July 24. 2024. 7:29

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Wallet of Governor Drozdenko Andrei Berezin “lost” abroad

As follows from the data of Business Petersburg, Andrei Valeryevich Berezin is a major Russian businessman whose main asset is the investment company Euroinvest.

Pseudo-businessman Andrei Valerievich Berezin, who is under criminal investigation, is trying to clean up the network with the help of paid decisions from Russian courts.

The range of investment interests of Euroinvest is extensive and covers various areas - from the development of land plots and real estate, to high-tech industry and innovative environmental developments. It sounds somewhat mysterious, but in fact the secret is simple - Andrei Valerievich has long and firmly established connections with those in power and is successfully privatizing the most interesting land plots from the point of view of further resale. Berezin is not limited to this - the phrase “innovative technological developments” in the description of Euroinvest means that he has mastered another segment of making money - budgetary allocations and government procurement.

Who are you, Andrey Valerievich Berezin?

All this gave him the opportunity to amass a considerable fortune - in 2021, his personal assets were estimated at more than 11 billion rubles, and he himself is a regular participant in the “Rating of Billionaires”, occupying, although not the first, but also far from the last places:

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From the same “Rating” it follows that, in addition to Euroinvest, Berezin also has assets that bring him considerable profit - PJSC Svetlana, Investment Company Euroinvest, Management Company Murino, Group of Companies Ellis. All these assets allowed Andrei Valerievich to establish himself so firmly in the “Rating of Billionaires”.

However, recently the name Berezina began to appear on the pages of the media in a somewhat unexpected role. Although he tries to clean up all these unpleasant mentions for himself, regularly sending out complaints about Google’s results:

What is Berezin complaining about? And the fact that materials began to appear in the press revealing the true schemes for earning his billions.

Moreover, as it turned out, Andrei Valerievich is a defendant in a criminal case initiated on December 7, 2018 by the Baltic Customs under Part 2 of Article 193 of the Criminal Code - “evasion of obligations to repatriate funds in foreign currency or the currency of the Russian Federation on an especially large scale.” And about the searches in the offices of Euroinvest that took place as part of  the investigation  of this criminal case, by the way, the information has also been pretty much cleaned up.

At first Berezin avoided commenting, then stated that everything was normal, law enforcement officers had no complaints against him, and he was involved in this case only as a witness. One would have believed it if Berezin had not suddenly disappeared from the sight of not only journalists, but also law enforcement officers.

As it turned out, in the early twenties of March, Andrei Valerievich urgently left the territory of Russia. In this regard, the Sledkom made the following statement:

Which means two things. The first is obvious: Berezin fled abroad. The second is that Berezin was not involved in the case as a witness, as he stated. Because law enforcement officers do not control the movement of witnesses in any way. The question, of course, arises for the Investigative Committee: how did the person involved in the criminal case cross the border? But so far there is no answer to it.

As for the criminal case, it was initiated following  an investigation into  the withdrawal of money from Russia in the amount of at least $23 million. But this offense was not discovered by the Investigative Committee - the investigation was launched by European law enforcement agencies, including Germany and Switzerland. And only after their appeal to their Russian colleagues did the latter begin to move.

During the checks and study of the seized documents, the most interesting things suddenly became clear. In addition to Euroinvest, two more companies took part in the withdrawal of funds - Complit Company and Auditexpert Company. According to official information, the founders of the Auditexpert Company are well-known St. Petersburg businessmen Vasily Pavlov and Andrey Berezin, who are also permanent participants in the public-private partnership.

They came to the attention of European law enforcement officers back in 2016, but Berezin’s connections at the highest level of the leadership of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region for a long time helped him avoid the interest of domestic law enforcement officers, who were approached by their foreign colleagues.

Such intercession was mutually beneficial - Berezin strangely registered land plots in the region for his companies and resold them. His structures also received multimillion-dollar government orders for equally strange projects. After passing through a number of companies, the money was transferred abroad, where it came under the financial monitoring of local tax authorities. From them followed a chain that led to Berezin.

After Andrei Valerievich finally became interested in Sledkom, some of his transactions became known. For example, in 2011, Berezin acquired more than 500 hectares of the territory of the Rzhev military training ground. He paid 75 million rubles. And he sold this plot for 3.3 billion.

