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Ex-Bank Owner Cries Robbery

VedomostiAndrei Andreyev
The former owner of controlling stakes in leading insurance company Ingosstrakh and top 10 retail bank Avtobank claimed in an interview published Tuesday that a criminal conspiracy robbed him of his holdings, which are now in the hands of tycoons Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska.

"I did not sell my business and did not receive a single kopek for it. It was taken away from me in a criminal way, through murder threats and through falsifying documents," Andrei Andreyev said.

Andreyev, who has been in hiding since December, said that he and nominal shareholders, through whom he controlled 54 percent in metals company Nosta, 80 percent in Ingosstrakh and about 80 percent in Avtobank, began receiving murder threats from his former krysha, or protector, Rodion Gamzayev in September.

He said the nominal shareholders were coerced into signing over the shares and, in some cases, ownership documents were falsified.

Andreyev alleged that Gamzayev and former Avtobank head Natalya Rayevskaya offered the businesses to State Duma Deputy Suleiman Kerimov, who Andreyev said had ties to Nafta-Moskva.

Andreyev claimed to have walked in on a Sept. 28 meeting of the three with representatives of Nafta-Moskva and David Davidovich, a board member of metals giant Russian Aluminum.

"Davidovich signed the deal on behalf of Sibneft and SibAl with Gamzayev, Rayevskaya and Nafta-Moskva representatives," Andreyev said.

RusAl co-owners Deripaska and Abramovich control industrial holding SibAl and oil major Sibneft, respectively.

After the sale, Rayevskaya was replaced by Vladimir Ryskin, who formerly worked as a banker within the Interros holding.

The allegations are currently being investigated by the organized crime unit of the Interior Ministry, and investigators have already searched the offices of Nafta-Moska.

Andreyev, a former Moscow policeman, bought into Avtobank in the early 1990s, using the proceeds from a fur business he set up in 1989. He used some of the huge profits his banking business generated in 1997-98 to buy into Ingosstrakh, real estate and metals.

"First, [it's not that they] belonged to me, but belong to me. Criminal actions cannot lead to a legal change of ownership," Andreyev said.

Nosta, Avtobank and Ingosstrakh stakes were not available for comment, nor were Kerimov or Rayevskaya.

Representatives of Millhouse, Sibneft and SibAl declined to comment.

(Vedomosti, MT)

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