Пятница, 01 декабря 2023 12:10

3-star hotelier Igor Lebedev and Grishaeva

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In April of last year, Russian tour operators, in response to US sanctions, proposed blocking the most popular online hotel booking service, Booking.com, in Russia. One of the few government representatives who defended the platform was the deputy and son of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Igor Lebedev.

"Why is no one suggesting to ban Boeing in Russia? Probably because even the most ruthless tour operators and officials understand that in that case, the aviation transport market in the country would disappear. But banning Booking.com, which, thanks to its coverage, prevents hotels from raising prices, is perfectly fine," protested the elected official at the time.

It might seem unrelated for Deputy Lebedev to be concerned about a foreign hotel aggregator. However, as "Baza" has discovered, the Vice-Speaker of the State Duma was defending the commercial interests of his family. The parliamentarian and his close relatives have long been involved in business in Spain.

The investigation by "Baza" delves into the real estate managed by the family of Deputy Igor Lebedev in Barcelona, Altea, and Ibiza, as well as why he keeps his young wife hidden and does not declare her income.

Episode 1

Their People in Altea The town of Altea in the Spanish province of Alicante is nestled at the foot of the Sierra de Bernia mountain range, which locals liken to a dragon frozen in stone. In the middle of the last century, artists and musicians settled here, and today it is a popular upscale resort where affluent tourists from around the world, including Russia, flock to. The charms of Altea have long appealed to the family of LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

According to the commercial registry of Spain, in 2007, a property management company named Go Evolution International 21 SL was registered in Altea. Its registered capital in 2012 amounted to 2.8 million euros, with assets valued at 4.5 million euros. This company owns apartments with an area of 133 square meters in the upscale residential complex Villa Gadea, located almost on the Mediterranean coast. Apartments of this size in the complex typically cost around 400,000 euros.

Russian politicians rarely register property in their own names or that of their relatives, often preferring to use legal entities. It appears that Igor Lebedev followed a similar path.

The ownership of Go Evolution International 21 SL is unknown, but according to the commercial registry, one of its authorized representatives since November 2009 shared the same name as Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s son. He held the position of an apoderado, which allows him to conduct transactions on behalf of the company, such as buying real estate or entering into credit agreements.

Igor Lebedev represented the company’s interests until October 2015, even though he had been included in the EU’s sanctions list in September 2014 due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

One might assume that there was a mix-up (but there wasn’t) and that it was not the Russian parliamentarian but rather his namesake who was involved in managing the Spanish company. After all, the Lebedevs are not uncommon in Russia.
                                                                         

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However, the surnames of almost all the individuals managing Go Evolution International 21 SL curiously coincide with the surnames of people close to the Vice-Speaker. For example, from April to June of last year, the sole director of the company was Galina Lebedeva — the same name as Igor Lebedev’s 72-year-old mother.

What’s even more intriguing is that the management of the company later shifted from Galina Lebedeva to Daniil Bondar and Sergey Chalyshev. The former became the company’s director, while the latter, like Igor Lebedev once did, held the position of an authorized representative. Both individuals are familiar to the Vice-Speaker.

Sergey Chalyshev has been heading Igor Lebedev’s secretariat in the State Duma since 2016, and the "acting" prefix was removed from his title only in July 2018, just a month after he became one of the managers of the Spanish company.

To gauge the closeness between Chalyshev and the Vice-Speaker’s family, consider the following detail: Galina Lebedeva owns a construction company in Sochi called "Rarity." This company is registered in the prestigious Barcelona Park business-class residential complex at address No. 59 on Kurortny Prospekt. At the same address, even in the same apartment No. 28, another company is registered — "Barcelona City," owned by Sergey Chalyshev’s wife, Natalia.

Another manager of Go Evolution International 21 is also a familiar figure to Lebedev. Daniil Bondar is a producer, documentary filmmaker, owner of the "Fin-Art Group" studio, and an enthusiast of motorcycle travel. The titles of his works, such as "Sketch ¾," "Madness of Paradise," and "November 16 of the Mercy Era," may not be familiar to the wider public. In the past, Bondar was involved in political PR, which may have connected him with Igor Lebedev, who is very proud of his friendship with the director.

This friendship with Lebedev brings excellent dividends to Bondar. According to the financial reports of the LDPR published on the Central Election Commission’s website, in 2017, Daniil Bondar, as an individual entrepreneur, received approximately 164 million rubles from the Liberal Democratic Party for placing advertising and informational materials. Based on the LDPR’s financial reports, the Moscow-based director received payments from the party almost monthly. Furthermore, the LDPR’s total income for 2017 amounted to approximately one billion rubles, and 97% of these funds came from the state budget. In essence, Bondar received public funds from Lebedev’s party. And he received a substantial amount. Over five years, his individual entrepreneurship earned 830 million rubles from its contacts with the LDPR.

