Alexei Navalny, the leading opposition candidate in the Moscow mayoral race, has been extremely critical of incumbent Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. Sobyanin, who claims to make less money than many of his deputies, has been accused by Navalny of spending much more each year than he reportedly makes. Furthermore, Navalny has recently been blogging about Sobyanin’s daughter Anna Sergeyevna Sobyanina, and how she both lives an extravagant lifestyle but her company has also outfitted many government offices with luxury furniture. The company that is partly owned by Sobyanina claims in this translation that the mayor’s daughter is receiving far too much attention. However, Navalny has published in his livejournal evidence of yet another extravagant piece of property outfitted by Anna Sobyanina’s company.
Also see our original translation of Navalny’s first post about Anna Sobyanina. – Ed.
According to the CEO of the Forus Group, the company has never filled a single order for the Presidential Administration, and won only one tender in Khanty-Mansiysk.
The CEO of the Forus Group, partly owned by the daughter of the Acting Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, commented on the activities of the company and its participation in tenders. On Tuesday, Alexei Navalny, a candidate for mayor of the capital, found luxury real estate and profitable business owned by the older daughter of the Acting Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin. He wrote in his blog that working with open data he had found out that Anna Sobyanina was a major supplier of furniture for government offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Khanty-Mansiysk. As pointed out by the blogger, Sobyanina’s firm, Forus Group, had been awarded only one contract for furniture supply, but provided for many more locations, including the Defense Ministry buildings and key communications facilities. Navalny also found out that Anna Sobyanin’s apartment in St. Petersburg is worth 4 times more than her family income for ten years.
“Real estate, property and income of our founders are a matter of their private life… As for the information on the Internet about the activities of the Forus Group, please be informed, that it is misrepresented, the facts are distorted, taken out of context and exaggerated,” states a letter from the CEO Vitaly Ionin posted on the website of the company.
Ionin further states, that the company has been in business since 2007. Back then it specialized in solutions for finishing and manufacturing furniture for country houses. The company began to cooperate with Anna Sobyanina at about the same time, specifies Ionin. At that time she was a student at the St. Petersburg Stieglitz State Art and Industry Academy. “In 2010, after several years of successful collaboration, we established our own company, bringing together the professionals, the expertise and the experience gained. Anna took charge of the design arm,” says the letter.
The CEO of Forus Group emphasizes that 80% of customers are private individuals and companies, and the company has never filled a single order for the Presidential Administration: “The first so-called government order was completed in 2010: the general contractor from St. Petersburg ordered our product to furnish several offices in the Ministry of Defense building.” The furniture brand “Rosinterio” was created in 2010, added Ionin.
He added that “the media paid too much media attention to the projects implemented in Khanty-Mansiysk: We managed to win only one tender out of four, in which we directly participated.”
After Navalny’s publication, the Forus Group company’s website was unavailable for some time, but in his blog the candidate for the Mayor of Moscow published a screenshot of the “About Us” section of the site. It said that the Forus Group, LLC works in the areas of designing, construction and renovation of public and administrative buildings, and manufactures furniture and home furnishings. Navalny also published information and photos from the “Objects” section and found out that the company was involved in the reconstruction of buildings and offices in administrative agencies. “The interests of Anna Sobyanina’s company extend only to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Khanty-Mansiysk. And they only cover government facilities,” wrote Navalny. He also gave a list of the facilities: the Russian President’s conference room, the dedicated government ILD station unit, the Ministry of Defense reception house, the conference room in the Ministry of Defense headquarters, as well as the engineering and service complex in Khanty-Mansiysk.
Once the Forus Group website was up again, it appeared that there had been some changes. Administration of the Khanty-Mansiysk region, where Sobyanin once worked, had disappeared from the list of customers. Also gone were some of the facilities the company supplied, such as the administrative building and the engineering and service complex in Khanty-Mansiysk. If you try to find those following links, you get the message “The object is hidden”. At that time the Forus Group did not answer the question about what was happening to their site and whether it had something to do with Navalny’s publication.
Vedomosti managed to find out that Sobyanina gets help from St. Petersburg and Tyumen businessmen. Herself, Sergei Ionin, and Vyacheslav Kalashnikov own each 33.33% of the Forus Group.
(Vedomosti) Editor’s Choice (in Russian – Ed.)
- Sobyanin’s son-in-law said that he bought his St. Petersburg apartment with his own money
- Navalny: It turns out Sobyanin’s older daughter is a major supplier of furniture for government offices
- Navalny: Sobyanin’s daughter apartment is worth 6 times the annual income of the family
- VEDOMOSTI — «We skip 3-4 steps, sometimes even taking some risks», — Sergei Sobyanin, the Acting Mayor of Moscow, running for Mayor of Moscow