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CORRUPTION

The Russian Defense Ministry invests in Lithuania. How Shoigu mistress's money ended up in Vilnius

A man named Adolfas Kaminskas is little known not only in Russia, but also in his native Lithuania. His modest business, Motoideja, selling mopeds and spare parts, had not been bringing in much income. But a few years ago, he became fantastically rich, eventually becoming the beneficiary of several Lithuanian businesses with assets worth nearly 20 million euros in several parts of the Lithuanian capital. The sudden enrichment coincided with Kaminskas's marriage to Yelena Shebunova, the mother of Sergei Shoigu's illegitimate children, who made millions from Defense Ministry contracts. The couple had been investing heavily in Lithuania until the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This is a joint piece by The Insider (Sergey Yezhov) and Siena/OCCRP (Šarūnas Černiauskas)

ALL CARDS
  • The birth of money

  • The guy came to success

  • Investments in Lithuania

  • War changes plans

  • «We don't check those things»

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Kaminskas has never been a millionaire. His only business was Motoideja, a small store founded in 2004 in a Soviet-era residential neighborhood in Vilnius that sold mopeds and motorcycle parts. In its latest annual report, Motoideja disclosed its sales for 2019 and 2020. The total revenue was 94 euros. The store told us that Kaminskas no longer owns it, and that they know him but haven't seen him in years because he moved to Russia.

In Russia, he found his love, Yelena Shebunova (now Yelena Kaminskas), a former flight attendant. As The Insider reported in 2019, Shebunova had an affair and children with Sergei Shoigu. It so happened that Shebunova earned her fortune from government contracts related to the Ministry of Emergencies (at the time when Shoigu was at the head of it) and the Ministry of Defense.

Elena Shebunova
Elena Shebunova

The birth of money

Elena Kaminskas (Shebunova), 49, began her career as a flight attendant for the Ministry of Emergencies (EMERCOM). In 2001, she had a son, Danila, who was given the patronymic Sergeyevich, after his father, acting Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Danila Shebunov
Danila Shebunov

In 2008, Elena Kaminskas had a daughter, Daria, who also received the patronymic Sergeyevna. Shoigu headed the Ministry of Emergencies at the time.

At the same time, Shebunova became a co-owner of businesses that received state contracts from the Ministry of Emergencies. Later, when Shoigu became Minister of Defense, Elena's companies also began making money on deals with the military. Kaminskas (Shebunova) started her own company Lega-Pishchevik in 2003. This firm was engaged in supplying food to the Ministry of Emergencies and later to the Ministry of Defense. Lega-Pishchevik made 121.3 million rubles (about €2 million at the current exchange rate) from government contracts. In 2022, the firm was liquidated. Kaminskas (Shebunova) could not have owned any significant capital for the initial investment in the business. According to the leaks from the Federal Tax Service database we examined, she was earning earned an average of 40,000 rubles a year (about $1,400 a year at the then exchange rate) in 1999-2001 at the Ministry of Emergencies.

In 2014, Shebunova co-founded Spetsstroykonstruktsiya LLC. The company received 4.3 billion rubles (about €68.5 million at the current exchange rate) from the state enterprise Main Military Construction Directorate No. 12. The contracts mainly concerned supplies of finishing materials for the construction of military facilities belonging to the Ministry of Defense.

In 2015, Shebunova bought a 200-hectare land plot in the elite village of Zhukovka near Moscow. She also owned a mansion (1,196 square meters). There are several other buildings on the plot with a total area of 1,128 square meters. This mansion's value is estimated at 1.5 billion rubles (€24 million at the current exchange rate).

Shebunova's mansion in Zhukovka
Shebunova's mansion in Zhukovka

Around 2017, according to The Insider, the romantic relationship between Shebunova and Shoigu ended. Soon after, Elena got together with Adolfas Kaminskas. She changed her last name in the Russian legal entities database from Shebunova to Kaminskas in 2019, but the marriage could have been officially concluded earlier.

The guy came to success

In 2019, Adolfas Kaminskas became the owner of a Mercedes-Benz, GL350 BLUETEC 4MATIC, according to the Moscow State Traffic Police database. The previous owner of the car was Galina Akhmetova, Shebunova's business partner and confidante.

Adolfas Kaminskas (right)  Greta Skaraitienė / BNS
Adolfas Kaminskas (right) Greta Skaraitienė / BNS

According to the data obtained from the Rosreestr, Shebunova gifted her husband a real estate in Zhukovka in 2020. On October 5, 2022, Adolfas Kaminskas returned the property to his wife under a deed of gift.

The only firm owned by Adolfas Kaminskas in Russia is called A.E. Invest. It was founded in August 2019 and registered at the location of the restaurant owned by Kaminskas' wife in Moscow (10 Minskaya Street). The authorized capital of A.E. Invest is 1 million rubles (€16,000). According to its financial statements, the company ended 2020 and 2021 with losses: 4 and 4.8 million rubles, respectively (€64,000 and €76,000).

