Anatoly Loktionov is a well-know Russian oligarch absconding prosecution in the Great Britain, trying to get back to Russia and being involved in lengthy litigations, throwing one appeal after another. What’s at the back of it? It’s hardly a mere homesickness where many millions are at stake.
Anatoly Gavrilovich Loktionov was born in 1947. Has graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute (1976), worked in various capacities at the Znamya Truda Machine Engineering Plant, Moscow and the All-Union Research Institute for Physical and Technical Measurements. In the hectic 1990s his professional career began — he has been appointed Director General at the Petro Trade, AO. In 1998 he becomes Vice President, then First Vice President of the Rosneft Oil Company, OAO.
Rosneft is one of the largest Russian oil companies which major stock is owned by the state. Loktionov felt he was in for a treat there, and lost no time getting rich. His nickname those days was ‘Tolya Hamilton’ and not for nothing. All the oil sale and purchase contracts at the Rosneft of which he was in charge, used to be signed on the condition of a $10 kick-back for each ton of oil. This is what the businessmen who dealt with Rosneft at that time claim. It did not matter whether or not a deal was advantageous for the state; it was a kick-back to Anatoly Gavrilovich that mattered.
Kick-backs from contracts were not enough for his growing appetite and in 2000 the clever businessman has set up a firm in Geneva, Energo Impex (in 2006 it was renamed as Highlander International Trading), which primary beneficiary was Loktionov himself. The firm was used to funnel the exported oil and petrochemicals. What is more, commodities used to be bought from the Rosneft at prices below market. The aggregate price margin according to customs declarations reached around $ 1 billion. It was a direct damage to the state and a foundation for Loktionov’s multi million wealth.
His scheme for the Rosneft stock was as successful. The stock was bought for $ 20 million by the company Fleming Family & Partners under Loktionov’s control. Some time later the stock was sold back but now for $ 300 million. All of his operations at the Rosneft can be defined as ‘large-scale fraud’. This wording exactly can be found in the criminal investigation opened against him.
Loktionov’s ‘business’ was not limited to the above mentioned schemes. He also got involved in the construction of the Naftatrans oil transshipment terminal in the Krasnodar Region, housing development projects in Anapa, reselling of art objects and other projects. The criminal investigation of fraud is exactly about the money he stole from his business partner in Anapa.
The results of his hard work are impressive: within 10-15 years Loktionov became a founder of several Russian companies. His official income (according to his tax returns submitted to the Russian Tax Authorities) was a mere 396 million Roubles. However, his life style was on a quite different level. Multi million wealth was not only funneled to his bank accounts but also invested in expensive properties:
- A mansion in the Nikolino elite compound (Rublevka) with a 2.4 acres land plot worth $100 million. The house area is 2,300 sq.m, there are marble floors, mosaics made of gems, bronze stairs, columns, gold, ceiling paintings and mahogany furniture — a breathtaking luxury.
- Four apartments in the center of Moscow.
- Two country houses and nine land plots in the Moscow Region.
- A villa in France near Monaco (Cap Martin) with old-growth trees and a park, all worth over 200 million Euro.
- An apartment in Paris (51 Rue Monteil).
- A mansion in Vandoeuvre, a Geneva suburb.
- An apartment in Knightsbridge, London.
- The Verona yacht.
- A private jet.
All this and other ‘modest’ possessions are registered as the ex-Vice President of the Rosneft and his family titles. Huge sums are spent every year to maintain all these properties ($4 million including luxury tax).
Anatoly Loktionov’s wealth might be more modest or too apparent for the law enforcement without the help from his bankers. The Swiss BNP PARIBAS was not interested in the nature of his assets kept with the bank, moreover the bank was assisting him in developing illegal schemes. The bankers have helped him opening offshore companies: Boston Manor Ltd, Carelink Limited, Ranteva Holdings Limited. These companies had legal seat at apt.3, 7, Znamenka str., Moscow, the same address that Anatoly Loktionov used for his other firms. The bank consulted him, developed schemes for him and helped him to protect his assets. The detailed instructions used to be given on paper (Solutions for Prosperity Panning etc.).
