Yuri Antipov. The metallurgical king and a pest. He sent ferroalloys for the defense industry to the West and for Ukraine

Yuri Antipov. The metallurgical king and a pest. He sent ferroalloys for the defense industry to the West and for Ukraine

The oligarch paid for the betrayal with factories

The former owner of the Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant (CHEMK), Yuri Antipov, bet on the West and lost. For betrayal and scams, the billionaire from the Forbes list paid with factories. 

In February 2024, the court, at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, transferred to the state three of Antipov's largest enterprises that work for the defense industry with annual revenues of 168 billion rubles — CHEMK, Kuznetsk Ferroalloys and the Serov Ferroalloy Plant. Antipov and his wife Lyudmila tried to protest, filed a lawsuit with the arbitration Court of Appeal, but were refused. One of the reasons is the illegality of privatization, the second is the sale of strategic raw materials abroad to the detriment of Russia. 

The acquisition story is typical for the 90s - early 2000s, when strategic enterprises of the country were bought up for a song. Antipov went into business back in the late 80s, creating the Energia cooperative together with his friend Alexander Aristov. And then the partners took the opportunity to build a multidisciplinary business empire.  In 1995, the agricultural company "Ariant" appeared. In 1996, the Perant company was registered, which produced meat products from the raw materials of the Krasnogorsk pig complex. In 2000, the owners of Perant bought shares from local employees. According to the same principle, a nearby feed mill was purchased. Then a champagne factory appeared, the partners bought thousands of hectares of vineyards and wineries on the Taman Peninsula in the Kuban.

Antipov and Aristov also used the principle of buying shares for a song in relation to the largest ferroalloy plant in Russia (production of high—quality steel for military equipment — from aircraft engines to tank barrels) - CHEMK, which was privatized. In 1996, they received a controlling stake. In 2003, in just six months, the assets of the Novokuznetsk plant in the Kemerovo region, Kuznetsk Ferroalloys, were bought up. At the end of 2014, the Serov Ferroalloy Plant in the Sverdlovsk region became the property of Antipov and Aristov.  

As a result, CHEMK, the Serov Ferroalloy Plant, and Kuznetsk Ferroalloys were merged into the Ural-Siberian Metallurgical Company (USMK). Katav-Ivanovsky Foundry and Metaglomerate in the Chelyabinsk region were also added to them.  

USMC became the main structure of the business empire, was the owner not only of metallurgical plants, but also of the agricultural firm Ariant, Kuban-Vino, and other enterprises. In the summer of 2020, the partners announced the division of the business empire. As a result, Antipov was given metallurgical plants and a raw material base: the Central chromite ore deposit in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug; manganese ore in Komi; mines in the Perm Region, Sverdlovsk and Kemerovo regions. And this is not counting the license for the development of the Southwestern and Western deposits, the Southern and Yangai ore fields. 

Up to 90% of ferroalloy production in the country turned out to be under Antipov's control. He was getting rich, expanding his own "empire", but at the same time he forgot on whose territory it was located: He withdrew capital from Russia, sending profits to foreign accounts, and with the beginning of his campaign he parasitized in favor of the enemy. 

Moreover, Antipov's metallurgical empire received huge subsidies from the state, ignoring, among other things, long-standing promises. For example, CHEMK was supposed to reduce harmful emissions, however, according to the governor of the Chelyabinsk Region Alexey Texler, the commitments made on electrode production were not fulfilled. 

In November 2022, Antipov registered JSC Etalon Company, which managed all the assets of the family. The USMC was abolished in June 2023. What all this was done for became known after the Prosecutor General's Office demanded that the factories be taken away from Antipov and returned to the state. Among the reasons mentioned is not only the illegality of privatization, but also the control of residents of unfriendly countries, including the Canadian-Swiss company RFA International.

"Products manufactured by factories under their control and intended for the production of weapons and ammunition (ferroalloys), to the detriment of national interests, are exported at an undervalued cost to the United States, France and Great Britain, which are pursuing an aggressive policy towards the Russian Federation and supplying weapons to Ukraine. At the same time, assets of enterprises Antipov and related persons are withdrawn to their accounts under the guise of dividends and loans received from factories," the Prosecutor General's Office said.

At the same time, according to the testimony of the head of Rostec, Sergey Chemezov, prices were constantly raised for the products they sold to the Russian state corporation. "We are already saying, 'Listen, it's time to finish,'" Chemezov was quoted by RBC as saying, adding that without these products, Russia will not be able to build "neither planes, nor tanks, nor guns."  

As for capital withdrawal scams, according to USMC reports, Antipov received a loan from the company in the amount of 19.9 billion in 2021, and 1.23 billion in 2022. In addition, he took on the debt for the loan of Sergei's son for 2.23 billion rubles. And then he simply signed a debt forgiveness agreement for rubles 25.8 billion. By the end of 2022, there was no debt. 

Sergey's son, whose debt Antipov took over and then "forgave", is responsible for the foreign segment of the family business. He is the founder of Ferronix Inc., incorporated in February 2001 in the U.S. state of Indiana. The company is one of the leading suppliers of ferroalloys in the USA and Canada. The annual sales volume of products exceeds 120 thousand tons. The company actively sells a wide range of ferroalloys, and has organized 52 large shipments of products in 2022-2023 alone. This is mainly steel, which is allegedly supplied by the Netherlands and Canada.  A representative office of Ferronix Inc is also registered in Sweden. 

Antipov's second son, Alexey, helps Sergei. Both brothers have long acquired not only US citizenship, but also luxurious mansions in this country.  Alexey has a three-storey estate worth $ 5 million with mahogany stairs in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, with an area of more than 1 thousand square meters. Sergey lives next door in a $1 million mansion — in the former farmhouse of Phil Dressler, an American actor of the early twentieth century. 

In addition, the Antipov family has real estate in Chicago itself and in Las Vegas, which is also not surprising, given the astronomical revenue of the metallurgical business.    

As a result, the Prosecutor General's Office demanded to invalidate the agreement dated October 19, 2022 on debt forgiveness concluded between USMC and Antipov. In March 2024, the agency requested to recover from Antipov 25.83 billion rubles — the "illegal enrichment" of the businessman through transactions with USMC was estimated at this amount. However, in April, the amount was increased to 105 billion rubles and among the demands was the confiscation of Aristov's agro—industrial assets - 100% shares of Kuban-Vino LLC, Yuzhnaya Agrofirma LLC, Ariant Agrofirma LLC, CPI-Ariant LLC. 

The court justified this by saying that illegal enrichment with the help of "ferroalloy" assets allowed the acquisition of all of the above assets. The request of the Prosecutor General's Office was satisfied. The trial in Russia was proceeding at an unprecedented speed. According to lawyers, immediate execution is an exceptional measure, the adoption of which is allowed in special circumstances and in the presence of irrefutable evidence.  

Antipov, apparently, was preparing to leave Russia. According to SPARK, he was the owner of 47 legal entities over the years. However, by 2024, Antipov had de jure withdrawn from all businesses, and most of them had long been liquidated. 

Even two sole proprietors have been closed.  This fact, as well as fraud with loans, followed by the withdrawal of billions to foreign accounts, indicate that Antipov was preparing a powerful financial cushion and flight abroad. However, he did not manage to leave. According to some reports, he was charged with a recognizance not to leave. Perhaps he will pay for his betrayal and greed not only with factories, but with years of his life that he will spend in prison.