Berezin Andrey Valerievich: the path from oligarch to fugitive criminal

While the fugitive oligarch-bankrupt of Euroinvest Andrei Berezin, sitting in Turkey, pretends that everything is fine with him, clouds are gathering over him and his immediate circle. It recently became known that not only Berezin’s personal accounts were arrested; the arrest also affected the fugitive businessman’s closest relatives.

Let us recall that the owner of the Euroinvest Investment Company and a number of other assets, whose main business is development, Andrei Berezin disappeared from Russia in the spring of 2022, on the eve of the planned interrogation at the Sledkom and arrest. He flew from Pulkovo to Istanbul, where he remains to this day. The reason was clear - the structures of Berezin and his entourage had serious problems - the Investigative Committee was checking the activities of the disgraced oligarch and persons associated with him over the past twenty years. Formally, the reason for the investigative measures was a long-standing criminal case No. 11804009715000094 under Part 2 of Article 193 of the Criminal Code - “evasion of obligations to repatriate funds in foreign currency or the currency of the Russian Federation on an especially large scale”, initiated on December 7, 2018 by the Baltic Customs. But the scale of searches and arrests has long gone beyond the scope of essentially formal proceedings, in which Berezin is charged with withdrawing only $23 million, which surfaced in banks in Switzerland and Germany.

Observers have long drawn attention to the disproportion of what is happening with the sane Berezin and came to the conclusion that they are not digging under him personally, but under his patrons, who are the current governor of the Leningrad region Alexander Drozdenko and the former governor of St. Petersburg and Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Leningrad region and the Central Federal District Georgy Poltavchenko. For whom Berezin served as the so-called “wallet” - a person through whom corrupt money and assets were withdrawn. For example, it is known that the daughter of Alexander Drozdenko, Yulia Richard, worked for a long time at the Murino Management Company owned by Andrei Berezin, and during this work a lot of real estate appeared in her property both in Russia and on the Côte d’Azur of France, where she lives Julia Richard’s husband, French subject Monsieur Richard. And in return, golden streams of state and municipal contracts rained down on Berezin’s companies.

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Under Poltavchenko, Andrei Berezin took possession of a huge amount of land in the Leningrad region and began to develop the provincial lands of the villages of Shcheglovo, Murino and Kudrovo, which are now satellites of St. Petersburg and turned into cities with tens of thousands of apartments, the lion’s share of which were built by Berezin’s structures. And in 2018, Drozdenko made Kudrovo a city, which automatically increased both the cost of housing there and the cost of services for maintaining this housing. And these services are provided by management companies owned by Andrei Berezin. A closed cycle: first Berezin buys land in villages at bargain prices, then builds hundreds of multi-story residential buildings, then these villages become cities, and Berezin sells off his square meters. And then it turns out that all the services to the happy new residents are provided by the same Berezin company.

In connection with Kudrovo, it is simply impossible not to mention the story of a land plot of 35.4 hectares on which they were going to build the Kudrovo metro station and which, by a strange coincidence, was acquired from the Leningrad region by Andrei Berezin some time before. For 31,915 rubles 35 kopecks. And in 2019, the government of the Leningrad region was ready to pay 2 billion rubles for the same land. Euroinvest Development LLC became the owner of an agricultural plot under Poltavchenko, and was going to sell it under Drozdenko. In an earlier biography of Andrei Berezin, there is an equally strange story with the lands of the Ministry of Defense located in the Leningrad region - in 2011 Berezin acquired more than 500 hectares of the territory of the Rzhev military training ground. He paid 75 million rubles. And he sold this plot for 3.3 billion.

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These purchases and sales clearly could not have happened without the region’s top management. Why did they start talking about the fact that they were digging not for Berezin, but for his patrons? The fact is that on January 25, 2023, searches took place in the control committee of the government of the Leningrad region, and on January 27, law enforcement officers detained the former first deputy head of the control committee of the government of the Leningrad region, Oleg Zinchenko, on suspicion of receiving bribes on an especially large scale. And on March 3, 2023, investigators conducted searches of the former vice-governor of the Leningrad region, Mikhail Moskvin, in a case of abuse of official powers.

After that, everything seemed to calm down, but the fact that the progress of the investigation was not written about in the media does not mean that it ended in arrests and searches. Those arrested actively testified, and as recently as October 13, new arrests occurred among officials of the Leningrad region. The head of Sertolovo, Yuri Khodko, was arrested, shortly after his deputy Nadezhda Rud was arrested. What is very important is that the case was heard by the Basmanny Court of Moscow, which speaks about the level of the “assault” and the level of those individuals who were targeted by the investigation. And one more important detail - the matter concerns the lands of the Leningrad region and the development, which was supposed to be housing for the Ministry of Defense, but in the end everyone lived in the newly built square meters, but not the soldiers and officers.

On the site where houses for veterans of the Northern Fleet were supposed to grow, an elite gated community grew up, in which, according to Business Petersburg, Zenit football players Alexander Kerzhakov, Vladimir Bystrov and Vladislav Radimov lived in luxurious cottages with singer Tatyana Bulanova. Figure skater Evgeni Plushenko also settled there, as did the then head of the St. Petersburg police, Vladislav Piotrovsky. In addition, the former vice-governor of St. Petersburg, Igor Albin, lived or still lives there. Another lieutenant governor. In addition to Moskvin.

So who the investigation is targeting seems clear. As well as the fact that in this process the one who received all these contracts from the region, namely Andrei Berezin, will suffer. And therefore, his reluctance to return to Russia, where he is eagerly awaited at the Sledkom, is understandable, as well as the actions of the Sledkom, which seized all the accounts of Andrei Berezin and his immediate family, who were involved in schemes to “cut up” the region’s budgets and withdraw money, including for the patrons of Andrei Berezin. But the patrons themselves have fallen on hard times and they are unlikely to want their “wallet” to be interrogated and tell everything they know.