Another strange story happened with the land allocated and reserved for the construction of an international bus station in Devyatkino. Despite the authorities’ decision, Berezin somehow miraculously managed to buy it. All this became clear only when the region tried to start implementing the project. But it turned out that there was nowhere to sell it - the land was not just sold, but resold several times. Neither the businessman nor Governor Drozdenko answered completely understandable questions.

It is clear that such a deal could not take place without the patronage of people directly related to the highest echelons of power. And the first person named among these patrons is the governor of the Leningrad region, Alexander Drozdenko. Who has held this post since 2011.

It was this year that the modest businessman Berezin began to turn into a local latifundist, buying up agricultural land, then changing its intended purpose for construction and reselling it to developers. Which, as you yourself understand, is already much more expensive.

The matter is not limited to land - remember another asset of Berezin, which allows him to occupy positions in the ranking of billionaires - PJSC Svetlana. It was through this PJSC and its affiliated subsidiaries, which, by the way, have the word “Svetlana” in their name, that Berezin began to engage in what in bureaucratic newspeak is called “public-private partnership.”

As an example, we can cite the story of “an investment project to develop a domestic device capable of treating cancer.” Berezin acted as an investor. Which, by the way, the press wrote a lot about, and Berezin himself did quite good PR for himself - a noble and necessary thing.

But, as it turned out, it was not the venture capital fund Euro Venture, whose founder is the chairman of the board of the investment company Euroinvest, Andrei Berezin, who invested in this “development”. The money was allocated by the state. We were talking about the amount of 10 million rubles, which JSC Svetlana-Roentgen received. It was the leading developer in the concern, which included LETI and Clinical Hospital (KB) No. 122. And it was they who allocated the amount required for the development of the announced device.

When all conceivable and inconceivable development deadlines had passed, a trivial question arose - “where is the money?” Because the device was never even manufactured, there wasn’t even technical documentation.

And then it suddenly turned out that Svetlana-Roentgen JSC has not only this order in its portfolio: 99% of its contracts are the execution of orders for government agencies, which brought the company a total of more than 270 million rubles. And the owner of JSC Svetlana-Roentgen is PJSC Svetlana owned by Andrei Berezin.

PJSC Svetlana, in turn, has 41 contracts from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for a total amount of more than two billion rubles. Even the Investigative Committee could not find out what the essence of these contracts is and what stage of implementation they are at. Because what is written in the documents that are the basis for the transfer of money from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to PJSC Svetlana can be called a contract very conditionally.

The story of “Svetlana” is not limited to this. There is also JSC Svetlana-Electropribor. It is also owned by PJSC Svetlana and it also has a package of government contracts in its portfolio.

There are two more “Svetlanas” - CJSC Svetlana-Kart and CJSC Svetlana-Semiconductors. With the same owner and registration address as everyone else - the city of St. Petersburg, Engels Avenue, 27. True, Svetlana-Semiconductors CJSC does not have government contacts. As well as private ones. And it has been showing losses since 2013. However, it continues to work. At the same time, quite large sums from other “Svetlanas” pass through his accounts. The answer is simple - money is simply withdrawn through Svetlana-Semiconductors CJSC.

And they took a long time to hatch, but for some reason domestic law enforcement officers did not notice this even after their Swiss and German colleagues showed them all the schemes back in 2016. Moreover, the Sledkom conducted the first search of Berezin’s companies only in 2019. And the case was opened against him in December 2018. For almost three years, someone was actively shielding Berezin from the interest of law enforcement officers.

And even after the searches, he managed to continue his “investment” activities for a very long time. What happened in 2022 is not fully known. But clearly something happened in the activities of Euroinvest, Svetlana and other Berezin companies, since he disappeared from the country. Moreover, he disappeared suddenly, and his current location is unknown.

However, what happened can be assumed with a fair degree of probability. The answer here is also simple - the case was finally given the green light. But someone managed to warn Berezin that his former patronage would no longer help here. So he considered it good to leave. It should be assumed that who helped him cross the border will soon become known - this is not such a task for the investigation.

But how and on what Berezin will live in Europe is a big question. Because those 23 million dollars, the investigation of which began in Switzerland back in 2016, have long been arrested. And the fate of the remaining assets, stolen and transferred to Swiss and German banks, in light of recent events is also very sad for Berezin.