Naviny.by: Yury Chyzh’s business empire

Editor’s Note: The following is a story published by Naviny.by with the support of Objective Investigative Reporting Project, funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Re-publication of this story is encouraged with proper credits. 

The story is available in Russian.

Yury Chyzh’s business has grown from a small room at Minsk’s Mir movie theater to a whole empire.

The following text is the result of Naviny.by’s effort to find out what assets the arguably wealthiest businessman of Belarus owns and who his business partners are.

According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Sole Entrepreneurs, Chyzh owns stakes in three companies.

Belarusian businessman, director general of Triple Ltd, chairman of the Belarusian Wrestling Federation, chairman of the Supervisory Board of FC Dinamo Minsk.

Yury Chuzh was arrested by the KGB on March 11, 2016. On March 21, he was formally charged with felony tax evasion. His alleged damage to the state is estimated at millions of dollars.

In particular, Chyzh owns 55.9 percent of Rakawski Brovar, which he co-owns with Zhanna Herasimuk (14.55 percent) and Uladzimir Yapryntsaw (29.55 percent), Chyzh’s long-time business partner currently held in custody on a charge of felony fraud.

Rakawski Brovar was founded in 1997. The company currently runs Rakawski Brovar Brewery Restaurant, U Frantsiska Cafe and Salodki Falvarak Cofee House in Minsk.

Chyzh also owns 33 percent of NefteKhimTrading. Among the co-owners are Kazbek Yapryntsaw (17 percent), Uladzimir Yapryntsaw’s son who is also in detention on a charge of felony fraud, and a British-registered company called Globecast Limited, which holds 50 percent.

NeftekhimTrading was founded in 2008. Since 2010, the company has been retailing petroleum products through its own network of gas stations in Minsk and the Minsk, Brest and Hrodna regions.

Chyzh’s main asset is his 66.5-percent stake in Triple Ltd, which he co-owns with Mikhail Mamiashvili, a renowned retired Russian wrestler of Georgian origin who won three world titles and an Olympic gold medal and is currently president of Russian Wrestling Federation, as well as Anzor Kikalishvili, a Russian billionaire of Georgian origin who adopted a new name, Iosif Aksentyev, with a view to running for president in Russia. In 1996, the FBI identified Kikalishvili as one of the heads of the Russian Mafia responsible for overseeing operations inside the United States.

Both Mamiashvili and Kikalishvili own 16.75 percent of Triple Ltd each.

Founded in 1992 as a company dealing in the wholesale of industrial and food products, Triple has since grown into a conglomerate that runs construction, building materials, non-alcoholic beverage, retail chain customs services, restaurant and other businesses.

In particular, Triple runs Lahoysk Alpine Ski Center, an agricultural business called Triple Agro in the Lahoysk district, an ice hockey arena in the city of Byaroza, Brest region, and EVO Wellness Club and La Crête d’Or Restaurant in Minsk.

Triple also built and owned the Dom u Trayetskaha project, a much-talked-of huge apartment building in downtown Minsk.

Apart from this, Triple holds stakes in several other companies. In particular, it owns 50 percent in Triple Decor, an aluminum profile manufacturer, with the other 50 percent belonging to Alyaksandr Suvoraw.

Triple owns 65 percent of Aqua Triple Ltd, which manufactures non-alcoholic beverages under the brand names КСТАТИ and Соччи. A Cypriot-registered company called Verment Holdings Limited owns the other 35 percent.

The stake of Triple in FC Dinamo Minsk is believed to amount to up to 57 percent.

Triple also holds stakes in Byaroza Integrated Silicate Goods Plant and KvartsMelProm, a building materials business in the Malaryta district, Brest region. Triple acquired control of the two businesses in 2007-2008.

Triple also controls the ProStore Trade network of hypermarkets and TriplePharm, which specializes in the manufacture of antibiotic drugs for parenteral use (injections) and food supplements.

However, Chyzh owns no stake in TriplePharm. The business is co-owned by Uladzimir Yapryntsaw (10 percent), Cypriot-registered Valgro Services Limited (60 percent) and Cypriot-registered Profax Investments Limited (30 percent).

In addition, according to open sources, Yury Chyzh was involved in Elite Estate, a construction company that built a multifunctional complex near the Belarusian State Circus, and Danprod, a pork production business in the Valozhyn district, Minsk region, but neither Chyzh nor Triple holds a stake in those companies.

Elite Estate is owned by Chyzh’s wife Svyatlana (3.18 percetn) and RS Invest Holding B.V.

Danprod is owned by Yury Chyzh’s elder son Syarhey Chyzh (47.16 percent), Anton Havarko (0.1 percent), Jonas Molgaard Jensen (0.03 percent) and Cypriot-registered Redcast Holdings Limited (52.71 percent).

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