On this day, «Menatep» was making a ‘smokescreen” in the “Apatit” case

On this day, «Menatep» was making a ‘smokescreen” in the “Apatit” case

Splitting up of a stock of shares of the industrial complex “Apatit”. Use of promissory notes’ scheme for “re-hanging” of shares to offshores. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 7, 2003.

On this day 19 years ago, on July 7, 2003, against the backdrop of the arrest of the head of the International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev on charges of misappropriation of the 20% stock of shares of the mining and processing plant “Apatit” in Murmansk, the Public Relations department of “Menatep” was making “smokescreen” around Lebedev’s criminal case.

“Lebedev P.L. is suspected of misappropriating, in 1994, 20% of shares of the OJSC “Apatit”, belonging to the state, to the amount of $283 million 142 thousand (Article 159, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation)”, reported on the eve the Office of the Prosecutor General, explaining investigative actions with regard to the billionaire-swindler. Yet, for “non-indifferent public” everything was still “unclear”. To guide “public thought” in the favorable for “Menatep” direction experts of this “public” were engaged. They accelerated tension and created fuss.

For instance, the president of the committee on economic policy and entrepreneurship of the Russian State Duma Grigori Tomchin said at a press-conference that “the controversial selling of the stock of shares of “Apatit” “is a problem of buyer, not seller” (under ‘seller” was understood here the state, whose stock of shares had been stolen fraudulently by Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal, and that was established by the court). And in general, in Tomchin’s words, “lawyers of “Menatep” took into account all traps of the state” during the privatization, and it will be impossible to take away this stock legally”.

Tomchin, a proponent of liberal market economy, without knowledge of all circumstances of the affair, intentionally or not, mislead the public. Nevertheless, at the end of 2005, the Federal Property Management Agency went to the law demanding “withdrawal to the state revenue the contested shares”. After a series of complex and prolonged arbitration proceedings, in 2009, 20% of the shares of “Apatit” were given back to the state. It’s like this that “technically impossible” return of the shares to the state turned out to be possible.


Describing “Tomchin’s fairy tales”, the newspaper “Kommersant” paid attention to an interesting detail, namely to the fact that “today (as of July 2003) the owner of the controversial stock of shares is the JSC “Russian Investors”. Apart from that, the newspaper pointed out that the documents withdrawn on the eve in the firm “M-Reestr” allow the Office of the Prosecutor General to get the answer to the question about what had been going on with 20% shares of the company “Apatit” since July 1, 1994. “The fact of the matter is that official reports of “Apatit” don’t provide an answer to the question, what has happened to them”, pointed out the news outlet.

It had to be said that the shares had travelled a winding road, as Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group, not wanting to give back the stolen shares and trying to cover its traces, dropped this stock of shares to third hands, to “conscientious buyers”. These turned out to be shell firms controllable by Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group. And then the shares were pumped downright to offshores.

In the materials of the court’s case, it was said directly: “the organized group headed by Khodorkovsky M.B., Lebedev P.L., and other members of the organized group, including Kraynov A.V., who understood that, in the end of the day, the ruling of the court that had become effective in law, would be carried out by the strength of the state, and organized finance operations as the result of which the shares of the OJSC “Apatit”, including the 20% stack of shares, became property of foreign companies”.

Concealment of affair by way of splitting the stock of shares

The formula of indictment with regard to Lebedev describes in detail the movement of the shares, which was established by the investigation. The stock was re-issued by way of splitting it and transferring these parts to shell commercial organizations controllable by it (by Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group); first these were the LLC “Nautilus” and LLC “Danaya”, and then the LLC “Geim”, CJSC “Annett”, LLC “Samotsvet” and LLC “Ring”.

Then it was needed to hide the fact that these shell firms were under control of Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group – sort of, “they are free economic entities”. And then intervened foreign “dumps”, like “Jamblic Limited”, Douglas, the Isle of Man”.

(See also the article “The history of blossom and funeral of the firm “Jamblick Limited” from The Isle of Man”).

In a word, they “transferred” the shares according to a scheme – doubled back, trying to cover their traces and to hide fraud. The purpose – “holding the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” under control of swindlers from Yukos and “Menatep”.


A thorny way of the stolen shares of the JSC “Apatit” was reconstructed by the investigation. According to the evidential base, Viktor Prokofyev had a hand in to the working out of the “itinerary list” had, who was a personal adviser and interpreter of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, and, concurrently, a representative of Vasily Shakhnovsky in Tax Services.

During the proceedings on Shakhnovsky’s case, the witness suffered from “memory lapses”. However, there was nothing in the “apatite” case to be reminded of – the documents found out by investigators were able to tell a lot.

In particular, quite informative was an official memo from September 3, 1998, from Prokofyev V.G. addressed to the vice-president of the Board Golubovich A.D., with copies being sent also to a number of addresses.

In this document, “Prokofyev V.G. proposes to guarantee transferring of the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” and other enterprises to accounts of companies on Cyprus, explaining that “it is important that “ready money” should come to these Cyprian holdings. Ideal would be a scheme with “re-hanging” of promissory notes. Letters of attorney for signing agreements on behalf of all Cyprian holdings are in the joint-venture “RTT”, but I would be grateful, if, before signing any documents (agreements, warrants, promissory notes, etc.) if they would be agreed upon with me.

Apart from that, after the whole scheme is complete, I ask to provide me with total lists and copies of all documents on these deals for making corresponding decisions by Cyprian directors”.

There is an appendix to this memo, the scheme of “re-hanging” of shares, from which it becomes clear that the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” are to be handed over to Cyprian companies, such as “Flotork Limited”, “Cordial Limited”, “Earl Limited”, “Rivard Holding Limited”. The investigation added to this documents and presented to the Meschansky District Court of Moscow proofs that the organized criminal group of Khodorkovsky “conducted active steps on “re-hanging” (transferring to possession) the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” to foreign companies”.

“And in all these murky schemes, though a chain of dummy companies, gray faces of fictitious directors, became visible the swindler Khodorkovsky and his “greedy” interest – to hide and to keep the stolen for himself”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, finance director of Yukos Bruce Misamore complained about taxes and destiny”. Billions of concealed taxes for 2002 and 2003. Bruce Misamore in wait for new tax shocks. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 6, 2004).

*On May 20, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of physical persons executing functions of a foreign agent.

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