There is little doubt that Igor Lebedev himself was involved in the management of the Spanish company Go Evolution International 21 SL. However, as "Baza" has discovered, the firm in Altea and the apartments registered to it are not the only things that Vice-Speaker is concealing.
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Episode 2

Spanish "Rublevka" At the foot of the Sierra de Bernia mountain, in the same Altea, lies the elite cottage settlement of "Altea Hills." It’s like the "Spanish Rublevka." Realtors describe "Altea Hills" as a dream for city dwellers, a place that "invites solitude and tranquility" and "knows how to protect the private lives of its owners."

Near the very top of the mountain range on Norway Street, there is a magnificent villa with a total area of 461 square meters. This three-story mansion features a terrace, a small garden, and its own swimming pool, offering an excellent view of the Mediterranean coast.

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According to the Spanish cadastral registry, the villa and the 800-square-meter plot belong to the company Inaugural SL, which is managed by familiar individuals. From April to June 2018, it was owned by the mother of the Vice-Speaker of the State Duma, Galina Lebedeva, and from June onwards, it came under the management of Daniil Bondar and Sergey Chalyshev.

The registered capital of the company amounts to 3.3 million euros. Most likely, this is the estimated value of the villa, which was declared as the contribution to Inaugural SL’s registered capital. Similarly priced mansions with similar dimensions are also listed for sale in the same area.

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Episode 3 

The Lebedevs’ Hotel Business The interests of the Vice-Speaker of the State Duma’s family in Spain go beyond just villas and apartments. In the autumn of 2016, 72-year-old Galina Lebedeva founded the company Spanish Destiny Invest SL, which has been managing the registered tourist company Areir SA in Barcelona since 2017.

According to records from the Spanish land registry, the latter owns the three-star Hotel Azul on one of the main avenues of Barcelona, Gran Vía. This hotel has a total of 22 rooms and receives high ratings and numerous positive reviews from tourists worldwide on Booking.com, the platform that Lebedev defended vigorously.

In 2017, the hotel, based on financial reports, generated earnings of 144,000 euros, which is approximately 11 million rubles. The value of the hotel itself is likely no less than 14.5 million euros, the amount that appears in the "equity" column of Spanish Destiny Invest SL’s financial documents.

Additionally, in early January 2018, Galina Lebedeva became the founder of another company, Hotels Europe Daniella Invest SL, which, through its subsidiary Agua Azul SL, owns the three-star Azuline Hotel — Apartamento Rosamar in one of the most vibrant locations on Earth, Ibiza.

However, within less than half a year, Hotels Europe Daniella Invest SL changed ownership. Instead of the mother of the Vice-Speaker, it was taken over by 29-year-old former professional basketball player, who once played for Moscow’s Dynamo and the Russian national team, Nadia Grishaeva. According to the Spanish press, the Olympic Games participant in London invested 7.4 million euros in the company.

At the end of December 2018, Grishaeva also took the helm of another company with a similar name, Hotels Europe Marcello Invest SL, which is engaged in real estate management.

Several details suggest that the athlete is well acquainted with the family of the LDPR leader. For instance, in Russia, according to the "SPARK-Interfax" database, in the summer of 2017, Nadia Grishaeva founded a car rental company called "Destiny." However, six months later, in January 2018, the new owner of the company became Galina Lebedeva, the mother of the Vice-Speaker of the State Duma.

As mentioned earlier, in Sochi, the Vice-Speaker’s mother owns a construction company called "Rarity," which is registered on the ground floor of the prestigious residential complex "Barcelona Park" at No. 59 Kurortny Prospekt. In the autumn and winter of 2018, Nadia Grishaeva purchased several apartments with areas of 276 and 597 square meters in this residential complex.

The former basketball player seems to have a close relationship with the parliamentarian himself. Photographers from the "Sputnik" agency captured them together at a friendly match between Russia and Chile in the summer of 2017, and "Baza" found several of their joint photographs on social media.

What connects the young athlete Nadia Grishaeva with the Vice-Speaker of the State Duma and his family?
 

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Hotel Acta Azul Barcelona

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Hotel-Apartments Rosamar

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Episode 4

The Secret Wife In April 2018, Igor Lebedev celebrated the birth of his third son. As reported by the media, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who had become a grandfather for the ninth time, offered the parents of the baby a choice of three names: Timofey, Trofim, and Nikifor. However, no one paid attention to a crucial detail in the congratulations: Igor Lebedev’s 2017 income declaration made no mention of his wife and her income. On his Facebook page, his marital status is still listed as "single." It is widely known that the first wife of the deputy, Lyudmila, gave him two twin sons, Alexander and Sergey. But he had long since divorced her, so who gave Lebedev his third son?

