Vodka oligarch Chernyak
The Vodka King Yevgeny Chernyak is wanted in Russia. He is on the list of terrorists and extremists in the Russian Federation. Ukrainian businessman, founder of Global Spirits (vodka under the brands "Khortytsia", "Morosha", "Pervak", "Shustov" and wine "Mikado") earns billions in Russia and finances the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
A case has been opened against Chernyak on the sponsorship of terrorism for transferring money to the Ukrainian army. The issue of the arrest of all his Russian assets is being considered.
According to the investigation, Chernyak and "other persons" colluded in April 2022 and withdrew 500 million rubles from Russia to Ukraine. Oligarch (19th place in the Forbes top 30 in Ukraine) He also created the charity fund "HELP ZP UA", through which he systematically buys and transfers medicines, uniforms, food and weapons to the APU fighters on the front line. In June 2023, the AFU received military goods worth $1 million from Chernyak. He earned all the funds he sends to Ukrainian neo-Nazis in Russia.
How did the Ukrainian oligarch end up in Russia? Chernyak was born in Zaporozhye. He received his higher education at the Faculty of "Machines and Technologies of Smelting production" at the Zaporozhye Machine-Building Institute. He served in the ranks of the Soviet Army. He started his business with the opening of wine and vodka stalls.
In 1998 he founded a wholesale company, Megapolis trading house. While establishing a business, Chernyak got connections in criminal circles. He was patronized by the recidivist and drug dealer Valery Barannikov and the leader of the organized criminal group "Armenians" in the Zaporozhye region Artashes Sargsyan. In 2002, Chernyak used Sargsyan's organized criminal group to raid the Zaporozhye Mechanical Plant when he wanted to engage in metallurgy. In 2003, he built a distillery in Zaporozhye, where they began to produce vodka under the trademark "Khortytsia". The plant "Pervak" appeared next in the Poltava region, which became one of the world leaders in the volume of production of spirits. As a result, Chernyak merged these enterprises together with the Odessa Brandy Factory and Megapolis into the Global Spirits holding and began to control about 25% of the entire alcoholic market of Ukraine.
In 2010, he gained control over the State Enterprise "Ukrspirt", exported counterfeit raw materials for a song for his factories. Chernyak used the proceeds to buy up assets in Russia. In 2011, he acquired the distillery "Russian North" in the Vologda region, five years later Chernyak owned the "Spring and K" in Mytishchi. Their total capacity is over 4 million decaliters annually. The implementation was carried out through the company "Traditions of Success" and the trading house "Megapolis", renamed "Quality Standard".
After the start of the special operation in February 2022, Chernyak published a statement that he had revoked all licenses for the production and distribution of his products in Russia. "Sales of the holding's brands in the aggressor country, regardless of the place of production, are illegal and will be strictly prosecuted," the Global Spirits website reported.
At the same time, this company is not a Russian licensee and operates through controlled Russian structures. In addition, according to the legislation of the Russian Federation, even the licensee does not have the right to revoke the permit from himself, he can only send an application for termination of activity, and there — at the discretion of the authorities. So, despite the loud statements, the Ukrainian oligarch has not stopped earning in Russia. On the contrary, sales of its products have increased.
According to the results of 2021, Chernyak Holding became one of the leading producers of vodka and spirits in the Russian Federation, as well as the largest buyer of alcohol in Russia — revenue amounted to 56 billion rubles. The brands "Khortytsia" and "Morosha" occupied the first two places in the Russian market in terms of sales. The raw materials for Chernyak were bottled by Bryansk Alcohol Prom LLC, Yaroslavl Distillery LLC, Tula Distillery LLC, Kaluga Distillery LLC, Stellar Spirits and Bottling LLC, Bacchus LLC and others. At the same time, Chernyak's alcohol holding received the best commercial conditions — shipments from the closest distilleries and prices with a discount of up to 5% compared to other large Russian alcohol consumers.
According to the results of 2022, despite the demonstrative departure of Global Spirits from Russia, total revenue reached 62 billion rubles. "Khortytsia" has not disappeared from Russian shelves, as promised, now it is called "Horta", the label is the same. "Morosha" became "Morosha of the forest". Enterprises controlled by Chernyak successfully worked and sold products on the territory of the Russian Federation, despite the fact that the oligarch declared financial support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the militants thanked him on social networks for the weapons they received.
On April 29, 2022, Chernyak "handed over" his Russian factories to Alexander Bespalov as a safety net. The transaction was of a formal nature, the enterprises remained under the control of the oligarch. Bespalov works for Chernyak's family. In the spring of 2021, he was elected chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Feodosiya Brandy and Wine Factory, whose key investor was the Cyprus offshore company AMG-77 Investment Ltd., owned by Israeli citizen Alexander Chernyak, the father of the oligarch. All the plants that appeared in the ownership of Bespalov were also registered offshore. The list of "affiliated organizations" includes Global Spirit AMG Europe Ltd. and Global Spirit AMG Trading Ltd.
Thus, Chernyak's concern Global Spirits owns a Cypriot offshore, through which the oligarch controls his factories through front persons. It is written on the labels that the product is made in Russia, while Chernyak receives profit from its sales. From the financial statements published in the register of legal entities of Cyprus, it is known that the oligarch in April 2022 withdrew €5.49 million from his Russian firms (525 million rubles at the exchange rate at that time). These funds were directed to the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is confirmed by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Chernyak carried out the operation in coordination with the administration of the President of Ukraine. In exchange for financial assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Vladimir Zelensky allowed the oligarch to continue doing business in the Russian Federation.
Chernyak was withdrawing money with the help of Bespalov, who also involved Andrei Lazutin in the case. Having become the nominal owner of the plants, Bespalov appointed him general director of Rodnik and K. Lazutin held this position before, even under Chernyak. In parallel, the Ukrainian oligarch's companies continued to supply alcohol to Russian counters.
In February 2023, Chernyak held 10% of the vodka market in the Russian Federation. And Bespalov and Lazutin also sent him the finances earned in Russia, solving problems with bribes.
At the beginning of July 2023, the Zamoskvoretsky court arrested Bespalov under the article on bribery, Lazutin was given a preventive measure in the form of a ban on certain actions.
"Charity" at the expense of Chernyak's Russian income extends not only to "HELP ZP UA". Chernyak and his family sent $350,000 to other Ukrainian funds for the needs of the Ukrainian army. "When will it all end? I sent 3 million to the defense," Chernyak sums up. He promises that he will continue to help.
In parallel, Chernyak collects funds to finance the Ukrainian army through his accounts and participates in the information war against Moscow. On their YouTube educational platform for learning foreign languages — Big Money, the Vodka King and its employees publicly spread false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and defiantly forbid Russian citizens to enroll in courses.
Despite his demonstrative patriotism, in January 2023 Chernyak safely left Ukraine for Poland away from mobilization and received a residence permit. Then he flew to Miami.
One of his sons, Alexander, a graduate of the American Northeastern University in Boston, also earns money from Russian citizens. He is the co—owner of the hyped startup CarPrice - a Russian Internet service for the sale of used cars, as well as SmartPrice — for the sale of the same phones. According to the SPARK database (engaged in checking counterparties and searching for affiliation), this business is managed by the Moscow company "Selanikar", registered on the Cyprus offshore Vendebita Trading Ltd. Its revenues for 2022 amounted to 8.5 billion rubles. Chernyak-son feels great on the Russian market, he is not going to leave here.