In the scandal with Football Club “Chaika” SHELL company risks not only its reputation


by Anton Petrachenko

Recently, without any exaggeration, a historic event took place in Russia: the first criminal case on holding a rigged football match was opened. It’s all about the game that took place back in May 2019 between Football Club “Chaika” from the village of Peschanokopskoye and Novorossiysk “Chernomorets”.

As a result of the trial, several people, including the sports functionary of “Chaika”, the judge, the inspector, members of the coaching staff and the players of “Chernomorets”, came under sanctions, although not yet related to the imprisonment.

For now – because the trial of the organizers of the agreement is still pending. And it will take place, by the way, in Voronezh, away from Rostov-on-Don. The reason for this geographical diversity of the crime scene and the place of justice is called almost in plain text. It is as follows: so that the Themis and the participants in the process are not subjected to pressure from the side of the owner of FC “Chaika”, an authoritative businessman in the Don region, Andrey Chaika.

And now here are some very interesting numbers. As the investigators established, the Novorossiysk athletes were promised half a million rubles for their “services” on the field. This is the approximate equivalent of 6 thousand euros – for the third division of Russian football, a good one-time earning, even divided by six. And the other sums: it is reliably known that on one of the matches of “Chaika” – it is clear which one is meant – there were bets for 60 million rubles (over 700 thousand euros). They all did the thing, bringing to the unknown citizens more than 350 million (over 4 million euros). The profitability is amazing, but where is the connection with Shell?

The fact is that Andrey Chaika owns not only a football club. He also owns the eponymous LLC – “the leader in the wholesale supply of modern Shell lubricants for all types of equipment”. This is exactly what is indicated on the site. There is also the logo of the British-Dutch concern – after all, the Chaika company is its official distributor. Surely the security forces also repeatedly stumbled upon the image of the red and yellow Shell’s shell when they searched the entrepreneur’s office in the case of an agreement.

And here is the moment. Yes, the searches have taken place, the case has been opened, the trial will be held. But the main beneficiaries of the strange games of FC “Chaika” were out of the focus of attention of the law. Only the performers may end up in prison, but why the real tycoons are not pulled out of the shadows into the light? And why should the Themis be hiding from the influential Andrey Chaika in Voronezh, instead of substantively studying the possible involvement of the owner of the “official Shell distributor” in the illegal processes?

As far as is known, the concern itself did not comment on the involvement of its representative in the football scandal. On the one hand, this is understandable – “Chaika” is showing good sales. For example, last year the firm’s net profit amounted to 44 million rubles, which is almost half the figure for 2019. On the other hand, can’t all the advantages of Shell’s cooperation with a businessman turn into one fat minus at once? And not only reputational.

In general, the history of global business knows many instructive stories about how the largest companies suffered losses due to the contact with corruption. One can, in particular, recall the scandal of the beginning of the century – Siemens was caught in the distribution of bribes to the officials of a number of countries and was fined by the Federal Republic of Germany court for 201 million euros. A more recent collision with Daimler is also memorable, whose managers confessed to unscrupulous acts, which cost the automaker first $ 185 million in fines, and then another half a billion dollars in spending on an internal investigation. Chon Mon Gu is also not forgotten – the head of Hyundai was sentenced to three years in prison in 2007 for embezzling $ 130 million from the company’s funds, and the functionary was also accused of concluding deals unfavorable for Hyundai. One way or another, the practice of applying sanctions to the leaders of the world economy is very various, and the degree of tolerance for corruption in their business is close to zero.

It can be assumed that the chairman of Shell in Russia, Sederik Kremers,should soberly assess the situation and weigh up all the risks from cooperation with such an “official distributor”. By the way, Shell declares honesty as one of its values. So wouldn’t it be honest on the part of the concern to assess what happened on the Rostov-on-Don?