Anatoly Loktionov quite often had to be involved in litigations, many of which were instigated by himself. The most lengthy and numerous of them were against the Naftatrans, ZAO and its founders. Loktionov himself is a holder of 30% stock, however through a complicated chain of offshore companies. By the way, allegedly his partners have tried to sell his 30% stock to some Czech businessmen but failed. Loktionov himself was willing to become a sole stockholder of the Naftatrans having tried to buy out his partners stock for a song.
The story began in 2009 when the company has bought 256 hectares of land from the Zemelnaya Kompaniya, OOO to construct an oil refinery. Significantly, the latter company’s stockholders were the same Bukhantsov, Ternavsky and Loktionov. The latter got upset about the fact that his partners haven’t shared the proceedings from the deal with him and that the decision was made without him and the land was manifold overpriced.
Loktionov has brought up a lawsuit demanding to declare the deal illegal. Initially the lawsuit has been submitted to the Kavkazsky District court. Having seen no action within 45 days, in July 2010 he appealed to the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office complaining about the investigation’s inaction.
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Kavkazsky District has notified him of dropping criminal charges brought up by Loktionov as groundless. Moreover, his partner Anatoly Ternavsky has filed a counterclaim of a false denunciation. A criminal case under the Art. 306 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has been opened against Loktionov. On February 20, 2012 the Tagansky District Court has issued an arrest warrant in absence of Loktionov.
At that time he was undergoing treatment in Europe. Having heard of the new developments he decided not to come back to Russia. He has settled down in Europe and started blaming everybody of corruption including the Government. He is teaming with the opposition and is trying to obtain a status of a political refugee illegally persecuted in Russia.
No End in Sight
In the meantime, the refugee’s lawyers strike back: they have appealed to the Moscow City Court with the claim of ineligibility of the arrest warrant (no undertaking not to leave has been issued). Therefore, there was no restriction on leaving the country and their client has committed no violation. The claim is being considered by new judges, the claimant accuses the law enforcement not only of the failure to act but of corruption and prejudice. The case goes on for years, new appeals get filed.
The conflict is far from resolution: Loktionov’s lawyers have appealed to the Arbitration to recognize his ownership of the 30% stock of the Naftatrans, ZAO. However, because of the complex chain of offshore companies his appeals get denied one after another with the wording: ‘the claimant himself has chosen the mode of asserting his right on the stock through a chain of corporate structures in various jurisdictions; therefore the court cannot ignore subsequent stock owners’. This decision was made in March 2015 by the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeals in Moscow. The same result was at the High Court of London.
Time goes by, the construction of the new oil refinery on the land plot acquired by the Naftatrans has been frozen because of the litigations, the assets are under arrest. Although Anatoly Loktionov keeps losing in courts, the company is not able to operate.
The refugee, living in London, has filed a lawsuit against the consulate complaining that he was denied the issue of a new passport (his old one has expired). This sign of utter insolence has reached as high as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Anyway, it doesn’t make issuing a new passport any faster.
Most of the businessman’s assets are outside Russia, as is Loktionov himself. Returning to Russia would be dangerous — there are cases against him for false denunciation and two criminal cases for fraud (once related to the Rosneft, a large-scale fraud). However, the new developments in the banking sphere in Switzerland, tightened control of ‘criminal finances’ in the UK might be alarming for him. The chance that his assets might be seized is quite high and Loktionov is trying to look for the ways to avoid it. One of the solutions would be getting a pardon and coming back to Russia. A good opportunity was presented by Boris Titov, the Business Ombudsman who was encouraging the oligarchs in refuge to return on the condition of further fair business conduct in Russia. Anatoly Loktionov was included in the Titov list only after his third request, so tarnished is his reputation. However, he has managed to convince Titov that the criminal cases against him are related to his business activities and there is a chance that they would be dropped. If he succeeds in coming to terms with the authorities in Russia he might escape prosecution in other countries, too. How far this new scheme would go and when he would be brought into the open is just a matter of time.