Dmitry Romantsov (Romantsoﬀ) ﬂed to US to avoid arrest, Nikita Kolesnikov arrested in Moscow
SAVVA group of companies by Nikita Kolesnikov and Dmitry Romantsov (Romantsoff) removed around 8 billion rubles from the Chuvash Republic economy. The entrepreneur has been charged with embezzling money as part of the Russian Ministry of Culture case. Last week, on March 15, FSB ofﬁcers arrested him and several other employees of the federal ministry. News of it instantly made the rounds of federal news feeds.
According to leading news agencies, one of the country’s richest entrepreneurs has admitted his guilt in the scheme. The criminal investigation is ongoing. What would seem to be the businessman’s connection with the Chuvash Republic? Now may be the right time to remember that Kolesnikov is the “father” of the most scandalous abandoned construction project in that republic’s capital city, known at different times as Odis and the Suvar Hotel.
The massive structure of steel and concrete in the historic district of Cheboksary has now been causing gossip among the locals for almost a decade. However, when you get down to it, the construction turns out to be nothing more than a tool in a multi-level criminal scheme.
The plan for the five-star premium-class hotel originated with the currently defunct Moscow group of companies, SAVVA, the largest in Russia operated by Dmitry Romantsov (Romantsoff). Located in a subsidized region, the holding began to grow and develop, obtaining several subsidiaries. Among them were firms in the construction industry: Volzhskaya Construction Group, aka VolgaStroiGroup; VolgaStroiMontazh; Suvar-Hotel LLC; and also a pair of smaller companies, mainly with limited liability.
Telling about them in more detail would make for a long story; the essential functions of all of them are about the same. But let’s get back to Suvar Hotel. Today the building is once again up for sale. It should be said that it has gone through quite a few owners during its existence, each of whom practically vowed that construction would be finished and the business launched, but nothing has budged.
The construction site has its roots long ago in 2005. It should be said that during that period, the project truly was very promising. Dmitry Romantsov (Romantsoff) was leading the project.
In 2008, the Mari Region MDM Bank branch in Yoshkar-Ola and VolgaStroiGroup, a SAVVA Group subsidiary, signed an agreement to open a line of credit for the company. The loan totaled 700 million rubles, according to the republic’s Ministry of Economic Development. At the same time, information circulated among media outlets that the money had been allocated to finance the Suvar project, the first five-star hotel of its kind in the Chuvash Republic. Later, according to the Economic Development Ministry, the flow of funds stopped, and only 240 million rubles of the promised sum was transferred.
However, despite the difficulties that arose, SAVVA Group president Nikita Kolesnikov, within the framework of a PR company he deployed, publicly stated more than once that the company was diligently following the designated plans and that the Suvar complex would be ready to open by April 9, 2009.
Years went by, nothing changed at the building site, and the project is still “frozen” today. You wouldn’t have needed a crystal ball to predict that outside observers and government structures would begin spreading rumors that the Suvar Hotel was one of the projects in a complex financial machinations scheme.
“Today we can assume that the transfer of loans and investments had its outlet abroad, through the bankruptcy of firms participating in the projects. Those assumptions come out of the fact that all the companies SAVVA created shared the fate already described. For example, Volzhskaya Textile Company (VTC) filed bankruptcy for Cheboksary Cotton Fabric Complex and Cheboksary Knits Factory, and VolgaStroiGroup (VSG) did the same for Novocheboksarsk Building Complex,” say sources today at the Chuvash Republic Ministry of Economic Development. Those are facts known to everyone.
The Economic Development Ministry has calculated that the SAVVA group of companies removed around 8 billion rubles from the region’s economy, racking up debts to government budgets at all levels of over 300 million.
In and of itself, without attention from law enforcement agencies, the manipulations of that project would not have stopped. Employees and managers of the intermediate link in the chain have been held accountable, but the “big fish” managed to slip off law enforcement’s hook. For example, SAVVA vice president Dmitry Romantsov (Romantsoff) is still on the international most-wanted list today hiding in United States.
The group of companies no longer owns a single asset on Chuvash territory. And the Suvar Hotel has been mortgaged to a Mari creditor. Until a new investor appeared in 2011: the Odis group of companies. This is actually a new brand, which was supposed to have given its name to the abandoned construction project from the start of construction, with a scheduled end in 2012. But again, that’s not how it turned out. Now, perhaps Kolesnikov’s arrest will give a new impetus to bring the project back to life.