In 2021 Adolfas Kaminskas also registered as an individual entrepreneur (the main activity being “purchase and sale of own real estate”). Thus, he acquired all his Russian businesses only after his marriage.

Investments in Lithuania

Siena's research shows that Kaminskas began amassing his Lithuanian fortune with respectable partners. In 2017, he invested in Pandos Investicijos, a company founded by a member of a family who has had a huge impact on Lithuania's recent history. Pandos Investicijos was founded by Aigozel Gulmedova, the daughter-in-law of Yuri Borisov, a notorious Russian businessman with numerous business interests in both Lithuania and Russia. Known for his helicopter repair business, Borisov is also the cause of the presidential impeachment.

Borisov was the main sponsor of the presidential campaign that brought Rolandas Paksas, a famous airplane pilot and former mayor of Vilnius, to the most powerful office in the country in 2003. Just one year after taking office, Paksas was impeached for violating the Lithuanian constitution. The president's decision to use his exclusive power and grant Borisov Lithuanian citizenship was one of the main factors that led to Paksas' downfall.

Borisov subsequently lost his Lithuanian passport, but he never lost his interests in Lithuania, owning several businesses and an impressive real estate near Trakai, Lithuania's historic capital. Borisov's sister-in-law founded Pandos Investicijos in August 2017. A week after its creation, Kaminskas became the owner of a 25 percent stake in the company. Less than a year later, he became its sole owner. It was this company that served as Kaminskas's starting point for investments in Vilnius.

At the end of 2017, Pandos Investicijos acquired a 50% stake in 77 Laisves. The name reflects the company's core business: the construction of a house at 77 Laisves Avenue in Vilnius. In 2018, 77 Laisves reported holding assets worth 4.47 million euros.

77 Laisves office
77 Laisves office

The apartment building at 77 Laisves was erected in 2019. However, Kaminskas's company never disclosed its financial results for the year, and therefore it is impossible to determine how much money it made from the sale of dozens of new apartments.

Another business that Kaminskas began developing in 2017 is Vilnius-based Despecto. Starting with a minority stake, he became the sole owner of the company in mid-2020.

In 2018, Despecto invested in a former shopping center in a residential neighborhood in Vilnius. According to the company documentation, the value of the asset was nearly 7.9 million euros. In less than two years, the former mall was transformed into Moon Play, a new family-friendly establishment described in an official press release as “the largest leisure and entertainment center in the Baltics.”

Moon Play Entertainment Center
Moon Play Entertainment Center

According to its latest annual report, Despecto is operating at a loss, but the company has an estimated €11.42 million in assets. The company also reported almost 10 million euros in accounts payable without identifying creditors.

War changes plans

The two previously mentioned development projects are not the only ones in which Kaminskas's money was invested. In 2020, Pandos Investicijos acquired a 1-hectare plot of land on the outskirts of Vilnius.

Pandos Investicijos land plot
Pandos Investicijos land plot

Homa, the company that developed the Kaminskas residential project at 77 Laisves, has announced that it is building a warehouse on the plot. The cost of the project is reportedly 8 million euros. However, Kaminskas no longer owns all of these assets. He began selling them a few months after Russia invaded Ukraine. At that time, Kaminskas was already a Russian citizen.

Data obtained by The Insider show that Kaminskas's Russian passport was first mentioned in the Russian register in April 2022. It is unclear when exactly he obtained citizenship and whether he still has a Lithuanian passport. The new construction site with the future warehouse office is now owned by Foreksas, a company registered in August 2022. The actual owner of Foreksas is Paulius Kveselaitis, owner of the Homa Group. Kveselaitis also bought Despecto and Pandos Investicijos from Kaminskas. Both companies changed ownership at the same time, on September 15, 2022.

«We don't check those things»

In a telephone interview with Siena, Kveselaitis said he knew nothing about the origins of Kaminskas's capital or about reports of his wife's alleged affair with Shoigu. “We don't check those things. (...) That should be done by the banks, I guess they check the origin of the money,” he said.

According to Kveselaitis, Kaminskas was not the main source of funding for the development. “It was financed by the banks, Adolfas Kaminskas was not the main [source]. He was a business partner,” Kveselaitis said. He argued that Kaminskas's withdrawal from Lithuanian businesses was not a sudden decision. “We parted ways this summer. (...) We bought his interests in some of the projects you mentioned, and we are continuing on our own,” he explained.

He declined to disclose how much money Kaminskas received for the business he recently sold. “I can't comment on that. It's hard for me to say whether he made money or lost money. I can't tell you that,” Kveselaitis said. When asked if Russian capital was involved in building the property, he said he could not disclose that.

We found two numbers to call Kaminskas, one in Russia and one in Lithuania. However, none of them work any longerx`. At the time of this writing, Kaminskas has not responded to an email request for comment.

The Insider contacted Elena Kaminskas (formerly Shebunova) by phone and asked if she was helping her current husband with his investments in Vilnius. “You know, Sergei, I don't comment on my husband or anyone else's husband. Therefore, I will not answer your questions. Put it this way: I declined to comment,” she said.

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