The scandal with the supply of equipment to the Krasnoyarsk Territorial Clinical Hospital took a new turn as police arrested Konstantin Yegorov, the executive director of the Sibiryak construction management company. Rumor has it a large incursion into the firm’s turf is ongoing amid market redivision.
Law enforcement officers detained Yegorov in Gelendzhik and took him to Krasnoyarsk. Then he was placed in pre-trial detention for two months. They also searched his home in the high-end village of Sosny. Yegorov's cars, money and gold were confiscated.
The case of Konstantin Yegorov is a follow-up of the story of entrepreneur Sergei Vakulenko. Wek.ru earlier reports said that the latter had mediated Sibiryak’s purchases of medical equipment for a new building of the regional clinical hospital.
Vakulenko was detained for fraud in early 2021. The investigators believe that he stole about 100 mln rubles ($1.36 mln) over two years. The fraud scheme relied on substituting the ordered equipment with inexpensive or inferior devices. The difference in costs made a handsome illegal profit. Vakulenko is also in pre-trial detention.
"Some of the devices were not even registered as medical equipment," said the Investigative Committee Department for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia.
The law-enforcers began to unravel the tangle further and zeroed in on Yegorov. As it turned out, he was aware of the scheme and took part in it. According to investigators, it was the Sibiryak director who agreed with Vakulenko the purchase of cheap Chinese defibrillators instead of Korean ones. In order to prove that the purchase was justified, the criminals ordered an expertise. The probe is not fully completed yet. Searches in connection with the criminal case were reportedly conducted at the regional Ministry of Health and, most importantly, at the Sibiryak office. The firm is a major Krasnoyarsk developer implementing large-scale neighborhood projects.
Construction market experts say that Sibiryak is the market leader now. At the end of 2020, it commissioned 85,000 sq. m of housing in Krasnoyarsk which accounts for some 10 percent of what is built in the regional center per year. The largest construction orders for the Krasnoyarsk Universiade-2019, sports facilities and infrastructure are the company's biggest success as the projects were worth tens of billions of rubles. The medical equipment scam unnerved the Sibiryak administration. They believe that this is a competitor's provocation to destabilize the company.
"The equipment was received by a total of 50 people: Federal Treasury representatives, doctors and medical equipment specialists. If the wrong equipment has been supplied, let the Treasury be responsible. Police took away two computer units and wanted to take away the electronic keys. In this case, the whole enterprise would have stopped. In my opinion, it was a frameup. Maybe, it's about settling personal scores," Vladimir Yegorov, the owner and founder of Sibiryak and father of Konstantin Yegorov, said earlier.
Many people immediately assumed that there were not just emotions behind the words of Yegorov senior. Involving law-enforcement bodies in the fight against rivals is a common practice in Russia. Admittedly, there are no “innocents” in business. On request, one can easily dig up dirt on a company or businessman. Wek.ru sources in the construction sector suggest that Sibiryak might have been targeted by a large federal company which is harbouring designs to enter Krasnoyarsk’s market. Or, at the very least, it could attempt to take over the premises of the former Krasnoyarsk agricultural machinery plant, a large asset of Sibiryak, if not the largest local developer.
Wek.ru earlier wrote about this re-development project. The workshops of the closed plant were demolished a long time ago. Almost the entire land plot which occupies an area of hundreds of hectares is on the bank of the Yenisei in the city centre. The company has ambitious plans for it. According to them, about 1 mln square meters of housing and some 400,000 square meters of commercial real estate are to be built on this plot.
"This is the best place in the city. You can do a good project there. Moscow developers do not want to build in the backyard. So, they decided to remove the local firms," a wek.ru source said.
However, there are different viewpoints. "With the current price increase, Krasnoyarsk will certainly be of interest to federal construction companies. There are quite a few other cities where they can work. I don’t think federal developers are involved in the arrest," Zhilfond real estate agency development director Maxim Omelyanchuk said.
Back in 2009, Moscow businesses attempted to enter the Krasnoyarsk market as it announced a project to develop the Molokova Island on the Yenisei River. Its investor GVA Sawyer, a Moscow-based company, planned to build a huge business complex there with hotels, offices and a yacht club. At that time, the investment was estimated at 20 bln rubles ($272.4 mln.) Krasnoyarsk City Council amended the general plan of the city and earmarked this land for commercial development.
Later that year, a crisis broke out. The project was criticized by social organizations, environmentalists, and architects. Edkham Akbulatov, the next Mayor of Krasnoyarsk, said that the island would accommodate parkland, not a business center. In 2013, GVA Sawyer dropped all its development plans for Krasnoyarsk.