They searched the house of billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev in connection with an oil smuggling case, a law enforcement source told Vedomosti. According to Kommersant sources, the searches were carried out in the company headed by the businessman’s son Said Gutseriev. The billionaire and his company called the reports on the searches “a fake and a provocation.
“Searches took place at [Mikhail] Gutseriev’s home #69 together with the Interior Ministry, FSB and FCS,” a law enforcement source told Vedomosti. According to him, the searches were carried out in connection with a criminal case of oil smuggling to Europe by “one of the companies of Gutseriev’s son. The case was initiated upon the application of the Federal Customs Service (FCS), said the source of Vedomosti.
Kommersant sources close to Safmar Mikhail Gutseriev said the searches were being carried out in the office of ForteInvest company headed by the billionaire’s son Said Gutseriev. REN TV channel, without specifying the source of information, reported that law-enforcers ‘are carrying out some kind of activities’ in the company’s office.
The criminal case which is the subject of searches and seizure of documents was initiated under Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code (smuggling of strategically important goods and resources), said a Kommersant source in the law-enforcement agencies. The case is connected with the illegal deliveries of oil and oil products to Turkey in the amount of 2 billion rubles, allegedly carried out in the interests of ForteInvest, the newspaper said. According to the newspaper’s sources, the case was dropped after the FSB economic security service received information that oil from Turkey could have been delivered to Ukraine. The materials of the case say that 100,000 tons of oil and petroleum products were smuggled, and the damage is estimated at 2 billion rubles, said a source at the Interior Ministry’s main directorate in Moscow.
So far there are no suspects or defendants in the case, and no detainees during the searches, writes Kommersant.
“ForteInvest produces and refines crude oil and sells petroleum products in Russia and abroad. According to the company’s website, the company’s counterparties include residents of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, China, Belarus as well as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, UK, Netherlands and USA.
“Safmar” on its website called “fake and provocation” reports about the searches. “We officially declare that this information does not correspond to reality – law enforcement authorities have no claims against the group’s companies,” the statement said. Gutseriev himself, when asked by REN TV to comment on the search reports, said, “No, this is not true. This is a provocation.
Telegram channel Mash was the first to report the news that searches were being carried out at the house of Mikhail Gutseriev and the offices of 10 companies affiliated with him. A source of Open Media close to the heads of one of the FSB departments confirmed the information about the searches at Gutseriev’s home. Without specifying the source of the information, Mash wrote that the searches were carried out in connection with a criminal case of illegal export abroad of 130,000 tons of oil products, the damage of which was assessed at more than 2 billion rubles. The Telegram channel Baza quoted its sources as saying that the damage was estimated at 3 billion rubles.
Said Gutseriev did not answer Forbes’ calls. Mikail Shishkhanov, nephew of Mikhail Gutseriyev, told Forbes that he was not yet informed about the searches. A Forbes correspondent staying outside the ForteInvest office was not able to get inside – the office security told him to call the reception desk for a pass, but the company secretaries did not answer the phone. Forbes sent an inquiry to the Federal Customs Service.