Russia

The companies of “Putin’s chef” again turned out to be informal monopolists in the supply of food to the capital’s schools

Moscow authorities hold auctions to identify food suppliers for Moscow schools and colleges in the 2020-2021 academic yearEvgeny Prigozhin


Moscow authorities hold auctions to identify food suppliers for Moscow schools and colleges in the 2020-2021 academic year

Moscow-Live.ru / Olga Shuklina

The Moscow authorities held auctions to identify food suppliers for Moscow schools and colleges in the 2020-2021 academic year. The amount of the signed contracts amounted to 35 billion 770 million rubles. All these contracts were received by seven companies, one way or another connected with “Putin’s chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin, writes “MBH media”.

The Moscow Government’s Competition Policy Department placed 37 tenders, each of which indicated from 6 to 31 institutions. Contractors will be required to provide supplies for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. At the same time, the share of price reduction for each of the companies that participated in the auction was the same in all the won tenders, and one of the Vito-1 companies received its contracts without competition, as it turned out to be the only company that submitted an application.

Most of all for contracts with the Moscow authorities will receive the company “Russocapital”. The sum of nine won auctions for the company is 9 billion 942 million rubles, or 27.79% of all contracts. This company began to participate in tenders for the supply of school meals in 2019, after the tenders that belonged to Evgeny Prigozhin “Concord-M” and “Concord Food Combine” stopped submitting bids. The tenders were also won by Verona (eight contracts for 7 billion 475 million rubles), “Preschool Food Factory” (five contracts for 6 billion 468 million rubles), Shkolnik-YuZ (five contracts for 453 million rubles), Vito -1 “(six contracts for 4 billion 19 million rubles), Vilmap (three contracts for 3 billion 83 million rubles) and Moscow Schoolboy (one contract for 430 million rubles).

Journalist Daria Burlakova noted on the portal Teletypethat the firm “Russocapital” is a member of the “Association of social catering enterprises in the field of education and health care”, which, according to “SPARK”, belongs to two more companies Prigozhin – “AVK” and “Prodfootservice”. Russocapital joined the association on June 10, 2016, along with the Verona and Vilmap firms, as well as the aforementioned Vito-1 company. In addition, all three firms changed their owners within 11 days in August 2018, and the head and co-owner of Verona is Vladimir Somov, who previously worked with Prigozhin’s Shkolnik-YuZ company. And the web address of Verona’s page on the hh.ru recruiting site used to belong to Concorde.

Portal “Present time” wrote that there are no formal ties between the company and Prigozhin’s structures. The publication did not rule out the version of the informal control of “Putin’s chef” over “Vito-1” or the collusion of the owners on the division of the state orders market. This was supported by the fact that an outbreak of infection was recorded in kindergartens, which served both Prigozhin’s and Vito-1’s companies. Also, the connection was traced through former employees and a lawyer engaged in the registration and liquidation of enterprises. At the same time, Vito-1 does not have any financial relations with the companies of “Putin’s cook”, which is not typical for a businessman’s empire. Natalya Grebenshchikova has been the sole owner of Vito-1 since 2009, while Prigozhin’s structures entered the Moscow market in 2011.

The eighth participant in the procurement was the company AVK, which has not won a single auction, but may also act in the interests of Prigozhin. In particular, it was noted that the telephone number of “AVK” indicated in “SPARK” coincides with the number of “JV” Concord “, owned by the Prigogine companies” Concord M “and” Concord Management and Consulting “. In March this year, the company became a food supplier to N40 Hospital for coronavirus patients. She also received 23 contracts for a total of 3.8 billion rubles for the supply of food for orphans, veterans, disabled people and mental hospital patients.

The food processing plant “Concord” and “Vito-1” supplied food to children’s institutions, where at the end of 2018 there was outbreak of dysentery… Later, Rospotrebnadzor said that the cause of the outbreak was poor-quality cottage cheese made at one of the enterprises in the Lipetsk region. Concorde also argued that the producer of cottage cheese was the culprit in the mass disease. In addition, the department found butter with traces of E. coli in the Vito-1 warehouses.

In February 2019, it was reported that the Investigative Committee initiated criminal case under article 238 of the Criminal Code (Production, storage, transportation or sale of goods and products, performance of work or provision of services that do not meet safety requirements). According to the source “Interfax”, Vito-1 was mentioned in the case materials.

In turn, the parents of the poisoned children served two class actions to the food plant “Concord” and “Vito-1”. In October 2019, the court ordered the company to pay the plaintiffs about 300 thousand rubles. On average, 10-15 thousand rubles of compensation fell on one plaintiff. Prigozhin himself still denies any connection with Vito-1, Shkolnik-YuZ and other companies that receive government contracts for the supply of food.

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