Following a Cypriot commission's report, Russian authorities zeroed in on Dmitry Tsvetkov who had obtained the citizenship of Cyprus under the Citizenship for Investment program (canceled by the government of Cyprus in 2020 due to numerous violations – ed. note).
Tsvetkov, 40 also has three firearm licenses from the Republic of Cyprus, one for him and two for the Cypriot private security guards who were responsible for his personal safety. He was granted Cypriot citizenship in 2016, and a four-member special commission investigating the abuse of Cypriot citizenship for foreign investors and businessmen put him on the list of 195 high-risk corruption cases. The list was initially drawn by Myron Nicolatos’ commission after investigating the issue of passports to foreign nationals. On top of that, Tsvetkov is mentioned in the commission's preliminary report on 49 cases where the Council of Ministers can exercise the right to cancel a passport.
The final part of the document which names investors from whom the government can revoke citizenship raises questions because Tsetkov’s name does not appear on the list. His estranged wife Elsina Khairova is listed though.
“Citizenship revocation issue”
Nicolatos’s commission reported that “Elsina Khairova (Cypriot citizenship since 2016) is linked to companies that show significant negative data, which places her in the category of high-risk investors. As for her husband Dmitry Tsvetkov, the Council of Ministers may consider stripping citizenship from him under Article 113 (3), on the strength of information provided by Interpol from Moscow.
As mentioned above, Mr. Tsvetkov is not listed by the denautralisation commission unlike his wife. As a rule, denaturalisation highlights family ties. To put it simply, there is no substantial reason not to include his name.
Tsvetkov was mentioned in connection with several international scandals. His business activities drew the interest of various authorities. We mention this because the Nicolatos commission refers to cases where decisions to revoke citizenship relied on negative articles in the international media.
According to the documents, Mr. Tsvetkov applied for a firearms license for himself and his two bodyguards immediately after obtaining a Cypriot passport. The permit was approved. In fact, according to our information, several other non-Cypriot foreign businessmen got firearm licenses during the same period.
Three groups of investigators
The Nicolatos commission’s 780-page report with 5,000 pages of appendices was presented to Attorney General George Savvidis on June 7. The police have been investigating the case since the preliminary report was released in April 2021. The final document has been at their disposal since June.
All cases are investigated by the Crime Division of the Police Headquarters which set up three five-member teams for this purpose. In June, the teams were strengthened with 10 more police officers, who were transferred solely to help examine all the relevant documents. The investigation is focused on the Cyprus investment program through which foreigners could obtain citizenship of the Republic.
Mr. Nicolatos finds the problem
All the above-mentioned information was reported to Myron Nicolatos, a former President of the Supreme Court and head of the special investigation commission. He said that he had known nothing about the case of Dmitry Tsvetkov. He was ready to examine the facts and report to the media, even though his commission had completed its work. Currently, the police are checking the facts of illegal citizenship. In addition, we discussed the case with a Cypriot official who said that he would consider the issue.
Dmitry Tsvetkov the risk taker
Tsvetkov's lifestyle, business activities, and the purchases worth millions of dollars he made in the past did not go unnoticed. All this information has been reported by British media, and is also available in his home country, Russia, where he is a wanted person. In addition to his Cypriot passport and firearms license in the Republic of Cyprus, Tsvetkov also holds British citizenship.
British mass media said that Tsvetkov and his wife, model Elsina Khairova owned three assets in Limassol.
Villa Elsina is one of them. The other is a gift from her father Rinat Khairov, a high-ranking official in Russia. Khairov is a member of the State Duma and a member of the Defense Committee and Vladimir Putin's party. He was an adviser to the Russian Defense Ministry and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tatarstan. The political status of Tsvetkov's father-in-law is one of the reasons why many media outlets avoid covering the events related to Tsvetkov.
Russian media call Dmitry Tsvetkov a lawyer, consultant and mediator in business disputes. As the story goes, he “went to Limassol in a Rolls Royce” and “met with other businessmen at the city pier” whom he involved in his activities.
