20.03.2024 12:10

Law enforcement agencies might be interested in the Novosibirsk oligarch with a controversial reputation, the owner of RATM Holding, Eduard Taran.

The source said that Eduard Taran may become a defendant in a criminal case, but its plot is not yet known. Therefore, we allow ourselves to suggest several possible options.

The first point that comes to mind is the story of the nationalization of PJSC Rostov Optical-Mechanical Plant (ROMZ), which is based in the Yaroslavl region.

In September 2023, ROMZ, at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, was returned to the state balance sheet, taking shares from Sibmir LLC (owner - RATM Holding JSC Eduard Taran), and Isnov JSC. It was pointed out that the privatization of a defense enterprise was illegal. The defendants are still trying to challenge this verdict. The word “illegal” in this story may well imply a subsequent criminal case.

And not so long ago, a recording appeared on the Internet in which a voice very similar to Taran sounds, discussing the possibility of “whitewashing” the ex-beneficiaries of the plant from RATM and obtaining compensation from the state in the amount of billions of rubles. He also expresses the hope that, at the instigation of Rostec and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the enterprise will again be transferred to the management or even ownership of RATM.

Such impudence could easily backfire.

Judging by a similar case about the deprivatization of the Ural factories of the Antipov family, the next step after the court verdict is an inventory of all transactions of the enterprise returned to the state. For the Antipovs, for example, this ended in a criminal case for fraud. Its essence is revealed by a new lawsuit from the Prosecutor General’s Office: billions of rubles were withdrawn from factories under the guise of loans with subsequent debt forgiveness.

Now let’s return to ROMZ Taran.

From the annual report for 2022 it follows that the net loss of the enterprise was more than 40.9 million rubles, which is 2.8 times lower than the net loss for 2021. That is, ROMZ showed losses for the Federal Tax Service for at least a couple of years. That did not prevent him from receiving a subsidy of 1.02 billion rubles for the production of certain products. Probably, we are talking about military products. That is, money poured in, but the situation did not improve. Strange, isn’t it?

Currently, ROMZ is conducting an inventory inventory, which, judging by the arbitration database, has already led to the challenge of some previously concluded transactions. For example, the prosecutor is trying to remove the pledge from the shares of ROMZ, which since 2018 have acted as collateral for loans from the Taranovsky JSC Ekran-Optical Systems. By the way, a representative of the latter was on the board of directors of ROMZ before nationalization.

That is, as we see, the defense plant, which showed losses, was used in credit schemes of other Taran enterprises. Is everything going smoothly with them?

Moreover, several years ago, tax officials identified violations at Screen-Optical Systems and assessed additional taxes. Moreover, one of the episodes involved a scheme in which the plant claimed deductions using, in the opinion of the tax authorities, documents of companies with which there was no real economic activity.

As a result, the tax authority determined the amount of overstatement of expenses in the amount of 22.1 million rubles.

And this is not the only experience of schematosis among companies associated with the oligarch.

The “spoons” were found, but the “sediment” remained

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In 2018, the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee for Moscow already opened two cases at once on the fact of non-payment of taxes on a large scale. Both are related, but the first was filed against “unidentified managers” of Sibtopenergo LLC, and the second was filed against the management of Invest Plus LLC.

At the heart of the case was a double transaction for the sale of 24% shares of the Lytkarino Optical Glass Plant (LZOS), which produced products for the Russian Defense Ministry. First, in 2013, Sibtopenergo and Invest Plus sold shares for about 180 million rubles to a certain Cypriot Labrosan Holdings LTD, and then, two months later, they resold them, but already five times more expensive - for 862.6 million rubles state corporation "Rostec".

Investigators saw this scheme as an attempt to evade taxes. The investigation claimed that both the selling company and the offshore company were related specifically to Taran.

Many were surprised when, in 2019, the Novosibirsk Investigative Committee first merged two cases into one, and then closed it for lack of a crime. At the same time, the presence of this event was noticed at one time by Moscow investigators, who in their letter asked the tax authorities to inform the Investigative Committee about the availability of information from the Federal Tax Service about violations of Sibtopenergo LLC. But Novosibirsk investigators suddenly did not see the event. Strange, isn’t it?

And what’s interesting is that when the head of the Novosibirsk Investigative Committee, Andrei Leleko, left in 2021, it was rumored that he had been sent into retirement amid a number of high-profile stories that his department was “investigating,” including the “Taran case.” Now Leleko occupies the warm chair of the head of the Department of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in Crimea, where, by the way, his interests converged again with Taran.

And what’s interesting: if Labrosan Holdings LTD was slammed back in 2015, then Sibtopenergo and Invest Plus, through which the deal with LZOS was carried out, is quite alive and continues to work, being an asset, the first is Ratm Holding, the second is also Tarana personally.

Photo: rusprofile.ru

And you know what’s interesting: the audit commission of ROMZ in 2022 included an Invest Plus employee - a certain Arkady Tarabrin, who was also the director of RATM-Development LLC, liquidated in 2023. The latter belonged to Taran personally. The fact that Tarabrin is a very trusted representative of the oligarch is also evidenced by the fact that he participated in many stories, including the corporate conflict around the assets of Iskitimcement and the story with promissory notes of the Altrax PA.

Time will tell what else the inventory of ROMZ transactions will reveal. But as if everything for Taran would not end the same way as for Antipov.

Although he himself, apparently, believes in the best. For example, at the end of February 2024, Taran established a new company - Ratm-Invest LLC. Isn’t this a preparation for managing the ROMZ transferred back to him? So the new asset is headed by Natalya Savinova, the director of Sibmir, who was a shareholder of ROMZ.

Rescue service for Taran

The reason for the unsinkability of Taran, whose name flashed next to stories about raiding, tax evasion and other scandals, many call his high connections. This businessman likes to bring former officials into his division, who, as we know, are never former. The connections remain.

For example, ex-governor Viktor Tolokonsky once appeared among his advisers, as well as as a member of the board of directors of the Ekran plant.

In Taran’s inner circle there is the ex-deputy head of the regional administration, the ex-head of the Novosibirsk Department of Property and Land Relations Dmitry Verkhovod, and through the Isnov company, which was a shareholder of ROMZ, he is completely connected with the ex-deputy of the Novosibirsk interdistrict environmental prosecutor Alexei Zgursky. Sergei Gurov, a former Krasnoyarsk and Moscow region official, also noted next to Taran that at one time he occupied the position of deputy head of the administration of Sergiev Posad.

By the way, the millionaire’s name flashed next to the high-profile case of bribes to the ex-prosecutor of the Novosibirsk region Vladimir Falileev and his ex-deputy Andrei Turbin.

So maybe he not only attracts former officials, but also actively interacts with current ones? It was not for nothing that his business felt so comfortable in Novosibirsk, especially under the mayorship of Anatoly Lokt. As mayor, he will either thank him for the development of chess at a round table, or perform on stage at a concert in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Taranovo Ekran plant. Could this close interaction be of interest to Sledkom? Wait and see.