How Boris Lozhkin and Gleb Zagoriy Earn on Sins and Compassion
Unhealthy Excitement of Kosmolot: Boris Lozhkin and Gleb Zagoriy Earn on Gambling Business and Funds to Help Sick Children
What makes Boris Lozhkin and the farm mafia Gleb Zagory famous? As a former media magnate and a failed reformer, he became the gray cardinal of money laundering schemes through underground casinos and sick children’s funds. Gleb Zagoriy is known for attempting to compete in the farm market and owning a network of underground casinos with his partner Tretyakov.
While government officials are telling how Ukraine is confidently moving toward a brighter European future, the number of illegal gambling halls and pawnshops is growing on the streets. And near each supermarket, allegedly volunteers urge to donate money to the fund to help sick children, who in the end do not receive even a third of the collected amounts.
Fake Patron Boris Lozhkin
In a word, Ukrainians are prone to attempted theft at every corner, and the last “hard-earned money” methodically flows into the pockets of government officials. After all, only power gives unlimited opportunities for making money in a country where, until now, it is not the democratic laws that govern, but the laws of the Wild West.
And what is the easiest way to make money? Of course, it is very easy to use human weaknesses such as passion, thirst for easy money, pity, compassion.
In the past, the owner of the media empire and the head of the presidential administration of Ukraine, and today the investor and philanthropist, the founder of his own charitable foundation, are engaged in these and other equally profitable, but not quite decent things.
The Birth of the Media Empire UMH
Boris Lozhkin began as a simple journalist in the popular Kharkiv newspaper “Vecherny Kharkov”. At the end of 1990, having gained experience in the media field, he opened his own edition of ATV, and 4 years later he created Telenedelya. The newspaper has become mega-popular not only in Ukraine but also in the CIS. In Russia, Telenedelya of Boris Lozhkin had 20 regional branches, and the general audience of the publication exceeded 5 million people. By 2000, he earned money with the help of several other mass media, among which were Ukrainian versions of Russian newspapers:
- “Arguments and Facts”,
- “Komsomolskaya Pravda”,
- “Sovershenno Secretno”,
- “Express newspaper”
- “Football magazine”.
All these publications were merged at United Media Holding. Over the next 10 years, it includes dozens of resources, including popular Ukrainian and Russian radio stations, as well as the newspapers of the Surkis brothers “The Team” and “Kievskie Vedomosti”.
Boris Lozhkin and Petro Poroshenko: Profitable Partnership
In 2011, Boris Lozhkin met the future president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who sells him a 50% stake in Radio 5 – it was unprofitable, but with wide coverage. An enterprising Lozhkin manages to create a popular project “Retro FM” on the basis of a radio station. In 2010, partners buy assets of another media holding KR Media and become co-owners of such popular online publications as korrespondent.net, bigmir.net, i.ua, tochka.net.
It is noteworthy that the position of the executive director of the new education was taken by Jed Sunden, the immediate founder and former owner of KR Media, and Igor Mazepa, and an investment company Concord Capital acted as advisor to the deal. Remember these two names, we will return to them in the future. In 2013, Lozhkin bought Poroshenko’s stake in Retro FM and Next radio stations. But the share of Peter Alekseevich still remains in the magazine “Correspondent” and “Nashe Radio”.
Apparently, businessmen already then suspected something about the upcoming Maidan and future relations with the Russian Federation, once they decided to promptly get rid of the Russian trace in their business. Although the title of laureate of the “Best Media Manager of Russia” award 2013, which was awarded to Boris Lozhkin for “contribution to the development of the media in Ukraine and strengthening good neighborly relations between the two countries”, has already been canceled, it is impossible to delete it from the biography.
But only the lazy one does not know how carefully the journalistic activities in Russia are supervised by special services, especially when more than 60 million people use your media resources. Simply put, Boris Lozhkin worked directly with the FSB. He could not refuse a lucrative deal to sell UMH three times as much as its real value.
The “Deal of the Century”: The Timely Sale of UMH
Sergey Kurchenko, an oligarch close to the Yanukovich family, acquired UMH for $400 million. For comparison, the Washington Post edition is estimated at $120 million.