A jewelry store in Limassol
His most known investment in Limassol is a luxury jewelry store, a joint venture with Graff launched in 2014. An opening ceremony photo captured Tsvetkov with CEO and jewelry chain founder François Graff and the president of Cyprus. The business did not go well as disagreements between Tsvetkov and his partner Rustem Magdeev led to the store being blocked in 2018. Magdeev demanded $10 million from Tsvetkov and filed a lawsuit against him in the UK in December 2017. In May 2020, the High Court in London announced that Tsvetkov had fulfilled his obligations to his partner. During the trial covered by the British media Tsvetkov, 40, claimed that Magdeev had stolen a very expensive pear-cut diamond from the company and put it in a safe deposit in a Swiss bank. Tsvetkov also said that he had found a buyer willing to pay €15 million for it.
Threats to life
According to a Telegraph story published last October (17/10/2020), the Russian Interior Ministry put Dmitry Tsvetkov on the wanted list. The Ministry said in a statement on its website that he was “wanted pursuant to Criminal Code article” without elaborating. When asked to comment, Tsvetkov alleged that he knew nothing but said that it came as no surprise to him. He explained that he had been summoned by police in Tatarstan to testify in Russia but refused to do it. Tsvetkov believes that the Kremlin is persecuting him. In his opinion, his opponents used what he described as “corrupted judicial system” to put pressure on his family and make them sell their shares in the Polosukhinskaya mine in Siberia. He also said that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the mine had an annual profit of $100 million. His wife owns 25% of the shares.
The situation around drones
Tsvetkov told the Telegraph that he had been under another investigation in connection with the Russian Defense Ministry's contract to design military drones (Altius-U). He claimed that the criminal case against him had been initiated due to third-party pressure. An article on the U.S. website Forensic News dated July 27, 2020, showed the Russian Defense Ministry’s money transfer to the London-based company Hegir in the interests of Tsvetkov and his wife through Miltek, another company under their control. According to the invoices available to Forensic News, Tsvetkov’s family received 13.5 million euros and 1.5 million pounds sterling under a contract for consulting services signed in 2012. Rinat Hayrov, father-in-law of the 40-year-old businessman is a member of the Defense Committee of the United Russia party since 2011 and is one of the six deputies of the State Duma, representing Tatarstan where the Sokol design bureau was founded. Sokol built drones for the Russian Defense Ministry. Forensic News said that Sokol’s CEO was arrested for fraud in 2018 in connection with the case and remained in custody until mid-2019. Hegir received money for Tsvetkov from Miltek which had an outsourcing contract with Sokol. Tsvetkov, who was interviewed about defense contracts by Forensic News, said he did not know that the contract was with the Russian Defense Ministry and that if he had known, he would not have signed the agreement. He said that the drones had been designed for Gazprom. In another interview with Western media, Tsvetkov underlined that he had no close contact with his father-in-law and that he only met him when Khayrov visited his family to see his daughter and grandchildren (Tsvetkov and Elsina have two children). According to recent reports, Tsvetkov and Elsina Khairova appeared in court over division of property worth 42 million euros following their divorce decree.
In an interview with Britain’s Telegraph last October, Tsvetkov said that his life was in danger. He claimed that a friend with whom he had holidayed in Dubai warned him in 2018 of an impending assassination attempt (he had already obtained a gun license in the Republic of Cyprus by then).
The U.S. website Forensic News published a Cypriot bank account statement of Equix Group which owned the jewelry store opened in Limassol by Tsvetkov and his wife Elsina Khayrova in partnership with Rustem Magdeev and his son Ernest. As for the transactions, deemed suspicious, they took place between 2014 and 2016. According to Forensic News, they were in six- and seven-digit sums.
Forensic News says that thanks to large sums placed on personal and business accounts, Dmitry Tsvetkov and his wife Elsina Khairova purchased a total of 10 houses in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and the United Arab Emirates for a total of at least 42 million euros. The purchase of a mansion in Surrey outside London, which cost 22 million dollars and was mentioned in the English press, is also worth mentioning.
At the same time, Dmitry Tsvetkov claims that the flow of millions of euros through his accounts is not as large as it seems. The statement made to the Daily Mail in September 2019 that he bought a house in Surrey on credit and that he was not a billionaire like Roman Abramovich is very typical of him.
He states that he earns his money as a consultant for various companies. It requires constant travel and explains that he did not get a British passport for an investment.
Illustration from the Cypriot publication https://politis.com.cy/.
Original article: https://politis.com.cy/politis-news/kypros/pire-diavatirio-treis-adeies-oploforias-kai-kataziteitai-sovara-erotimata-gia-periptosi-politografithentos-apo-ti-rosia/