Last week the Anti-Corruption Foundation published new investigation into a well-known Putin’s cook Evgeny Prigozhin. The ACF lawyers managed to prove that he created a cartel, and secured 23 billion rubles ($405 million) worth of government contracts through it. As of today, this is the largest cartel in the history of Russia, which has been discovered, and is currently the subject of investigation opened by the Anti-Monopoly Service.
Prigozhin created a number of supposedly independent firms that imitated competition, but in the end secured government contracts for the highest prices possible. A year and a half ago, while studying state procurement contracts the ACF stumbled upon a group of shell companies. They had consecutive license numbers which were given out within 1 day, were registered in adjacent offices and headed by the same people. ACF team collected all the evidence and submitted a petition to the Anti-Monopoly Service. The Service in turn commenced its own investigation and requested documents from the firms.
It turned out that all of these companies have the exact same IP address that belongs to the company registered in the name of Prigozhin’s mother. All of their official bidding documents were also identical, including extra spaces before commas and other mistakes. The huge stack of bank statements that the Service shared with the ACF showed the financial ties between Prigozhin’s companies and the Ministry of Defense organizations, which provided each other with credits.
The Criminal Code envisions a special punishment for cartel agreements, which entails up to six years in prison and giant fines. The Anti-Monopoly Service is supposed to make its ruling on Prigozhin today. “We really hope that it has enough courage to push the matter through, since the only thing left to do is to make a just decision” - Alexey Navalny.