Usmanov denies Navalny’s allegation of illegal transfer of mansion, land to SotsGosProyekt Foundation

Alisher Usmanov file photo

MOSCOW. April 12 (Interfax) – USM Holdings founder Alisher Usmanov says he transferred a plot of land and a mansion to the SotsGosProyekt Foundation in exchange for another plot of land for his sister.

“My sister, Gulbakhor Burkhanova, […] wanted to live near me after the death of our parents. […] [Foundation head Ilya] Yeliseyev told me about Foundation projects and invited me to invest. He also told me that the Foundation was eyeing a development project next to my plot of land. […] I had long been seeking an opportunity to expand the plot, which I was living on for over 20 years, so I suggested that their land, 12 hectares, be exchanged for my sister’s plot together with a mansion located far from me,” Usmanov said in an interview published in the Wednesday issue of Vedomosti.

“We struck a deal. The Foundation let me have a large plot – 12 hectares on Rublyovka [Rublyovskoye Highway outside Moscow] – at face value, while I transferred my sister’s plot and house to SotsGosProyekt and finalized the construction, just as I promised. The cost of 12 hectares on Rublyovka on the bank of Moscow River is approximately $50 million. The 4-hectare plot I transferred cost about $15-20 million, and house was worth another $30 million. So, the deal was roughly 50/50,” Usmanov told the newspaper.

He denied all accusations by Anti-Corruption Foundation head Alexei Navalny and said he would file a defamation suit against him.

“Navalny has crossed the red line; he has actually accused me of a crime. All I can say about his statement is it’s a lie. He alleged my involvement in privatization deals and so scraped up a fortune. In fact, every asset has been procured on the secondary market. I have paid more than $400 million in taxes in Russia as an individual (including 2016 tax declaration),” Usmanov told the newspaper.

A report posted by the Anti-Corruption Foundation in early March said that Usmanov had allegedly presented a mansion and a plot of over 4 hectares in the Odintsovo district of the Moscow region as a gift to the SotsGosProyekt Foundation whose supervisory board is chaired by Ilya Yeliseyev, a former classmate of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Navalny said on Tuesday that he expected the Usmanov suit would entail police pressure on his foundation and himself.