Leading Business Newspaper Vedomosti Sold to Politically Entangled Businessmen: Report

The owner of Vedomosti, one of Russia’s most prominent business newspapers, media manager Demyan Kudryavtsev and his partners, have found potential buyers for the newspaper Vedomosti, Meduza reports.

On Wednesday, the newspaper’s owners signed an agreement expressing their intention to sell, and according to Meduza’s sources, ownership of Vedomosti may pass to Alexey Golubovich, the founder of the investment company Arbat Capital, and to Nikolai Zyatkov, the former editor-in-chief of Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts) and current president of the tabloid publisher Nasha Versiya (Our Take).

Demyan Kudryavtsev and two of his business partners, Vladimir Voronov and Martin Pompadur, purchased the business newspaper Vedomosti in 2015. Now, two sources told Meduza, the entrepreneurs are nearing a sale agreement for the outlet. One of the sources learned of the forthcoming sale from the newspaper’s buyers, and the other received information about the deal from the sellers.

About a year ago, the business newspaper Kommersant reported that Vedomosti would likely be sold for approximately the same price assigned to it in 2015; that is, 15 million euros ($16.8 million). One of our own sources confirmed that the sum in question is “no less than that.”

Alexey Golubovich owns the investment firm Arbat Capital, which he founded in 2007. In the early 1990s, he worked publishing finance papers and later took over the investment branch of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Menatep banking group while working as a top manager at Khodorkovsky’s ill-fated Yukos oil company. In 2004, Golubovich was federally and internationally wanted in a fraud case that was heard separately from the case against Yukos itself. In early 2007, Golubovich voluntarily returned to Moscow. According to Kommersant, Russian prosecutors had promised to drop the charges against the investor in exchange for testimony against Yukos shareholders as well as Khodorkovsky himself. Golubovich was subsequently listed as a witness in the Russian government’s second case against Yukos. At first, Golubovich’s testimony appeared to bolster the defense, but just a day into his hearings, the investor walked back his previous statements and gave new testimony that favored the prosecution.

Nikolai Zyatkov was editor-in-chief at the weekly newspaper Arguments and Facts from 2002 through 2016. In 2002, Zyatkov was also the paper’s co-owner, holding a 24-percent share in its associated joint-stock company. A few years later, however, 99 percent of Arguments and Facts was purchased by Promsvyazbank, itself owned by the wealthy Ananyev brothers, Alexey and Dmitry. Both are currently wanted in an embezzlement case involving their own bank and have hidden abroad rather than facing prosecution in Russia; Arguments and Facts was ultimately incorporated into the Ananyevs’ Media3 group.

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