Mijaíl Fridman (Dia) leaves his men in charge of his business in Spain

At this point in the Ukraine drama, it is unknown in Spain which lawyer will defend tycoon Mikhail Fridmanowner of the Dia supermarkets and the Russian bank Alfa Bank, when the National Court calls him to testify.

And it may be at the height of the war, and at the height of the asset freeze that the EU has imposed on him and others Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putinas the judicial investigation into the alleged emptying of the Spanish multinational software company Zed Worldwide continues.

In that case, Fridman changed his lawyer in the fall of 2019 and hired the Baker McKenzie firm, signing up for his defense the former prosecutor of the National Court and former PP lawyer in the Gürtel Jesús Santos case. But on the evening of the Wednesday when this report was being written, a spokesman for the American firm, asked about Fridman, confirmed to this newspaper that Baker McKenzie, since the 28th, “is reviewing the work he carries out for his clients in Russia for the purpose of comply with all sanctions applicable”. He did not want to mention any specific client, but he did warn: “In some cases, this review will mean our total disengagement of existing relationships & rdquor ;.

open cases

Not only the Dia supermarkets, where Fridman has 77%, link the Russian to Spain; also a criminal case in the Central Court of Instruction 6 of the National High Court, from which he seemed to get rid with a file in 2020 and that now it is reactivated in full tribulation for the invasion of Ukraine.

In February 2021, the judge Manuel Garcia Castellon considered exhausted the instruction on the alleged action as a criminal organization of Fridman and his executives to empty Zed in what in Russian mafia slang they call “raider & rdquor; (assault).

The prosecution and the Pérez Dolset family, founders of Zed, appealed. On July 5, the Criminal Chamber of that hearing ordered García Castellón to reopen the case to clarify “the true and real involvement of Mr. Fridman” in the false and fraudulent acts subjected to judicial scrutiny & rdquor ;, says the order.

Also, incidentally, to clarify or rule out whether or not Fridman benefited from some espionage of ex-commissioner Villarejo.

Putin financier

There is also no news of the challenge that Fridman’s lawyers were going to present against the sanctions to which he is being subjected.

The oligarch, owner of a fortune that Forbes tells him at 11,700 million dollars, is on the list of those sanctioned for the invasion of Ukraine as “one of the main financiers of Russia and facilitator of the circle closest to Putin & rdquor;says the decree. Putin has

“He provided material support to the Russian politicians responsible for the annexation of Crimea”, says the EU sanction decree of Fridman

aided Alfa Bank’s expansion abroad, and the bank financed Maria Putinathe eldest daughter of the Russian president, a charity project.

But the EU’s punishment does not take into consideration only social relations; politics too: in 2018, Fridman and his partner Peter Aven “They visited Washington with the unofficial mission to convey a message from the Russian government & rdquor ;: to ask for the end of the sanctions adopted against Russia after its first bite into the territory of Ukraine. Fridman “provided material support to and benefited from Russian politicians responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine,” the decree says.


Fridman and Aven have spoken out against the war in Ukraine, and the oligarch has staged his departure from Dia by leaving the board of LetterOne, the instrumental with which he took over supermarkets in February 2019.

But that happens in Luxembourg, where the investment firm is based. In Las Rozas, the town on the outskirts of Madrid where the distribution chain has its headquarters, it continues to send stephane showerRussian-American executive Bishop Fridman, who chairs the company.

Some things have changed in Dia, but a month before Putin unleashed his missiles on Ukraine. On January 28, International Food Distributor (Day) ceased to be the sole partner of Dia Retail, your internet marketer. Now it is Louxemburg Investment Company 320.

Its headquarters is an anonymous gray building on the outskirts of the Luxembourg capital, without logos or signs, four kilometers from the noble districts of the center, where LetterOne, in another gray building, has its headquarters.

There has been an internal change in Dia Retail with the transfer of power from Spain to Luxembourg, but not in the engine of its sales website: its gears continue to move to observe customers and make profiles commercial cookies from mail.ru and vandex.ru, based in Moscow.


