RUSSIA: RUBEN TATULYAN (aka: Robson) SANCTIONED BY USA (linked to Eurasian Transnational Criminal Organization), daughter lives in USA
Ruben Tatulyan does not like America – but allows his daughter to live there
The CrimeRussia continues reviewing international connections of ‘authoritative’ Sochi businessman Ruben Tatulyan. In addition to the Czech ‘laundromat’ and revoked Armenian diplomatic passport, Robson has ties – via his daughter – with the USA. His in-laws were involved in protection racketeering of the Luzhniki market, construction, financing of fast-food chains, and had even sat in sessions of the Council of the Federation.
The family and business ties of Ruben Tatulyan are closely intertwined. The CrimeRussia has already addressed the Czech connections and affairs of Vartan Tatulyan; now it is time to cast a glance at the daughter of the Sochi businessman and his new in-laws.
To refresh background: in 2012, Tatulyan’s daughter Galina has married Vladimir Ter-Avanesov, son of Armenian count Boris Ter-Avanesov and brother of ex-Senator Aleksander Ter-Avanesov.
Vartan Tatulyan, ex-Director of Czech company Anabelle Property, was also the cofounder of Amfibius Joint Stock Company. This Sochi waterpark is located in Vesna (Spring) Hotel & Spa – whose Chairman of the Board of Directors is Ruben Tatulyan. Later, Vartan Tatulyan’s share in Amfibius was supposedly transferred to his daughter Alvart Vartanovna Tatulyan acting as the Director of the waterpark. Its another co-owner is Ruben Tatulyan’s daughter Galina Ter-Avanesova.
Her other assets include Sochi-based KAR Open Joints Stock Company (automobile transportation and repairs). In Moscow, Galina is registered as an individual entrepreneur specializing in land acquisitions and sales. She also owns 50% in Moscow-based B.R.L Real Estate Agency (that currently does not show much activity on the market) and 25% in Treidaktivnn Limited Liability Company trading various goods – from auto parts to medicines. In the past, this company was incorporated in Nizhny Novgorod; after the relocation to Moscow, it started building trade and office centers. In September 2017, it was announced that Treidaktivnn has undertaken to finish the construction of a trade and business center on Kronshtadtsky boulevard, not far from Vodny Stadion subway station. The portfolios of all shareholders of Treidaktivnn, including Ter-Avanesova, have been pledged to Uralsib Bank as security.
Overall, it seems that Galina Ter-Avanesova is not really busy with commercial activities – especially taking that she currently lives abroad and pays only short visits to Russia.
A year ago, while commenting on the American sanctions imposed on him, Ruben Tatulyan said that he does not want to see this country on the world map.
But, apparently, this was just a figure of speech – he definitely may not wish the family of Galina living in the USA to disappear together with America.
Since 2017, she has been living with her husband in Miami and acquired a residence there. In January 2017, Vladimir Ter-Avanesov took out a residential mortgage in the amount of $3 million in an American bank; his wife Galina is also mentioned in the lending documents.
On January 30, the spouses purchased a first line beach apartment in prestigious Bal Harbour neighborhood. They live next door to Diana Gindin, spouse of Vladislav Reznik, Deputy of the State Duma from Edinaya Rossia (United Russia) Party, and the former (or not completely former?) residence of Deputy Aleksei Chepa.
The husband of Tatulyan’s daughter is a businessman as well.
He co-owns a number of companies subsidiary to Teremok fast-food chain – Teremok Street, Teremok Region, Teremok Invest, and Teremok Development.
First line beach condo in Miami where Vladimir and Galina Ter-Avanesov own an apartment
The chain offering pancakes and other traditional Russian meals was founded by Mikhail Goncharov in 1998. Currently, it includes more than 300 outlets in all parts of the country.
Its another co-owner – Roman Fuks – is a brother of well-known Russian–Ukrainian businessman Pavel Fuks.
Pavel Fuks with wife and daughter at the wedding of Tatulyan’s daughter
Interestingly, Aleksander Ter-Avanesov and Pavel Fuks have longtime business ties.
They have met for the first time in the 1990s – on the market in Luzhniki. Initially, the market was controlled by Solntsevskie organized criminal group – but then its members decided to switch to a more sound business and expressed interest to Novolipetsk Metallurgical Complex. To make sure that local gangs don’t obstruct its operations, Solntsevskie criminal group has granted to them a share in the Luzhniki market. At that time, Ter-Avanesov had worked for Lipetsk bandits as a ‘manager’ for public relations and liaison with governmental authorities.
In the same period, the influence of a Kharkiv gang controlling numerous thimbleriggers’ brigades on the market has significantly increased. The two organized criminal groups decided not to conflict with each other and instead consolidated into one powerful team known as Luzhnikovskie in Ukraine and Lipetskie Khokhly in Moscow.