And everything would be okay, well, a billionaire could afford it, you say, and you will be wrong. The fact is that Kurchenko allegedly did not have enough to secure a deal of 160 million, which he took out a loan from … the state bank Ukreksimbank and, as you guessed correctly, did not return. Moreover, it was planned to complete the transaction in 2014, but the process was accelerated, with the help of Mr. Mazepa and his Concord Capital, which we already know. This haste was beneficial to Boris Lozhkin, since after the “revolution of dignity” the price of the holding’s assets dropped significantly.
Boris Lozhkin and Igor Mazepa
This raises a reasonable question, what or who inspired Kurchenko to acquire the UMH Group? Yes, in fact, Boris Lozhkin himself provoked this by compromising the vertical of Yanukovich’s power in his media and thereby provoking an ambitious young oligarch to buy out an uncontrolled resource. The deal was prepared very carefully, for 8 months, and about how to turn it for Ukrainian taxpayers’ money, Sergey Kurchenko and Mazepa talked out somewhere, because the prosecutor’s office became interested in the results of the sale, and the case itself got a loud resonance.
From Reformers to Patrons
But this will happen later, a year after Petro Poroshenko, who has just assumed the position of president, will appoint Boris Lozhkin as head of his administration, opening up new opportunities for him to receive big profits.
Commenting on his appointment, Lozhkin stated with the pathos that he was taking office “because of a surge of patriotism” and to be a support to the President. The level of patriotism ended two years later, the personnel policy and reforms in public procurement did not bring Lozhkin dividends and glory, rather, on the contrary, ended in failure, and in 2016 Petro Poroshenko dismissed the head of administration. However, he did not let go far away from himself and made him secretary of the National Investment Council, which he headed.
Lozhkin’s support did not weaken until 2018, until the meeting of the businessman with the odious oligarch and Poroshenko’s sworn enemy Igor Kolomoisky. There are rumors that after this acquaintance, he decided to leave the “sinking ship”.
The media business is not the only thing that interested Boris Lozhkin. His family owns shares in the largest chain of stores Luxoptika. And this is more than 100 opticians throughout Ukraine.
For example, part of Luxoptica Holding LLC is owned by Boris Lozhkin’s mother, Darisa Lozhkina, and Fira Iosifovna Shalomova, a relative of Boris Lozhkin’s wife, owns 15% of shares of Medtechnika PJSC.
Also in 2014, the head of the Presidential Administration established a charitable foundation that organizes auctions for the purchase of medical equipment for children’s hospitals, in particular, the Center for Pediatric Surgery and Cardiology under the direction of Ilya Yemets.
Patron Boris Lozhkin
It would seem a good thing, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The medical charity, supported by access to budget money, powerful people and administrative resources, is a very profitable business in Ukraine. In reality, hundreds of millions of hryvnias per year are earned on the supply of medical equipment.
But this is not so bad. It is worse when huge amounts are laundered under the guise of helping sick children.
Almost immediately after its foundation, the Boris Lozhkin Foundation takes custody of another charitable organization, “Tabletochki”, which supports and finances the treatment of children with cancer. In addition to the Lozhkin family, “Tabletochki” is also supported by the family of Gleb Zagoria, the owner of the pharmaceutical company Darnitsa and MP from the BPP faction.
The Board of Trustees of “Tabletochki” includes:
- Boris Lozhkin;
- wife of Gleb Zagoria Catherine;
- businesswoman Anna Sanden (judging by her last name, she is related to Jed Sanden, from whom Lozhkin bought KR Media),
- Evgeny Chernyak, a vodka tycoon, owner of the holding Global Spirits;
- Oksana Korchinskaya, head of the supervisory board of the Okhmatdet clinic;
- outrageous businessman, founder of the Charitable Foundation “Zhiznelub” Garik Korogodsky
- and Sergey Sviriba, managing partner of Asters Law Firm.
As we see, a rather heterogeneous company has gathered, with outstanding and even controversial personalities. But we will pay attention only to the first two names in the list, directly related to the medical business.
Analyzing the activities of the Charity Foundation “Tabletochki”, the fact that the foundation takes only custody of patients who are already in the official line of the Ministry of Health for funding is immediately striking. Of course, the money allocated by the state is not enough for the full course of treatment, for which the “Tabletochki” attract funds from outside. But in the end large amounts are collected, because, both the state and the fund transfer money. Where does the extra money go?
