(PatrioticPost.com)- Investigators with jailed Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation claimed last week that the Russian general overseeing the war in Ukraine has benefited from lucrative deals involving his wife’s businesses, Syrian phosphate mines, and payments from a Kremlin-linked businessman.
General Sergei Surovikin, who commanded Russian operations in Syria in the 2010s, was put in overall command of Russian forces in Ukraine on October 8 by President Vladimir Putin.
Last week, General Surovikin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced a retreat from the west bank of the Dnieper River in Ukraine’s Kherson region.
According to an investigation released last Thursday by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Surovikin may have financially benefited from his time commanding Russian forces in Syria through a complicated arrangement with Kremlin-linked businessman, Gunvor founder Gennady Timchenko.
In 2014, the US Treasury Department said Timchenko’s activities in the energy sector were “directly linked to Putin.” Treasury also claimed that Putin had investments in Gunvor and likely had access to the company’s funds.
Navalny’s investigators arrived at their findings based in large part on company and real estate records.
According to the investigators, Stroytransgaz, a Timchenko-owned construction company, gained access to two phosphate mining operations in Syria around the time Surovikin was placed in charge of operations. The company began extracting phosphates in the summer of 2017 about two years after Russia stepped up military intervention in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad.
The investigators also allege that a subsidiary of Stroytransgaz, STG Logistika, then paid the equivalent of $2 million in loans to the lumber company Argus SFK in 2020/2021. Argus was co-founded by General Surovikin’s wife.
They also claim the wife of a Stroytransgaz manager also gave Argus SFK a loan of 25 million rubles (or $412,000 US).
Based on these subsequent loans, the investigators conclude that the loans were meant as a kickback for Surovikin for business conducted when he was in command of the Russian Syrian operation.