In addition to future Senator Ter-Avanesov, many other members of that gang later became prominent businessmen and politicians, including Kharkiv native Evgeny Giner, President of PFC CSKA Moscow; Senator Aleksander Babakov; Maksim Kurochkin (Maks Beshenny (Maks the Furious)) shot dead in Kiev in 2007; businessman Mikhail Voevodin also known as thief-in-law MishaLuzhnetsky; and Pavel Fuks representing interests of Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes (Gepa).
In 1992, Fuks and Ter-Avanesov joined Intrada Trade House Joint Venture Company (later renamed into TradeInvest). Its official cofounders were some Russian and American companies – but, in fact, the structure belonged to Lipetsk and Kharkiv criminal ‘authorities’. Ter-Avanesov was its Deputy General Director, while Fuks – an Advisor to the General Director. Some Aleksei Nosov – a dummy person – was the General Director. Later, he often acted as the official head or founder of companies belonging to Fuks and Ter-Avanesov.
In 1995, Fuks became an advisor to the Head of Ukraine-based Prominvestbank. Later it became known that, in the same year of 1995, Viktor Yanukovich, who was familiar with Fuks, has acquired a portfolio of shares in that bank. Fuks had also maintained ties with Kernes – they had joint hotel and construction businesses in Ukraine, and their families still communicate.
Gennady Kernes + Pavel Fuks
In the 1990s – early 2000s, Fuks and Ter-Avanesov have jointly founded plenty of companies, including Inzhtekhtrans, Kapital-Stroy, Inter-Standart, and Volshebnaya Planeta (Magic Planet) (its co-founder was famous restaurant keeper Arkady Novikov). The majority of the above companies specialized in construction and built inter alia cottage communities, including Chegasovo 2 and Rublevsky settlements on Rublevskoe highway.
Ter-Avanesov has also built a number of large facilities in the Kostroma region and established close ties with local functionaries.
In 1998, in the course of a construction project, Fuks met Mikhail Rudyak, owner of Engeocom company. Rudyak has introduced him to high-ranked officials from the Moscow Government – this gave a boost to the joint business of Fuks and Ter-Avanesov. In 2002, Rudyak and Fuks created Engeocom Invest – a subsidiary company of Engeocom – to build trade centers on Paveletskaya and Bolotnaya squares of Moscow. In 2004, Fuks and Ter-Avanesov have bought out the share of Rudyak in these projects and concurrently erected Kaluzhsky and Atrium trade centers.
In 2006, Fuks founded Mos City Group Open Joint Stock Company. By 2008, it became one of the largest developers in the country; its total portfolio of projects amounted to some 7 million square meters, including skyscrapers in Moscow City International Business Center – Imperia Tower and Eurasia Tower. However, the construction of these towers was accompanied by endless scandals between the developers and investors; as a result; the skyscrapers were finished by other companies.
In 2006, Ter-Avanesov became a Senator from the Kostroma Region and officially withdrew from all joint projects with Fuks (their nominal owners were mostly offshore companies).
His senatorship involved an interesting episode. In 2010, the law enforcement authorities detained Mikhail Beridze, an Aide to Senator Ter-Avanesov. A native of Georgia posing as a former Minister of Internal Affairs of Adjara had been selling in Moscow positions of advisors and aides to Deputies of the State Duma and Senators for $150–200 thousand.
Furthermore, according to the investigation, Beridze had transferred the proceeds of his shady business to Georgia to finance organized criminal groups.
Arrest of Mikhail Beridze
Sergei Mironov, Speaker of the Council of the Federation, said at that time that all Senators must audit their aides. No punitive measures were taken against Senator Ter-Avanesov – according to Mironov, it was a good lesson for him and others.
In December 2015, after the expiration of his senatorial term, Ter-Avanesov has transferred to the Kostroma Regional Duma. He hasn’t attended a single session of the regional parliament and, a year later, stepped down from the elected position. In 2016, he became the Senior Vice President of an Armenian company subsidiary to VTB Bank.
It appears that his brother is a less successful businessman.
In 2016, Teremok fast-food chain came to the American market. Two establishments were launched in Manhattan, New York. Initially, local media outlets had published enthusiastic reviews describing delicious pancakes with caviar and unique ‘kvass’ drink.
American Teremok restaurants had looked even better than their Russian analogs – but in summer 2018, both establishments were closed.
Shortly before that, Goncharov accused New York inspectors checking the restaurants of “outright hostility”. According to him, the inspectors had asked about ties with Vladimir Putin and money laundering in Russia. Ultimately, Goncharov closed the establishments and said that he won’t resume the business in the USA “until the normalization of relations between the two countries”.
