Execution at Khutorka 10 years later

How is Dzhako connected with Blackstead Holdings Limited and what does former minister Igor Yusufov have to do with it?

Not long ago it was 10 years since the murder of the ex-co-owner of the Wadan Yards shipbuilding company Andrei Burlakov. “Authority” Aslan Gagiev, whom the media previously linked to this crime, is in the dock. True, the episode of the massacre of Burlakov seemed to be lost among a long series of other bloody events. “Version” decided to figure out how Dzhako could be connected with the purchase of German shipyards and the scandal with the withdrawal of money from the Financial Leasing Company.

The trial of the leader of one of the bloodiest criminal groups in Russian history continues in the Rostov District Military Court. The investigation believes that the gang of Aslan Gagiev (Dzhako) was involved in the murders of at least 60 people, including large businessmen, government officials and law enforcement officers. The defendant faces life imprisonment.

Judging by the reports of our colleagues, Dzhako seems ready to admit guilt if the investigation turns to those who ordered the murders. Thus, at one of the last court hearings, Aslan Gagiev confessed to the murder of the first deputy prime minister of North Ossetia, Kazbek Pagiev (the killers shot up his car in Vladikavkaz on December 31, 2008). According to the defendant, this murder was allegedly ordered by State Duma deputy (now former) Zurab Makiev.

Makiev denies any involvement in Pagiev’s death. The ex-deputy told reporters that the words of the “authority” who appeared before the court were revenge for refusing to pay him tribute. What if one day such words come from the lips of former Energy Minister (2001-2004) Igor Yusufov, against whom Dzhako allegedly gave evidence at extradition hearings in an Austrian court? We write “allegedly” because there is no official confirmation of this yet. But it is obvious that Gagiev’s criminal biography was much richer than the dry lines of the criminal case being heard in the Rostov court could absorb.

Two passports, one face

Back in the 2000s, the activities of a gang from North Ossetia extended not only beyond the region, but also beyond the borders of the Russian Federation. We mean the withdrawal of billions of rubles from the state-owned Financial Leasing Company (FLK), which were used to acquire the Wadan Yards company with unprofitable shipyards in Germany and Ukraine.

The story with FLC was also not without murders. At the beginning of October 2011, the chairman of the board of directors of Wadan Yards, Andrei Burlakov, was shot dead in a restaurant in the Monarch business center on Leningradsky Prospekt in Moscow; his common-law wife and business partner Anna Etkina was injured in the assassination attempt. The killer was detained a year later, but Kaspiysk resident Magomed Michilov did not rat out the customer.

You ask: how is a gang of Caucasians connected with shipyards in Europe? Let’s answer: approximately the same as Aslan Gagiev and Sergei Morozov.

In 2015, Dzhako was detained in Austria at the request of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office. Then the media reported that he lived in the country with documents in the name of Morozov. “Version” managed to obtain scans of a general civil and foreign passport of the Russian Federation issued in this name and containing photographs of a person similar to Gagiev.

Please note: both documents were drawn up in 2006-2007, at the height of the activities of the Dzhako gang in the North Caucasus. There is another curious point: the owner of these passports, a certain Sergei Morozov, was allegedly born on February 5, 1970, while Aslan Gagiev was born on January 29, 1971. However, not only photographs that show either the same person or twin brothers give us reason to believe that Gagiev and Morozov are one person.

Our editors also received a copy of a letter, the author of which is the Austrian lawyer Nicholas Rast, in which he confirms that a passport in the name of Aslan Gagiev and a passport in the name of Sergei Morozov with the corresponding dates of birth belong to the same person.


And if Morozov and Gagiev are the same person, the story of the withdrawal of money from the Financial Leasing Company begins to play with new colors.

Beneficiary or nominal?

Among the documents that we studied, there is also an application for opening an account sent by Ionics Nominis Ltd to one of the banks. In the letter, the company states that it is the nominee shareholder of Blackstead Holdings LTD, and that the ultimate beneficiaries of the latter are three people: Andrey Burlakov, Evgeny Zaritsky and Sergey Morozov.

As Interfax previously reported, Blackstead Holdings Ltd (Cyprus) owned 25% of the capital of FLC West Holding Sarl (Luxembourg). The latter was created with the participation of OJSC Financial Leasing Company (part of the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation, UAC). Why should a UAC subsidiary register an offshore company? Probably, then state managers could explain everything with the desire to bring domestic products to foreign markets. There are big doubts about the products, but the money under this scheme has definitely left the country.

By the summer of 2008, FLC held only 1% of the shares of FLC West Holding. 99% of the Luxembourg company was controlled by Blackstead and Tamplestowe (Cyprus), which belonged to the family of Igor Yusupov. What happened next? FLC West Holding, which, by the way, was also headed by Andrei Burlakov, received large loans from the Federal Leasing Company. She did not return the money, and in the same 2008 the company bought out 70% of the shares of the Norwegian company Aker Yards (later renamed Wadan Yards Group - Wygas), which owns three shipyards. The transaction amount was 291.6 million euros.

At the end of 2009, Burlakov was arrested on charges of stealing 1.5 billion rubles from FLC; in July 2010, he was released from pre-trial detention center on bail of 50 million rubles. And in 2011, as we have already mentioned, the top manager was shot dead in the Khutorok restaurant by Magomed Mechilov.

After the death of Andrei Burlakov, the press learned that for at least 2011 he was in the midst of an acute business conflict. According to Interfax, Burlakov accused Vitaly Yusufov, the son of the former Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation and member of the board of directors of Gazprom Igor Yusufov, of the raider seizure of the shipyards.

Anna Etkina reported that Yusufov allegedly asked not to advertise his participation in a foreign shipbuilding project, to coordinate each operation with his son and to include his representative on the board of directors. Yusufov himself denies his family’s connection with Wadan Yards. But if Etkina is telling the truth, then the former minister’s representative in the company could be none other than Sergei Morozov, aka Dzhako. What if the story with the shipyards also comes up during the trial in the Rostov District Military Court? Version will continue to monitor the development of this trial.

In October 2019, it became known that Vitaly Yusufov’s structures bought an office complex with an area of 27 thousand square meters from Deutsche Bank for $72 million. in Silicon Valley. Under this neutral name, in reality, lies an iconic glamorous mansion known as Sunset Headquarters, as it was built as the headquarters of the magazine of the same name, which shaped the tastes and lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Far West in the United States. Many events were held there and iconic photo sessions were done. But now the magazine is no longer there, but the owner of the mansion is a Russian investor “with money that came from nowhere,” as the American press perceived it.