owner changed and Russian-language media in Czech modestly wrote: “Now land has been passed into the hands of VikaS Trade, s.r.o., which is owned by the 74-year-old Muscovite Alla Smirnova registered in the “Russian village”.  80-year-old Alla Smirnova is the wife of Conrad Smirnov, KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov assistant. And her sons worked for a long time in team with Sergei Stepashin (director of the FSB, the Interior Ministry, the chairman of the Chamber of Accounts), engaged in the official Putin residence renovating in the early 2000s.

Ukraine

Several current and former deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Party of Regions were detected In Karlovy Vary: Igor Sharov owns 4 apartments in Prague and Karlovy Vary, Vladimir Oleynik, who is wanted in Ukraine as well as Yuri Voropaev, Irina Berezhnaya.

Volodymyr Kozak, ex-Party of Regions MP and ex-Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine has an apartment In Prague.

Sergey Kharchuk, the deputy of Kiev city council from the “Self-Help” faction, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. However, he has not indicated ownership of the Czech company in his declaration.

Former Prosecutor of the Crimea Republic Vyacheslav Pavlov resigned at the beginning of the annexation and bought a stake in the Czech company in March 2015, which owns the hotel “Saint Michael” in the suburb of Karlovy Vary.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani elite have a long history of settling in Karlovy Vary. Even in 2012, OCCRP wrote about the diaspora’s assets in this city. A house that formerly belonged to the youngest daughter of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is now owned by Mahir Rafiev – the chief of the Main Department of taxpayer service of the Azerbaijan Taxes Ministry.

Arif Pashayev, the father of Ilham Aliyev’s wife, owns an apartment and hotels in Karlovy Vary.

There are Apartments in Karlovy Vary owned by the Pashazadeh brothers. Allahshukur Pashazadeh is Grand Mufti of the Caucasus, Javanshir Pashazadeh is Azerbaijani MP since 2005. He is a member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.

The Aliyev brothers own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adil Aliyev is a member of parliament since 2005, Muarram Aliyev is Presidential Adviser on Defence of Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan

Relatives of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, put down roots in Karlovy Vary long ago. Kairat Boranbaev and Zelina Katranova own assets. According to publications in the media, Nazarbayev has repeatedly taken vacations in Karlovy Vary. Nazarbayev invited Leonid Kuchma to rest at the villa “Ahlan” after the “Orange Revolution”

Others:

The former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, leader of the party “Ar-Namys” Felix Kulov left marks In Karlovy Vary.

Not only political but also economic swindlers find refuge in the Czech Republic. For example, Felix Ikonnikov – a famous member of the Russian financial pyramid MMM-2011, owns a house in the tourist center of Karlovy Vary.

More information on the Municipal Scanner project could be found here.

 

Free Russia Foundation demands Navalny’s immediate release

Jan 17 2021

On January 17, 2021, Putin’s agents arrested Alexey Navalny as he returned to Russia from Germany where he was treated for a near-deadly poisoning perpetrated by state-directed assassins.

Navalny’s illegal arrest constitutes kidnapping. He is kept incommunicado from his lawyer and family at an unknown location and his life is in danger.

Free Russia Foundation demands his immediate release and an international investigation of crimes committed against him by Putin’s government.

The European Court of Human Rights Recognizes Complaints on Violations in “Ukraine v. Russia” as Admissible

Jan 14 2021

On January 14, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights published its decision on the case “Ukraine v. Russia”. The Grand Chamber of the Court has recognized complaints No. 20958/14 and No. 38334/18 as partially admissible for consideration on the merits. The decision will be followed by a judgment at a later date.

The case concerns the consideration of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights related to Russia’s systematic administrative practices in Crimea. 

The admissibility of the case is based on the fact that, since 2014, the Russian Federation has exercised effective control over the territory of Crimea, and, accordingly, is fully responsible for compliance with the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights in Crimea. The Court now needs to determine the specific circumstances of the case and establish the facts regarding violations of Articles of the Convention during two periods: from February 27, 2014 to March 18, 2014 (the period of the Russian invasion); and from March 18, 2014 onward (the period during which the Russian Federation has exercised effective control over Crimea).

The Court has established that prima facie it has sufficient evidence of systematic administrative practice concerning the following circumstances:

  • forced rendition and the lack of an effective investigation into such a practice under Article 2; 
  • cruel treatment and unlawful detention under Articles 3 and 5; 
  • extending application of Russian law into Crimea with the result that, as of  February 27, 2014, the courts in Crimea could not be considered to have been “established by law” as defined by Article 6; 
  • automatic imposition of Russian citizenship and unreasonable searches of private dwellings under Article 8; 
  • harassment and intimidation of religious leaders not conforming to the Russian Orthodox faith, arbitrary raids of places of worship and confiscation of religious property under Article 9;
  • suppression of non-Russian media under Article 10; 
  • prohibition of public gatherings and manifestations of support, as well as intimidation and arbitrary detention of organizers of demonstrations under Article 11; 
  • expropriation without compensation of property from civilians and private enterprises under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;
  • suppression of the Ukrainian language in schools and harassment of Ukrainian-speaking children under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1; 6 
  • restricting freedom of movement between Crimea and mainland Ukraine, resulting from the de facto transformation (by Russia) of the administrative delimitation into a border (between Russia and Ukraine) under Article 2 of Protocol No. 4; and, 
  • discriminating against Crimean Tatars under Article 14, taken in conjunction with Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Convention and with Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention.