When asked by Meduza.io portal whether such questions could be put by the American auditors because of the Teremok investors, including the brother of Roman Fuks, Goncharov said that Pavel Fuks never was a shareholder and his brother’s business has nothing to do with him.
When asked about Vladimir Ter-Avanesov – husband of the daughter of a person put on the US sanction list – Goncharov responded that he was indeed one of the founders – but refused to clarify to whether he is still a shareholder or not.
“The sanctions affect specific persons, not families. If that were the case, we would have financial problems. Our bank accounts could be frozen. But this was not the case. Just an ordinary sanitary inspector. This demonstrates the attitude of ordinary people. If a high-ranked official had brought any claims, it would be possible to speak about other motives. But at the mundane level – this is just ordinary chauvinism. Blatant Russophobia.” – Goncharov concluded.
On the other hand, Patch.com wrote in March 2018, that the sanitation service of New York has suspended the operations of Teremok because of rodents found in the establishments, noncompliance with product temperature storage regimes, lack of disinfection prophylactics, and improper condition of the ventilation system.
Other companies belonging to Vladimir Ter-Avanesov were ‘inherited’ from Aleksander after being ‘sucked dry’ by him.
Take, for instance, Chigasovo 1 Noncommercial Partnership or Interra Joint Stock Company – in 2017, it sustained losses in the amount of 13.7 million rubles ($209.6 thousand). In the past, its name was Interra Investment Group, and it had specialized in the construction of trade and residential premises in Moscow and the metropolitan area.
Vladimir owned only 10% in it; the remaining 90% belonged to Cyprus-based Rosterra Investment Limited offshore company whose Executive Director is Marianna Karamalli. This Cypriot lawyer acts as a head of a number of offshore companies; the majority of those are affiliated with Rosgosstrakh Bank. She is also the sole proprietor of Gerdenix Investment Limited owning 99.9% of shares in Gognes Holding Limited. In turn, FK Rosgosstrakh Investitsii Limited Liability Company is the nominal owner of 100% of shares in Legion Development Closed Joint Stock Company in the interests of Gognes Holding Limited.
Legion Development is a construction company belonging to Danil Khachaturov, ex-President of Rosgosstrakh Group of Companies.
Currently, Rosgosstrakh experiences severe financial problems, while Sergei Khachaturov, ex-Vice President of Rosgosstrakh and brother of Danil Khachaturov, remains in detention since April 2018. A criminal case has been instituted against him and Nadezhda Klepal’skaya who used to work in structures controlled by brothers Khachaturov. The charges laid in the framework of that case were repeatedly changed. Initially, the suspects were charged with embezzlement of shares of an insurance company for the total amount over 6 billion rubles ($91.8 million) (part 4 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation); later – with swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation); and just recently – with laundering of stolen funds (Article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
Galina Ter-Avanesova (on the right) at a social event in Miami
In fact, the only possible link between Ter-Avanesov and Khachaturov is the Cypriot lawyer retained by them to register their offshore companies. They could accidentally be involved in same business affairs as well. We were unable to identify any other companies belonging to Vladimir and Galina Ter-Avanesov – neither in the USA nor in Russia. However, taking the wealth of their relatives, the well-being of the young family does not raise any concerns.
BACKGROUND: Treasury Targets the “Thieves-in-Law” Eurasian Transnational Criminal Organization
Designation also targets 10 individuals and two entities linked to the organization
Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Eurasian criminal entity, the Thieves-in-Law, along with 10 individuals and two entities linked to the Thieves-in-Law, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters. The Thieves-in-Law is being targeted for its involvement in serious transnational criminal activities. Today’s action generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or other transactions with these individuals and entities, and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
“The Thieves-in-Law is a Eurasian crime syndicate that has been linked to a long list of illicit activity across the globe,” said OFAC Director John E. Smith. “Treasury is designating the Thieves-in-Law as part of a broader strategy to disrupt the financial infrastructure of transnational criminal organizations that pose a threat to the United States and our allies.”
Today’s action is the latest in a series of designations pursuant to E.O. 13581, which supports the National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. E.O. 13581 provides OFAC with the authority to impose economic sanctions on TCOs.
The Thieves-in-Law originated in Stalinist prison camps. Its members are initiated or “crowned” after demonstrating an “ideal” criminal biography and take an oath to uphold a code that includes living exclusively off their criminal profits and supporting other Thieves-in-Law. Gatherings of Thieves-in-Law are called “skhodka,” during which decisions are made on issues, such as specific criminal activity, redistribution of criminal spheres of interest, responses to law enforcement operations, crowning of new Thieves-in-Law, and punishment of those who violate Thieves-in-Law traditions and customs. Law enforcement in various countries have attempted to break up such gatherings in order to prevent Thieves-in-Law from coordinating activities by raiding them and detaining the participants.
