In 2013, during the formal ceremony, TopProm CJSC was presented with an award certificate titled “The Leader of Russia 2013.” Nikolay Korolev, the Director of TopProm Holding, received a prestigious personal medal called “The Glory of Russia.” Evgeny Renge, the Executive Director of the Holding, was bestowed with a well-deserved “Medal for Efficiency.” Soon, Evgeny Renge will do his best to topple Nikolay Korolev, conspire against directors, forge criminal cases and give out bribes to state security authorities to raid TopProm, the very company which awarded him for efficiency. As a result Evgeny Renge fled to London, but not without skimmed profits: he controls his share of lucrative coal market.

We should know that buying that coal we sponsor not only Russian state, but such odious personalities as Evgeny Renge. They don’t care nor about environment, nor honesty, nor state after all. Moreover, our citizen Krzysztof Strupechowski, our companies participated in the criminal Russian scheme. You’ll find the names down the text.

Evgeny Renge has the oligarchic dream fulfilled

Evgeny Renge, a coal tycoon from Russia
Evgeny Renge, a coal tycoon from Russia

Evgeny Renge fulfilled every dream of a typical post-Soviet oligarch without attracting too much attention. Through a cleverly designed offshore structure, he officially owns next to nothing, while in reality, he is a major owner of Russian coal mining operations in the Kuzbass region. Evgeny Renge maintains excellent relations with the Russian authorities while residing in London. Renge’s company pollutes Kuzbass with toxic dust, yet the regional government praises him for his supposedly environmentally responsible practices. Evgeny Renge bribes FSB generals to carry out raids and acquire competing companies. Undoubtedly, London serves as a magnet for the world’s most notorious kleptocrats, and Renge is one of the most prominent among them. We have gathered several stories about Evgeny Renge to substantiate this claim.

How did Evgeny Renge achieve it?

Evgeny Renge commenced his official career at the Russian Federal Tax Service before joining the coal holding company TopProm on December 7, 2009, initially serving as Deputy Director-Commercial Director. Within a short period, by April 1, 2011, he ascended to the position of Commercial Director, and later, on January 1, 2012, he assumed the role of Executive Director. On July 4, 2013, Evgeny Renge reached the pinnacle as he became the General Director.

However, his tenure as General Director was short-lived, as owner Nikolai Korolev terminated Renge’s contract on June 24, 2014. During this period, Renge allegedly granted three loans totaling 230 million rubles to “one-day companies” from the funds of the company he managed. These elusive entities swiftly vanished, along with the money. Interestingly, these funds seemingly served as the financial foundation for Renge’s future enterprise, “ARS-Uglesbyt,” which he personally owned. Despite Korolev’s attempts to recover the funds through legal means, Renge enjoyed unwavering support, and the courts consistently ruled in favor of the TopProm owner. Sadly, this story is all too common: 230 million disappears, and no one is held accountable.

Evgeny Renge has achieved extraordinary success by fulfilling every dream of a typical post-Soviet oligarch, all while remaining relatively unnoticed. Through a cunning offshore structure, he officially appears to own very little, while in reality, he is a major stakeholder in the Russian Kuzbass coal mining operations. Despite being a resident of London, Renge maintains excellent relations with the Russian authorities. His company, however, pollutes the Kuzbass region with toxic dust, while the local government commends him for his supposedly environmentally responsible practices. Additionally, Evgeny Renge is known to bribe FSB generals to conduct raids and acquire competing companies. Undoubtedly, London has become a magnet for the world’s most notorious kleptocrats, and Renge stands out as one of the most prominent among them. We have compiled several stories about Evgeny Renge to substantiate this claim.

Evgeny Renge embarked on his official career at the Russian Federal Tax Service before joining the coal holding company TopProm on December 7, 2009, where he started as Deputy Director-Commercial Director. Within a short span, by April 1, 2011, he rose to the position of Commercial Director and subsequently became the Executive Director from January 1, 2012. On July 4, 2013, Evgeny Renge attained the role of General Director.