As explained in the organization, the excess amount, which sometimes amounts to millions of hryvnias, is transferred to the needs of the new patient, but it is almost impossible to track this process in the fund’s reports. Yes, why every time to collect money several times more than a particular child needs? It is curious that Konstantin Vaisman, the Chairman of the Board of the Ukrainian Branch of the Russian VTB Bank, was listed on the Board of Trustees of Tabletochki earlier. It can be assumed that the money from the Fund was laundered with its help, however, today the bank, as a legal entity, has been liquidated in Ukraine, which means that a new withdrawal channel has been found, not without the participation of Lozhkin and Zagoria.
Ukrainian Deception – the Lottery “Cosmolot”
As businessmen who can diversify risks, being in power in 2014, Gleb Zagoriy and Boris Lozhkin start earning not only in the medical business but also in gambling, namely, the national lottery. Unlike the leader of the radical party, Oleg Lyashko, who in a fantastic way managed to win several hundred thousand hryvnias in the lottery three times in a row, our businessmen earn by playing really big.
To date, the lottery market is divided by the two largest players – the company MSL (former Molodsportloto) and UNL – the Ukrainian national lottery. And if the first was seriously affected by the NSDC sanctions because of the Russian trace, then the second is successfully operating, occupying more than 60% of the market. Despite the fact that the gambling business, as such, is prohibited on the territory of Ukraine, premises with the inscription “Kosmolot”, which are the halls of classic slot machines licensed under the “UNL”, are being opened all over the country.
In addition, there is a site “Cosmolot”, which is positioned as a gaming club and a subsidiary of UNL, but in fact is an ordinary online casino, where people play for real money. Such a business brings huge profits, as millions of money just hang in the air, passing by the budget.
According to Nashi Groshy, the annual net profit of UNL from land clubs and the Kosmolot website, as well as various lotteries, amounts to 10 billion hryvnia, and the ultimate beneficiaries of the company are Boris Lozhkin, Gleb Zagoriy, and Alexander Tretyakov, a majoritarian deputy, which the media called the real owner of “UNL” and “Cosmolot.” Although the lottery is officially owned by British businessman Michael John Foggo. And here there is a number of interesting points.
Firstly, the very fact that the company the name of which has the word “national” is owned by a foreign citizen, is surprising and disliking.
Secondly, before the purchase of “UNL” by John Foggo, it was owned by a simple Ukrainian cycling coach of Ternopil Sports School Roman Zeno through Cyprus offshore. This begs the question, where does the sports school coach get that kind of money, and why does the “millionaire’s” mother sue the Pension Fund to recount the pension?
Thirdly, if you know what Mr. Foggo did before the purchase of UNL, the puzzle is even more accurate. The businessman headed the fiduciary firm, Churchill Fiduciaries Limited, which specialized in setting up companies for foreign clients and their trust management. That is, most likely, Foggo is the usual Zitz-chairman, and the real owner of UNL and Kosmolot casino is that notorious trinity of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and the former head of the President’s Administration.
Fourthly, in the framework of a recent visit to Kyiv as the new owner of UNL, for some reason, Foggo visits the Charity Fund “Tabletochki”. This is the one with whom philanthropists Boris Lozhkin and Gleb Zagoriy so closely cooperate.
But this is not the end. In the framework of the next draw of the “Kosmolot” lottery, the winner of the main prize in the amount of five hundred thousand UAH unexpectedly donates all the money … to “Tabletochki”. And this is not an auction of unprecedented generosity from the average Ukrainian but in fact simple money laundering from the banned gambling business through the charity fund for helping children. And this is the height of blasphemy.
By the way, Oleg Lyashko also pulled out his winning lottery tickets exactly in the “UNL”, but this is just like that, a few more words on the topic …
Well, apparently, such miracles will take place in our country for a long time, while the key processes will be managed by individuals like Boris Lozhkin. Although, everyone really wants to believe that the time of unhealthy excitement of making money for a sick and war-torn country will soon end.
In the meantime, city streets are ugly dazzled with new “Cosmolots” and pawnshops, and charitable foundations like “Tabletochki” earn from the credulity of good people who sincerely think that they give money for the treatment of children, and in fact replenish the pockets of such personalities as Lozhkin, Zagoria and other vultures.
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