A Russian oligarch from Putin’s times is defined not only by his millions, but also by being part of what the US Treasury Department, in its list of sanctions, calls “parastatal network & rdquor; of men and companies. To what extent the entry of a Russian oligarch into the economy of a country also implies the entry of a part of Putin’s power, the investigations of the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Police on the ruin of Zed give an idea.

Alexander Kolokoltsev, Fridman’s partner in Zed’s Spanish adventure, is the son of the Russian Interior Minister.

Data, for example, about how you could influence the bankruptcy Alexander Kolokoltsev’s profitowner of the Moscow content provider Funbox, rewarded with overpayments allegedly ordered by Fridman.

Perhaps the tycoon did not lack reasons: Alexander is the son of the Russian Police General Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who will celebrate ten years as Minister of the Interior with Putin. Three Russian investigative journalists had their homes arrested and searched last summer while investigating the fortune of the minister’s son.

But the Putinist establishment around Fridman has not only appeared in Spain with those sullen faces. There has also been a glamorous and smiling relationship path, recounted by one of Zed’s owners, Patricia Perez Dolset, to the Criminal Chamber of the National High Court. Russian telecommunications firm VimpelCom, he has recounted, entered Zed in 2010 “through the daughter of the President of Uzbekistanwho resides in Madrid & rdquor ;, considers one of the cars that ordered to retake the case.

And not only at parties in Madrid, but also at events in Barcelona, ​​he walked Gulnara Karimovaex´lotica attraction of the moment, daughter of Islom Karimov, Uzbek President to which John Charles I and the Spanish diplomacy pampered in each visit.

political signing

But the times are long gone when Fridman and his lieutenants were introduced by Gugusha, as his friends call her, in good circles in Spain. Fridman moved by himself by signing a former Spanish political official to Dia’s council. The Murcian Economist Jaime García.-Legazwho was Secretary of State for Trade from December 2011 to November 2016, and one of the young Liberal advisers to Aznar’s FAES and Rajoy’s governmentssits on Dia’s board since April 2019, shortly after Fridman became the master.

Called by this newspaper, García-Legaz has declined to comment on the Russian and his proximity to Putin. Yes, he has denied the former Secretary of State the Russophilia attributed to him in the competition.

Indeed, in 1999, early in his career, he specialized in Russian telecommunications sector as a consultant to the OECD. But the only trip he made to Russia as part of the Government -later he would also go to Saint Petersburg in a delegation to support the Spanish candidacy for the Olympic Games- was a visit co-organized by his secretariat to expand the Spain Brand and seek business.

On that trip to Russia, it was necessary to take advantage of the “excellent relations” of King Juan Carlos with Putin, said Foreign Affairs.

On July 18, 2012, Juan Carlos I landed in Moscow, the foreign ministers, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margalloand Industry, Jose Manuel Soria, García-Legaz and leaders of Indra, Talgo, CAF, FCC, Técnicas Reunidas, Repsol, Iberdola OHL and Maxam. They had been attracted to Russia by the unfulfilled plans of an AVE beyond the Urals for 17,000 million euros, and also 165,000 million in investments planned for the urban expansion of Moscow.

had to take advantage “the excellent relations” of the King with Putin, said then a note from Foreign Affairs. The Russian president presented the monarch on that tour with the Russian State Prize for his role in the Transition.

Related news

The relations of the Government of Spain with Putin are not what they were, and García-Legaz does not plan to return to politics, now that he is approaching Madrid Nunez Feijoo. Like Ducharme, he too remains on Dia’s board as one of Fridman’s men, even though the Russian has officially left LetterOne.

Such a large majority in capital does not disappear at a stroke of the pen, no matter how much the consequences of a bloody invasion require it. Especially if in the case being investigated by García Castellón Houdini’s ability is credited with one of the accusations attributed to him: “Mikhail Fridman is the “man in the back” that, on the one hand, denies the effective control of the company for not being the administrator, when it is clearly proven that he is not only the leader and majority owner, but also uses concealment maneuvers & rdquor ;, collects one of the cars of the National Court .

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