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Investigative Journalists: There Are Links Between Lukashenka’s Son And Minsk Food Services

Investigative Journalists: There Are Links Between Lukashenka’s Son And Minsk Food Services

Some Minsk food services are controlled by individuals directly or indirectly associated with his club.

The Belarusian Investigative Center (BIC), an OCCRP partner, has found that some Minsk establishments are controlled by persons in one way or another connected with the Presidential Sports Club (PSC), which is headed by Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s middle son Dzmitry.

PSC is protecting businesses and providing state privileges and benefits for them.

Previously, the BIC already reported that the family of Dzmitry, Lukashenka’s middle son, is involved in a scam worth almost $200 million – his wife Hanna Lukashenka is playing the main role there, friends and relatives receive large government contracts due to it.

Journalists have found out that some Minsk establishments are controlled by persons directly or indirectly associated with the PSC.

Dzmitry Lukashenka's brother-in-law, together with a major businessman, owns a popular Minsk restaurant.

Uladzimir Kulakou, the husband of the sister of Dzmitry Lukashenka’s wife, has headed the Tennis Club Unitary Enterprise since 2011 (judging by data from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs of Belarus), which is part of the structure of the Republican State Public Association Presidential Sports Club.

According to BIC, he also owns a 25% stake in the Podium Star company since 2015, which owns the popular Fabriq restaurant. The current co-owners of Fabriq are the family of businessman Anatol Sadouski.

The Fabriq restaurant is managed by Anatol Sadouski’s daughter Natallia Sadouskaia (Yarmolenka). In 2020, when Natalya headed the Association of Restaurateurs of Belarus, she was noticed at Lukashenka’s secret inauguration.

After meeting Kulakou, the Sadouski family started new companies or restaurants almost every year.

In September 2015, Anatol Sadouski’s son Ihar Sadouski and his mother gained possession of Stolichnaya Restoratsiya LLC and in November the company bought a stake in Restline, which later opened the Gan Bei restaurant. In December, Ihar acquired the Angels karaoke restaurant.

In October and December 2016, Stolichnaya Restoratsiya bought shares in Foodstyle and Gallery Food, which operated the Golden Coffee chain.

In March 2017, Stolichnaya Restoratsiya became a co-founder of Globus Gourmet, and in November, Tsentrokhleb LLC, which owns the establishments of the Kinza chain. In March 2018, Stolichnaya Restoratsiya became a co-owner of Gan Bei restaurants.

In the summer of 2020, Stolichnaya Restoratsiya bought a 75% stake in the OGK Stolitsa company, which owns the Grand Cafe, News Cafe, the Rosso espresso bar and the now-closed Blondes and Brunettes club.

Ivan Malko and Ilia Rybakou, Kulakou’s acquaintances from the Tennis Club, are also actively developing the restaurant business.

Ivan Malko was the director of the Tennis Club Unitary Enterprise from 2009 to 2011.

From November 2011 to May 2012, Ilia Rybakou was a co-owner of the Tennis Club (he held a 49% share) – the PSC is now 100% owner.

According to the BIC, businessmen have been cooperating since the 2000s: in 2000, Malko was the general director of Expo-Travel CJSC, and Rybakov became his deputy. In 2002, they founded their first joint company – the Turtila travel agency.

In 2005, Malko and Rybakou got interested in the restaurant business and opened OGK Stolitsa LLC, Anatol Sadouski’s son Ihar joined it in 2009.

The BRC notes that since about 2010, the restaurant business of Malko and Rybakou has taken off: in ten years they have become owners (partial or sole) of more than a dozen projects, including the Grand Cafe and News Cafe, the Rosso espresso bar, Blondes and Brunettes club.

Belarusian businessman of Lebanese origin Romeo Abdo also contributed to the development of Malko and Rybakou’s projects.

A representative from the businessman’s entourage told reporters about the friendship between Malko and Abdo. BIC reports that Malko drove Romeo Abdo’s Porsche to Lithuania in 2013, and the businessmen’s wives were friends.

According to some media reports, Abdo is connected with Lukashenka’s “wallets”: Aliaksei Aleksin, Aliaksandr Shakutin and Mikalai Varabei.

Fearing sanctions, Malko transferred part of his assets to his wife and daughter

According to BIC’s sources, Malko is living in Spain with his family now, he is still doing business in Belarus. After the 2020 rallies, the businessman transferred part of his assets to his wife (former according to documents), daughter and to the Tirmen Development registered in the BVI, indirectly connected with Romeo Abdo’s enterprises.

Malko's wife and Tirmen Development own Café de Paris, Michel café, the Balcony restaurant and Milano Café in different shares and through different companies. The daughter and Tirmen Development control a chain of French bakeries Paul. Malko himself still owns 3.1% of the shares of Polivektor LLC, which previously owned the Renaissance restaurant.

According to the BRC, Ilia Rybakou controls Malko’s businesses in Belarus and manages the companies StealthCenterPlus, Savana-Sport Trading and Venedikt Trading.

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