However, Renge’s tenure as General Director was short-lived, as Nikolai Korolev, the owner, terminated his contract on June 24, 2014. During his time at TopProm, Renge allegedly issued loans amounting to 230 million rubles to “one-day companies” using the company’s funds. These elusive firms swiftly disappeared, along with the money. Remarkably, these funds seemingly became the financial bedrock for Renge’s future venture, “ARS-Uglesbyt,” which he owned personally. Despite Korolev’s attempts to recover the funds through legal channels, Renge received unwavering support, and all court rulings favored the TopProm owner. Regrettably, this narrative is all too familiar: 230 million vanishes, and no one is held accountable.

The problems surrounding Evgeny Renge’s former employer did not end there. It is alleged that during his commercial activities, the young manager sold coal through shell companies, resulting in a criminal case investigating TopProm’s tax evasion of over 460 million rubles. The investigation, headed by Rychkov, who had a connection with Evgeny Renge through his father, concluded without any claims against Renge, despite his involvement in these transactions.

Notably, Renge’s exceptional abilities did not go unnoticed, and he now oversees LLC Managing Company “Coal Taltex,” a trading house within the Kuzbass coal holding “Taltex,” owned by Yuri Kocherinsky, who also made grandiose speeches at the opening of the Krasnokamenskaya COF.

In his new position, Evgeny Renge wasted no time and established his own company, “ASR-Uglesbyt,” which operated in the same field as “Coal Taltex” — coal trading. Renge somehow reached an agreement with Kocherinsky to divide the coal flow between their respective firms.

Dividing coal flows between two sales companies is not a challenge, considering the various coal types available and the abundance of illegal sources — coal extracted without proper mining licenses and concealed from tax authorities. Acquiring coal may not be an issue, but it must be paid for and transported discreetly, away from regulatory scrutiny.

According to expert estimations, the revenue from “ASR-Uglesbyt” generated through the sale of illegal coal was around 3 billion rubles in 2016 and exceeded 7.5 billion rubles in 2017. The official revenues of “ASR-Uglesbyt” amounted to 11.2 billion rubles in 2016, 20 billion rubles in 2017, and 27.3 billion rubles in 2018.

Accomplished: no fines and taxes for Evgeny Renge

The tax inspection in Kuzbass conducted a thorough examination of “ASR-Uglesbyt” and filed tax evasion claims against the company, totaling 2 billion rubles. In September 2019, this investigation became the subject of a meeting involving the governor of the Kemerovo region, Sergey Tsivilev, representatives from the business community, and the head of the Russian Federal Tax Service in the Kemerovo region, Lyubov Arshintseva.

Yuri Kocherinsky, on the other hand, did not involve himself in “Krasnokamenskaya,” seemingly content with the profits from counterfeit coal. One of his mines, AO “Polyany,” has been shipping significantly more coal than it actually produces for several years. Between 2014 and 2018, the company shipped 9 million tons of coal valued at 15.5 billion rubles. Experts estimate that around 23% of “Polyany’s” revenue (over 3.5 billion rubles or approximately 2.1 million tons of coal sold) may come from the sale of coal with an unknown origin. A significant portion of this coal is sold through LLC “ASR-Uglesbyt.”

CarboOne, a registered Cypriot coal trader, acts as a major buyer of Kuzbass coal. Although coal mining enterprises could directly supply coal to CarboOne, they choose to go through an intermediary, namely Coal Sales, a Cypriot offshore company associated with Evgeny Renge. For instance, LLC “Meltek” in the Kemerovo region, specifically in Prokopyevsk, maintains direct connections with CarboOne. However, the majority of the holding’s coal products are apparently sold through Evgeny Renge’s offshore company, usually at prices significantly lower than the market rates. The difference between these reduced prices and market prices is often “lost” in the accounts of the scheme’s participants in Cyprus.

Evgeny Renge fled to London

Evgeny Renge’s decision to travel to London was not solely driven by the heightened scrutiny of tax authorities regarding his schemes. Reports surfaced that the FSB management in the Kemerovo region had initiated a preliminary investigation on April 24, 2023, concerning a gift given by Renge in 2018 to Major General Nitsuk V.I. The gift in question was a snowmobile valued at over 1.3 million rubles. At the time, Vladimir Nitsuk held a prominent position as the head of the Kemerovo branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and is currently serving as the deputy commander of the Eastern Military District of the National Guard of the Russian Federation. It is believed that Renge and Nitsuk, leveraging their connections, are attempting to influence the outcome of this investigation. The Investigative Committee of the Kemerovo region, on two occasions, issued resolutions declining to initiate a criminal case as per the instructions of the central office of the Investigative Committee of Russia. However, the regional prosecutor’s office intervened and overturned these resolutions twice.