The Thieves-in-Law has grown into a vast criminal organization which has spread throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, and the United States, engaging in a variety of crimes, such as money laundering, extortion, bribery, and robbery. These criminals and their activities within the United States have become a target for U.S. law enforcement. In 1995, a Thief-in-Law was arrested in New York and later deported to Russia after serving a nine-year sentence on extortion charges; another Thief-in-Law was sentenced to three years in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty in Manhattan to a racketeering conspiracy. As recently as this year, U.S. law enforcement indicted over two dozen people, including a Thief-in-Law, for their involvement in crimes including acts of violence, fraud, identity theft, and trafficking in stolen goods.
ACTING FOR OR ON BEHALF OF THE THIEVES-IN-LAW
Zakhary Kalashov is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Kalashov is a crowned Thief-in-Law who has participated in meetings with other Thieves-in-Law, including two in 2015 and one in 2016. In June 2006, Kalashov was extradited from the
United Arab Emirates to Spain on money laundering charges. Kalashov was deported to Russia in October 2014 after serving over seven years in prison on those charges. Kalashov was then arrested in July 2016 on extortion charges. Kalashov has also been accused of being involved in narcotics and arms trafficking.
Vasiliy Khristoforov is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Khristoforov is a crowned Thief-in-Law with three convictions, who has participated in meetings with other Thieves-in-Law, including ones in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Khristoforov has also used his authority to increase the stature of other Thieves-in-Law.
Kamchybek Kolbayev is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Kolbayev is a crowned Thief-in-Law. Kolbayev has engaged in bribery, and is believed to be involved in human trafficking for forced prostitution and forced labor. Kolbayev was detained in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2011 and was found with stolen jewelry. In 2014, Kolbayev completed a sentence in Kyrgyzstan for extortion.
Lasha Shushanashvili is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Shushanashvili is a crowned Thief-in-Law who has participated in meetings with other Thieves-in-Law, including ones in 2009, 2010, and 2013. In January 2012, Shushanashvili was arrested in Greece on Spanish criminal charges. Shushanashvili was also allegedly involved in issuing instructions to have people killed, and in Georgia, Shushanashvili is accused of extortion.
Vladislav Leontyev is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Leontyev is a crowned Thief-in-Law who has assisted other Thieves-in-Law by helping them acquire travel documents, organize business deals, and advocate on their behalf.
Yuri Pichugin is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Pichugin is a crowned Thief-in-Law who has participated in meetings with other Thieves-in-Law, including ones in 2014, 2015, and 2017. Pichugin has seven convictions, and was arrested by Russian law enforcement in February 2017, along with seven associates, on weapons charges and for participating in a criminal organization.
Vladimir Tyurin is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the Thieves-in-Law. Tyurin is a crowned Thief-in-Law who has participated in meetings with other Thieves-in-Law, including one in 2013 and another in 2015. Tyurin has been sentenced to prison on three separate occasions, and also spent time under house arrest.
PROVIDING MATERIAL SUPPORT TO THE THIEVES-IN-LAW
Gafur Rakhimov is being designated for providing material support to the Thieves-in-Law. Rakhimov has collaborated with Thieves-in-Law on business, as well as assisted Thieves-in-Law by providing warning of law enforcement issues, arranging meetings, and addressing other problems. Rakhimov has been described as having moved from extortion and car theft to becoming one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals and an important person involved in the heroin trade.
Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov is being designated for providing material support to the Thieves-in-Law. Tokhtakhounov helped to organize a meeting of Thieves-in-Law. Tokhtakhounov has been indicted twice in the United States. He was indicted on charges related to bribery during the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was also indicted in 2013 for his role in an illegal gambling operation. He is currently the subject of an Interpol Red Notice. Tokhtakhounov has been tied to other criminal investigations in Europe as well.
Ruben Tatulian is being designated for providing material support to the Thieves-in-Law. In 2010, Tatulian was appointed as the “overseer” of the Sochi, Russia Thieves-in-Law operation run by a senior Thief-in-Law. In 2015, Tatulian was detained as a participant at a meeting of Thieves-in-Law in Sochi along with Zakhary Kalashov; one of at least two instances in which Tatulian was detained at a meeting of Thieves-in-Law. In addition, on more than one occasion, Tatulian has assisted Thieves-in-Law who encountered legal problems.
The Vesna Hotel and Spa is being designated for being owned or controlled by Ruben Tatulian. Tatulian is both a shareholder and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vesna Hotel and Spa.
Novyi Vek – Media is being designated for being owned or controlled by Ruben Tatulian. Tatulian fully owns Novyi Vek – Media.
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