How Rustem Magdeev helped Emil Gaynulin withdraw Gazprom money abroad


How many other secrets does the story of the Graff Diamonds jewellery store hold - the store, which Rustem Magdeev and Emil Gaynulin opened in Cyprus? Editors obtained in their disposal documents that may indicate that a major contractors of Gazprom and Transneft used this company to withdraw billions of rubles from Russia. It is about time law enforcement agencies should look for this money in accounts in foreign banks.

"Our Version" has written a lot about infamous entrepreneur Rustem Magdeev. The businessman, who was dubbed as the "money-bag" of the head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, became the hero of several international scandals. One of them is connected with an unfavorable business story that Magdeev created together with well-known British jewellery house Graff Diamonds.

The documents that our editors found in their disposal made us take a fresh look at another participant of this story - Emil Gaynulin, a former partner of Magdeev's in the Cyprus-based company Equix Group Ltd. It goes about a letter written on behalf of a person known as "Mr Emil Gaynulin" to managers of Swiss bank Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild. There is also the balance sheet of the company Podvodtruboprovodstroy for 2012-2015.

The letter, written in broken English and signed, supposedly by Emil Gaynulin himself, tells the story of the formation of his business. This story is interesting not only because of various criminal authorities who seemed to have been actively involved in it, but also because it is directly connected with the withdrawal and laundering of money abroad, which, apparently, Podvodtruboprovodstroy had received from the Russian gas monopoly. As it follows from the text, the person named as Emil Gaynulin invested some of this money in the Graff Diamonds boutique in Limassol.

Quiet billionaire

Judging from the information in the letter, Emil Gaynulin could well enter the Top-200 of Russia's richest people according to Forbes Magazine. Yet, in narrow circles he is known as a "silent financier." They do not call him that for nothing: at first glance, Gaynulin looks like a businessman who has quite an ordinary biography and a modest capital. The letter to the Swiss bank states the following (we do not claim that this information is absolutely correct, as it raises certain doubts, but it still gives one food for thought).

In 1991, Gaynulin founded commercial company Intermex, which was selling computers and all sorts of things. However, he earned his first big profit in the period between 1993 and 1999 in financial and industrial group Lyukon, which, according to him, was mainly a construction company. Afterwards, from 1999 to 2008, Mr. Gaynulin served as CEO of Granal, was an adviser to the representative office of Marvin Holdings, an investor in a number of real estate objects in Moscow. Later he became a co-owner of innovative company Biosecurity and then became president of Gazinvestcentre company. All of that, from the point of view of income, paled in comparison with the chance that he came across in 2008, when he became a co-owner of Podvodtruboprovodstroi (PTPS).

It appears that there was a criminal case initiated against Gaynulin in 1999 in connection with his activities at Lyukon. The name of the company is an acronym which means "Lyubertsy Concern" (the town of Lyubertsy near Moscow is known as the patrimony of the notorious Lyubertsy organized criminal group). As a result, he was allegedly arrested in Prague at the request from the Russian authorities in 2000 and extradited to his homeland.

Podvodtruboprovodstroi, known for the Russian initials as PTPS, is one of the largest contractors in construction projects of Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Transneft, Sibur-Holding and many other giants of the Russian economy. According to accounting documents of Podvodtruboprovodstroy (available at the disposal of the editorial board), the turnover of the company was more than 30 billion rubles in 2012-2015. Against this background, the figure of 60-75 million dollars does not look strange - this is the approximate annual income received from PTPS activities, which someone known as "Emil Gaynulin" mentioned in his letter to Swiss bankers. However, this information does not correspond to the financial results that the contractor of Gazprom, Transneft, and other large companies indicated in their official accounting documents.

In 2012, the net profit of Podvodtruboprovodstroy made up only 134 million rubles, in 2013 - 144 million rubles, in 2014 - 108 million rubles, and in 2015 - 22 million rubles. How can this be? Probably, the company was concealing its real profit to optimize taxation, while its owners were withdrawing assets abroad. Judging by the volume of foreign investments, as per the letter to Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild, such an assumption can be possible. Most likely, it was Rustem Magdeev, a partner at Equix Group Ltd, who was helping PTPS co-owner to carry out such investment operations.

A man with three passports

The Graff Diamonds boutique managed by Equix Group Ltd opened in Limassol at the end of May in 2015. It seems, however, that Gaynulin and Magdeev got to know each other much earlier. In 2013, Rustem Magdeev, apparently, introduced the co-owner of PTPS to "shadow" banker Alexei Kulikov. The latter was one of the founders of the so-called "Moldavian Laundromat" and "Mirror Transactions". Apparently, it was the participation of Kulikov that made the transfer of unaccounted billions of Podvodtruboprovodstroi possible through a number of Russian banks and the Russian subsidiary of Deutsche Bank. The assets formed the basis of the capital worth $450-500 million, of which someone known as Mr. Gaynulin kindly informed managers of the Bank of the Rothschilds.

Emil Gaynulin could deposit money in a number of major foreign banks. In Cyprus, as follows from the letter, these were the Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and RCB Bank; in Switzerland - UBS, Julius Baer and Credit Suisse; in Liechtenstein - LGT and Valartis. In addition, Mr. Gaynulin could use services of Singaporean banks BSI and Standard Chartered, as well as Monaco-based CMB bank, let alone a number of other credit institutions in Austria and the Baltic countries.

According to the letter to the Swiss bank, Gaynulin spent some of the money to buy expensive real estate in Cyprus, Thailand and Cote d'Azur - in a place called Cap d'Ail. Investments in Cyprus provided Gaynulin (who already holds dual citizenship of Azerbaijan and Russia) an opportunity to obtain the "golden" passport of the island state. In Cyprus, Gaynulin and Magdeev subsequently opened Equix Group Company, in which the alleged author of the letter invested more than $100 million, and his partner - about $50 million, which, as rumour has it, he had borrowed from his "boss" - a prominent Russian political figure.

As we learned earlier, the jewellery business in Limassol did not go well. In 2017, Gaynulin and Magdeev split, but, apparently, still managed to share commodity remnants of Graff Diamonds jewellery. The break up of the partners turned out to be scandalous. It is believed that Rustem Magdeev attracted his long-time patron Radik Yusupov to the process - the man, who is considered to be the leader of "Sevastopolsky" organised criminal group - a well-known criminal group in Tatarstan.

This story could be complete if it were not for an important question that still has no answer. Did Gaynulin manage hundreds of millions of dollars for personal interest, or was he just a confidant of a larger figure? Our sources believe that Podvodtruboprovodstroy could receive a significant part of Gazprom contracts through Stroygazmontazh (SGM) - a company owned by Rotenberg brothers. Apparently, it was happening with the active participation of former general director of SGM Ruslan Goryukhin, as well as former deputy head of Gazkomplektservice, Mikhail Opengeim. Taking into consideration the fact that Western sanctions against Russia complicate relations between owners and managers of those companies with foreign banks, it is appropriate to assume that it is their interests that someone known as "Mr. Emil Gaynulin" represents in Europe.

According to our information, law enforcement officers not only in Russia, but also in Cyprus, France, Switzerland and the United States could become very interested in the activities of Emil Gaynulin. The times that we are living in today are difficult, and the amounts of money, such as on  accounts of the former co-owner of the Graff Diamonds boutique in Cyprus, is of interest to everyone. In our next materials, we will tell of Gaynulin's main partners; about the people who have been covering their "heavy" businesses for years and, most importantly, whose money Mr. Gaynulin controls in the West.

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