According to "Baza," in August 2016, the Kutuzovsky Registry Office in Moscow registered the marriage of Lebedev to former basketball player from Dynamo Moscow and the Russian national team, Nadia Grishaeva.

Where and under what circumstances they met remains a mystery. Perhaps the Vice-Speaker of the State Duma saw her on television. The athlete appeared twice on the First Channel’s shows, "Fashion Verdict" in 2013 and "Let’s Get Married" in 2014. In the latter, the attractive blonde openly spoke about her romance with a married man. Nadia revealed that at the age of 19, she fell in love with a 49-year-old Spaniard. Despite infrequent meetings, their relationship lasted nearly five years. However, Grishaeva insisted that she never aimed to date men significantly older than herself (the age difference between Lebedev and Grishaeva is more than 15 years).

"At 24, I dreamed of winning an Olympic medal in London, but it didn’t quite work out for us. I will do everything in my power to become a medalist in Brazil," the basketball player passionately declared. However, her dreams of making it to the Olympics were never realized— the Russian national team did not qualify for the summer Olympics in Rio. Moreover, Nadia was shifting her focus away from professional sports.
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In the spring of 2016, the deputy and the former basketball player welcomed a daughter, and last year, a boy, the ninth grandchild of the LDPR leader. The names of the children are known to "Baza," but out of ethical considerations, we will not mention them here. One hint: the parents decided that their children’s names should be incorporated into the names of some Spanish companies. However, it wasn’t Timofey, Trofim, or Nikifor, as suggested by Vladimir Volfovich.

For two years, Lebedev and Grishaeva did not publicize their marriage, and there were no mentions that the model and ex-basketball player became the mother of the Vice-Speaker’s two children.

The marriage between Igor Lebedev and the young and beautiful athlete explains why the mother of the Vice-Speaker handed over the hotel in Ibiza to her. It turns out that Lebedev violated the law "On the Status of a Member of the Federation Council and the Status of a Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation," which prohibits deputies and their wives from owning so-called foreign financial instruments, including Grishaeva’s company, which owns a hotel in Ibiza.

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According to the same law on the status of State Duma deputies, Lebedev was obligated to declare the assets and income of his new spouse in his 2017 declaration. And Grishaeva indeed has assets to declare. According to Rosreestr (the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre, and Cartography), a few months after their wedding in December 2016, the basketball player purchased a luxurious apartment in a new building on Nezhinskaya Street near Kutuzovsky Avenue. These apartments have a total area of 117 square meters and a cadastral value estimated at 36.5 million rubles, which is roughly equivalent to what Igor Lebedev, according to his declaration, earned throughout 2017.

Nezhinskaya Street is well-known to the family of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Galina and Igor Lebedev once owned three four-story apartments, each with an area of 328 square meters, in buildings #3 and #4 of house #14 on this street. Until recently, the mother of the Vice-Speaker headed the housing owners’ association "Gorodok ‘Nadezhny’" registered on this street. All three of these apartments, along with another apartment measuring nearly 200 square meters on Tverskaya Street, are currently owned by the company "Telmi." Igor Lebedev founded this company in 2002, and since 2015, it has been owned by the Cypriot offshore company "Hargeu Holding Limited."

P.S. In 2014, Alexey Navalny, the head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), accused the Vice-Speaker of purchasing a 86 million ruble apartment in Dubai, which he did not declare. Despite concrete evidence (Lebedev’s foreign passport was attached to the sales contract), the deputy managed to avoid any consequences. He dismissed all accusations as nonsense and provocation, and the matter was dropped.

In the case of Igor Lebedev’s Spanish assets and those of his family, we have little hope for adherence to the law or a clear reaction from the State Duma. This is despite the Vice-Speaker having violated three points of the law "On the Status of a Member of the Federation Council and the Status of a Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation." Documents and records from official registries prove that while serving as a State Duma deputy, Igor Lebedev managed business activities abroad, and his spouse, whose income he did not declare, owns a hotel in Spain.

All of this should serve as the basis for a parliamentary investigation and a review by the Prosecutor General’s Office. If the facts presented by "Baza" are confirmed, it should lead to the subsequent removal of Vice-Speaker Igor Lebedev from his parliamentary mandate. Alongside Lebedev, the head of his secretariat, Sergey Chalyshev, should also resign. By managing businesses associated with the Vice-Speaker’s family, Chalyshev has violated the law on state civil service.




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