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The Insider finds Russian Defence Ministry contractor who has Maltese passport and villa in France – photos

Tuesday, 28 May 2024, 08:47
The Insider finds Russian Defence Ministry contractor who has Maltese passport and villa in France – photos
Zolotarev and Meladze in Courchevel. Screenshot: a video by Ukrainska Pravda

The Insider has identified the man who, along with the wife of Russian Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov and singer Valery Meladze, was having fun at the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps during Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as described in an investigation by Ukrainska Pravda, as Alexei Zolotarev, a contractor for the Russian Ministry of Defence.

Source: The Insider

Details: Zolotarev is earning billions from the disposal of Russian military equipment, is being awarded state contracts without any tender process on Putin's special order, is linked to Putin's aide and the Rotenbergs, has a Maltese passport and owns a luxury villa in France.


Quote from the Insider: "Alexei Zolotarev is one of Russia's most mysterious businessmen. Although he is the largest player in Russia’s scrap metal recycling market — his companies generate an annual turnover of around 200 billion roubles (US$2.2 billion) — he is virtually unknown to the general public. Business outlets reporting on Zolotarev's commercial successes have not even published photos of him."

Details: The Insider identified Zolotarev in rare photographs with Russian high-ranking officials.

A few years ago, Zolotarev attended the launch of two new tram routes in the Russian city of Taganrog with the participation of Valentina Matvienko, Speaker of the Federation Council. In the photo, he is sitting in the same carriage as Matvienko. 


The Insider emphasised that this was no coincidence: the city's tram network in Taganrog was put under the management of a private company, Sinara-GTR, which Zolotarev owns jointly with sanctioned oligarch Dmitry Pumpyanskiy.

One of Zolotarev's main assets is Transresurs, a company that supplies railway rolling stock spare parts. In addition to the state-owned Russian Railways, Transresurs' clients include large private companies. For example, Zolotarev's company repairs goods wagons for oligarch Andrei Melnichenko's Siberian Coal Energy Company, which is under US sanctions.

Zolotarev also has a client in the Chelyabinsk forging and pressing plant, which belongs to the family of Russian State Duma member Valery Gartung.

Watch Ukrainska Pravda investigations with English subtitles: Courchevel "their" 2. Ukrainska Pravda found the Russian elite at the resort

At the same time, Transresurs itself uses the products of the sanctioned Russian machine-building company UralVagonZavod, which is part of the Russian state-owned defence conglomerate Rostec State Corporation.

Zolotarev also owns the largest scrap dealer in Russia, Translom. This company receives a scrap of ferrous and non-ferrous metals from the Ministry of Defenсe of the Russian Federation: cars, armoured personnel carriers, tanks, planes, helicopters, weapons, ammunition, etc. that have fallen into disrepair.

"Documents from the Arbitration Court reveal that the dealings between the Ministry of Defence and Translom LLC are governed by a decree from Vladimir Putin, dated August 2, 2019. This decree permits the Ministry of Defence to sell all scrap metals directly to Zolotarev's company, bypassing the tender process," writes The Insider.

The Insider notes that people from Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle helped Zolotarev obtain such non-market conditions.

In particular, Translom was associated with the interests of Russian oligarchs and Putin's close associates Arkady and Boris Rotenberg. Most importantly, the connections between Zolotarev and the Rotenbergs can be traced back to the joint managers and co-founders of their companies.

Zolotarev's former business partner, Igor Levitin, has been Putin's assistant and adviser for 12 years. The Insider discovered that Levitin has mansions worth more than RUB 1 billion. (approx. US$11.27 million)

When Zolotarev, on Putin's special order, began being awarded state contracts for the disposal of military scrap, he already had foreign citizenship. In 2018, The Insider found the owner of Translom, along with his wife and four children, on the list of recipients of Maltese passports. 

As The Insider found out, Zolotarev's wife Maria owns a French company called Olivula, through which she owns a villa in Grimaud on the Côte d'Azur.

Zolotarev and his wife

The Insider notes that Olivula was previously registered to Alexei Zolotarev himself, but in 2022, after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he transferred his shares to his wife. 


The Insider emphasises that Zolotarev, despite his connections with Putin's inner circle and work in the interests of the Russian Defence Ministry, has not yet been included in any Western "black lists".

Watch Ukrainska Pravda investigations with English subtitles: Courchevel is theirs. Ukrainska Pravda finds real estate of Russian oligarchs in France

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