In bed with Kadyrov Investigative journalists at ‘Proekt’ say a Moscow businessman handles hundreds of millions of dollars that belong to Chechnya’s elite
The investigative news website Proekt reports that Moscow businessman Pavel Krotov is responsible for handling money and property for several powerful Chechen public figures, including republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, his close friend Adam Delikhmanov, and others. Sources told Proekt that Krotov has at least twice obtained access to assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars while acting in the interests of Chechnya’s political elite.
In 2010, Pavel Krotov purchased $600 million in debt owed to “Eurocement Group” co-owner Georgy Krasnyansky by Filaret Galchev, the company’s chairman. Though Galchev had failed to return the money to Krasnyansky, he “instantly” repaid the debt to Krotov, a former Eurocement manager told Proekt.
The newspaper Vedomosti first reported Krotov’s alleged ties to Adam Delikhmanov in 2010 but offered no details. According to Proekt, the $600 million paid by Filaret Galchev “was just part of the money and property Krotov may have handled for the Chechen elite and its friends.”
In 2012, Krotov went into business with Yakov Rovner, who at the time was having problems with the city of Moscow, which wanted to build a new subway station on land he owned. Rovner was even placed on an international wanted list and charged with fraud and organizing a criminal group, but the allegations “disappeared” after he became Krotov’s business partner, says Proekt.
Sergey Gordeyev, a co-owner of the “PIK Group” real estate company, ultimately purchased the land in question, reportedly paying $120 million for the plot. After acquiring a stake in the offshore company that sold the land, Pavel Krotov received a share of the property sale. An unnamed source told Proekt that one of the conditions for the deal was ending the criminal investigation against Rovner, who is no longer wanted by police.
According to Proekt’s sources, Pavel Krotov also became a co-owner of Rovner’s other businesses, gaining stakes in the construction company “Sindi-M” and the “Avtogarant” market. Proekt estimates that the land assets of these companies were worth roughly 17 billion rubles ($239.2 million).
Proekt obtained emails between Rovner and a business partner where he wrote that “Pasha [Pavel] himself doesn’t decide anything” and all issues “have to be managed directly with Adam.” The records don’t mention Adam’s surname, but Proekt believes the comment refers to Adam Delikhmanov. The journalists say they spoke to several recipients and used the emails’ source code to verify the correspondence’s authenticity.
Pavel Krotov is known as one of Adam Delikhmanov’s men, and he has reportedly threatened people with “taking them to Chechnya”
It’s unclear when Pavel Krotov started working for Chechen politicians. In the early 2000s, he worked at a company called “Polnoe Doverie” (Complete Trust), which offered elderly care to senior citizens in exchange for their real estate after their deaths. According to the correspondence obtained by Proekt, Krotov’s dealings with the Chechen elite go back at least to 2008, when he oversaw the construction of Ramzan Kadyrov’s residence in the town of Tsentaroy. Krotov was responsible for the budget, the residence’s layout, and issues related to Kadyrov’s personal security. A source at one of the subcontractors that worked at the site told Proekt that Krotov works for Adam Delikhmanov.
In 2018, the media reported that Krotov acquired the “Red October” Zlatoust Steel Mill in Volgograd. The previous owner, Dmitry Gerasimenko, supposedly sold the business after “exhausting all emotional and financial resources” in his fight to keep the factory. He says he lost the business in an illegal takeover and asked Krotov to help him regain control of the company, sources told Proekt. Krotov instead allegedly reached a deal with Gerasimenko’s adversaries (it’s not clear with whom exactly) and acquired the Zlatoust Steel Mill. Krotov then reportedly forbid the plant’s managers from speaking to Gerasimenko under penalty of “being sent to Chechnya.” Gerasimenko is now challenging the company’s sale in court.
Proekt doesn’t clarify if the sale of the Zlatoust Steel Mill is linked to any members of the Chechen elite, but Adam Delikhmanov’s name does appear in another dispute involving Krotov between Vitaly Orlov and Alexander Tugushev, the founders of the “Karat” fishery. Tugushev relinquished his shares in the company when he took a government job and then demanded them back after leaving the civil service. When Orlov refused, he turned to Krotov and Artyom Begun, a figure with reported connections to organized crime in St. Petersburg. They demanded from Orlov’s lawyers that he return Tugushev’s 33-percent stake. Artyom Begun allegedly threatened to enlist Delikhmanov’s men, who would “solve the problem with automatic weapons and go unpunished,” if the issue couldn’t be resolved peacefully. The dispute over the company’s shares — worth $1 billion — is still ongoing today.
Krotov’s family owns real estate worth $18 million and he has diplomatic immunity
Pavel Krotov and his wife, actress Yana Shivkova, who had small roles in the crime miniseries “Brigada” and film “Bumer,” own a 10,760-square-foot home on almost 40 acres of land outside Moscow in the prestigious Rublyovka residential area. Proekt estimates that the property is worth more than $7 million. The couple also owns another $11 million in real estate in the form of apartments in Moscow, Paris, Cannes, and Florida.
Pavel Krotov now serves as Grenada’s trade attache in Russia, which grants him immunity from criminal prosecution, according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which also prohibits diplomats from doing business in their host countries. Neither Grenada’s embassy in Moscow nor Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded to questions about how businesses owned by embassy staff conform to diplomatic status.
“Utter nonsense.” That’s what Pavel Krotov says about Proekt’s allegations that he has illicit ties to Chechnya’s political elites. He initially claimed that he employs someone “with almost his exact same name” to manage corporate disputes who has connections to Adam Delikhmanov, but Krotov later reportedly acknowledged that he is the person identified by Proekt.
Krotov insists that his business with Filaret Galchev was perfectly legal and voluntary, and he denies any part in the dispute surrounding the Zlatoust Steel Mill. He simply bought the factory, he says.
Krotov declined to discuss any dealings with Yakov Rovner or his work at Grenada’s embassy in Moscow. He also denied that the emails obtained by Proekt are his. “I certainly don’t work for any Chechen elite, being an Orthodox Russian person,” he told Proekt.
None of Krotov’s current or former business partners agreed to speak to Proekt on the record. One source with ties to the Eurocement Group cautioned the journalists against investigating Krotov. “Think about your health,” the source warned.