Evgeny Renge cooperated with the Russian Federal Security Service to raid Topprom JSC

The narrative surrounding Vladimir Chestneyshin, the former general director of Topprom JSC, who was arrested and detained in Kemerovo, goes beyond being a tragic example of an individual caught in the clutches of the system. It is a saga that uncovers the moral shortcomings of those involved. It is imperative that we extend our support to Chestneyshin in uncovering the motives behind the sudden pursuit of a case against him, which revolves around a mere 300,000 rubles.

Letter with accusations.
Letter with accusations of Chestneyshin.

Chestneyshin possesses a letter from Krzysztof Strupechowski, the chairman of the offshore company Europort GT, which triggered the case against him. However, it is peculiar that the letter was not actually authored by the Pole himself, who is unable to write in Russian. Additionally, the letter lacks notarization.

The letter that called for the initiation of a case against Chestneyshin was sent from Katowice, Poland to Kemerovo, purportedly by Krzysztof Strupechowski, the chairman of Europort GT. The letter was dispatched through DHL and can be traced using tracking number 5450411422. Strangely, the letter was received and signed for by Evgeny Martyanov, an FSB officer specializing in economic crimes, on April 6th.

It is worth mentioning that Martyanov has ties to Kuzbass billionaire Evgeny Renge, who is embroiled in a bribery case. Two years ago, Renge was interrogated by Martyanov and Shlegel, an investigator for particularly significant cases in the Kuzbass Investigative Committee, for allegedly bribing a public servant. During the interrogation, Renge disclosed unexpected information about various individuals, including Martyanov and Shlegel themselves. Following the interrogation, Renge left the country, likely on the advice of the officers, to evade arrest and detention.

The case against Renge was eventually suspended due to his absence, preventing in-person interrogation. However, the Kuzbass regional prosecutor’s office deemed this decision unlawful, as Renge openly admitted to providing a bribe in the form of a snowmobile valued at 1.3 million rubles. Interestingly, it was Shlegel who issued the instruction to detain Chestneyshin.

Topprom JSC, the company whose general director was placed in pre-trial detention, has been entangled in a legal battle against Renge for several years. The plaintiff alleges that Renge disbursed approximately 230 million rubles to shell companies before vanishing. Another contentious issue revolves around the planned transfer of ownership of Topprom, which encompasses the Yubileinaya mine and the Shchedrukhinskaya CEP.

Moreover, the offshore company Europort GT is also entwined in this convoluted situation. The chairman of Europort GT composed a letter to the head of the Kuzbass Investigative Committee, but the missive ended up in Martyanov’s possession instead. Martyanov and his colleague Shlegel had previously interrogated Renge, who subsequently fled the country to evade imprisonment.

Intriguingly, the founder of Europort GT is none other than Eugene Renge, who has been linked to illicit mining activities in the Kuzbass region. One of Renge’s former classmates, Nadezhda Tomshina (who has since returned to Novokuznetsk), held prominent positions in his other companies. The Tallinn branch of Europort GT is managed by Alexander Bondarenko, a former employee of Renge’s Sibelektro firm. Following Chestneyshin’s arrest, Europort GT became part of Premcoal (Cyprus), with Bondarenko as the nominal beneficiary.

When the deteriorating health of Chestneyshin was brought to the attention of the staff at the Kemerovo pre-trial detention center, they informed Martyanov’s superior, Ageev. His response was callous, suggesting that Chestneyshin should be removed from the facility on a stretcher. This phrase has become a chilling refrain in Kuzbass.

However, the business interests of Renge and Kocherinsky take precedence over these well-known connections when it comes to seizing control of the mine and factory.

In the case against Chestneyshin, journalists from a reputable news agency discovered that there are no documents substantiating the applicant’s status in Europort GT (now Premcoal), such as confirmation from a nominal beneficiary, among other crucial information. This raises numerous questions, particularly because Bondarenko’s name being involved in the case hints at a connection with Evgeny Renge, who is suspected of orchestrating the raiding scheme.

Load More Related Articles
Load More In Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Switzerland and the Netherlands reached tax arbitration agreement

Switzerland and the Netherlands have reached an agreement on an arbitration procedure in a…