Cases between states are the rarest category considered by the ECHR. Almost all cases considered in Strasbourg concern individuals or organizations and involve illegal actions or inaction of the states’ parties to the Convention. However, Art. 33 of this Convention provides that “any High Contracting Party may refer to the Court the question of any alleged violation of the provisions of the Convention and its Protocols by another High Contracting Party.” In the entire history of the ECHR since 1953, there have been only 27 such cases. Two of them are joint cases against Russia, both of which concern the Russian Federation’s aggression on the territory of its neighboring states, Georgia and Ukraine.

New Year’s Blessings to All

Dec 30 2020

While 2020 gave us unprecedented challenges, it created transformative changes in the way we work and communicate. The hours of Zoom calls seemingly brought us all closer together as we got a glimpse into each other’s makeshift home offices along with interruption by kids and the family pets. Remote work also made us appreciate human interactions, in-person events and trips much more!

As 2020 comes to an end, we want to especially thank our supporters who continued to believe in our mission and the value of our hard work, and we hope the coming year brings all of us progress and growth for democracy throughout the world. We’d also like to thank our partners and staff in the U.S. and abroad, and we know how hard everyone has worked under difficult world changes to achieve so many of our objectives this year.

We send our best wishes to all who have stayed in the fight for democratic reforms and for the values of basic human rights. We look forward to a new year with the hope of many positive changes to come.

– Natalia Arno and the Free Russia Foundation team.

International Criminal Court Asks for Full Probe Into Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Dec 14 2020

On December 11, 2020, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement on the preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

According to the findings of the examination, the situation in Ukraine meets the statutory criteria to launch an investigation. The preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine was opened on 24 April 2014.

Specifically, and without prejudice to any other crimes which may be identified during the course of an investigation, Office of the Prosecutor has concluded that there is a reasonable basis at this time to believe that a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed in the context of the situation in Ukraine.

These findings will be spelled out in more detail in the annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities issued by the Office and include three broad clusters of victimization:

1.     crimes committed in the context of the conduct of hostilities;

2.     crimes committed during detentions;

3.     crimes committed in Crimea.

These crimes, committed by the different parties to the conflict, were sufficiently grave to warrant investigation by Office of the Prosecutor, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.

Having examined the information available, the Prosecutor concluded that the competent authorities in Ukraine and/or in the Russian Federation are either inactive in relation to the alleged perpetrators, or do not have access to them.

The next step will be to request authorization from the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court to open investigations.

The Prosecutor urges the international community, including the governments of Ukraine and Russia, to cooperate. This will determine how justice will be served both on domestic and the international level.

We remind you that on September 21, 2020, Free Russia Foundation sent a special Communication to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (the Hague, the Netherlands) asking to bring Crimean and Russian authorities to justice for international crimes committed during the Russian occupation of Crimea.

Comment by Scott Martin (Global Rights Compliance LLP):

As Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reaches the end of her tenure as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, she announced yesterday that a reasonable basis existed to believe that a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in relation to the situation in Ukraine. One of the most consequential preliminary examinations in the court’s short history, the Prosecutor will now request authorization from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to open a full investigation into the situation.

Anticipating that the Prosecutor’s request will be granted, the ICC Prosecutor’s office will be investigating the second group of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Russian Federation (the situation in Georgia being the other). This would make Russia the only country in the world facing two separate investigations at the ICC for crimes under its jurisdiction.

Call for Submissions – The Kremlin’s Influence Quarterly vol. 3

Oct 26 2020

The Free Russia Foundation invites submissions to The Kremlins Influence Quarterly, a journal that explores and analyzes manifestations of the malign influence of Putin’s Russia in Europe.

We understand malign influence in the European context as a specific type of influence that directly or indirectly subverts and undermines European values and democratic institutions. We follow the Treaty on European Union in understanding European values that are the following: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Democratic institutions are guardians of European values, and among them we highlight representative political parties; free and fair elections; an impartial justice system; free, independent and pluralistic media; and civil society.

Your contribution to The Kremlins Influence Quarterly would focus on one European country from the EU, Eastern Partnership or Western Balkans, and on one particular area where you want to explore Russian malign influence: politics, diplomacy, military domain, business, media, civil society, academia, religion, crime, or law.

Each chapter in The Kremlins Influence Quarterly should be around 5 thousand words including footnotes. The Free Russia Foundation offers an honorarium for contributions accepted for publication in the journal.

If you are interested in submitting a chapter, please send us a brief description of your chapter and its title (250 words) to the following e-mail address: info@4freerussia.org. Please put The Kremlin’s Influence Quarterly as a subject line of your message.