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Yevgeny Chichvarkin

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Yevgeny Chichvarkin


Antonina Chichvarkina

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Full Name
Yevgeny Alexandrovich Chichvarkin

10 September 1974 (age 49) (
Moscow, Soviet Union

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Yevgeny Alexandrovich Chichvarkin (Russian: Евге́ний Алекса́ндрович Чичва́ркин; born 10 September 1974 in Moscow) is a Russian entrepreneur who founded the largest Russian mobile phone retailer, Yevroset. Due to this business, he became the richest man under 35 of his country, with an approximatively $1.6 billion wealth. He was a member of the Right Cause political party and was expected to become chairman of its Moscow section. Chichvarkin currently lives in London, from where he has campaigned against corruption in Russia and president Vladimir Putin personally. On August 2012 he launched his new wine store Hedonism Wines in London's South Audley Street.


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Chichvarkin was born in Saint-Petersburg, former Leningrad, from mother Lyudmila of Russian tatar descent and father Aleksandr from Moscow. His father was a pilot and his mother was an economist working for the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade; during his childhood, the family moved to Moscow.

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From 1991 to 1996 Chichvarkin studied at the State Academy of Management, as well as earning money trading on Moscow flea markets. After graduating Chichvarkin started studying for a PhD (Kandidat), which he abandoned in 1998. In 1997 Chichvarkin and his friend Timur Artemiev started a business named Yevroset to sell mobile phones. In 2002 Yevroset became one of the top three Moscow mobile phone retailers, with 92 retail outlets. The company developed a franchising business model, opening 100 more outlets in 2002, 117 more outlets in 2003, 800 more outlets in 2004, 1934 more outlets in 2005, etc. In 2007 they had 5156 outlets in 12 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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In November 2008 Chichvarkin jointed Right Cause, a Russian liberal democratic political party founded on 16 November 2008 as a merger of the Union of Right Forces, Civilian Power and the Democratic Party of Russia.

Problems with the Government

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In August 2005 Chichvarkin was accused of involvement in the illegal import of a $100 million shipment of mobile phones, but the accusations were eventually dropped. In March 2006 a large consignment of Motorola mobile phones shipped for Chichvarkin was seized on the pretext that their emissions of microwave radiation exceeded the levels permitted by Russian health regulations. After those cases Chichvarkin accused Russian law-enforcement agencies of corporate raiding.

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In March 2007 Chichvarkin was mentioned by the media in connection with the case of Dmitry Sidorov, the founder Iled M, which was accused of large scale tax avoidance. Iled M had sold mobile phones to Yevroset as well as to other retailers. In August 2007 the apartments of many Yevroset employees were searched by police. Some experts considered the searches to be connected with the Idel M case, while other saw it as a continuation of Motorola case. Others still viewed it as a marketing ploy by Yevroset themselves (the last chance to buy their phones before they are confiscated), others as a siloviks' revenge on Chichvarkin.

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In September 2008 the headquarters of Yevroset were searched in connection with its handling of Andrey Vlaskin, a Yevroset employee who in 2003 stole mobile phones worth around 20 million Russian roubles (approximately US$1 million). Vlaskin was caught by Yevroset security in Tambov, moved to Moscow to a Yevroset-owned apartment and after some time agreed to compensate Yevroset for their losses. While between 2004 and 2007 Yevroset and Vlaskin apparently had no claims on each other, in 2008 Yevroset was accused of kidnapping, illegal imprisonment and extortion. On 21 September 2008 Chichvarkin sold 100% of Yevroset stock to Alexander Mamut. The volume of the transaction was US$400 million. In January 2009 Chichvarkin moved to United Kingdom and on 23 January 2009 on Russian federal search list in connection with the Vlaskin case. On 28 January the Basmanny Court of Moscow approved Chichvarkin's arrest (in absentia). On 12 March 2009 his details were passed to Interpol. On 13 April 2009 the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General of Russia noticed that a key investigator of Chichvarkin's case, Vladimir Knyazyev, had been previously been sentenced for stealing a large consignment of mobile phones from Chichvarkin's Yevroset. During the 2007 contraband case he had forged the act of destroying the phones confiscated as evidence. The investigation committee demanded the dismissal of Knyazyev because of the conflict of interest but their demands were refused. On 17 November 2010 the jury found all the defendants in the Vlaskin case not guilty. The prosecution's appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected on 20 January 2011 and Chichvarkin's indictment was withdrawn a few days later. His lawyer Yuri Gervis noted that Chichvarkin is still worried that he might be charged again in connection with the 2005 contraband case. While in London Chichvarkin has participated in protests highlighting the dangers of conducting business in Russia, referring to the cases of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Sergei Magnitsky.

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