Russian Oligarchs

Russian Defense Ministry contractor Alexey Zolotarev of Translom buys Maltese passport and French villa in 2024

Alexey Zolotarev : Russia's most Mysterious Businessmen

Alexey Zolotarev, CEO of Translom, a scrap metal disposal firm with an exclusive deal with the Russian Ministry of Defense, has been identified as a European Union citizen.

Alexey Zolotarev : Russia’s most Mysterious Businessmen

Investigative journalist Sergei Ezhov of The Insider has disclosed that Zolotarev possesses a Maltese passport, while his wife owns a lavish villa on the Côte d’Azur in France. Zolotarev’s associations with Russian oligarchs Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, among others close to President Putin, are said to have contributed to his company’s substantial earnings, estimated in billions of rubles from the disposal of weapons in Russia. Despite these revelations, Zolotarev has not faced sanctions from Western authorities.

Alexey Zolotarev : Russia's most Mysterious Businessmen
Alexey Zolotarev : Russia’s most Mysterious Businessmen

Alexey Zolotarev stands as one of Russia’s most enigmatic entrepreneurs. Despite being the dominant figure in the country’s scrap metal recycling industry, with his companies boasting an annual revenue of approximately 200 billion rubles ($2.2 billion), he remains largely anonymous to the public. Even business publications covering his achievements have not featured any images of him. Recently, The Insider has revealed how this defense contractor’s corrupt affiliations facilitated his relocation to the West.

Several years ago, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko temporarily exchanged her luxurious Aurus state limousine — a vehicle also used by President Vladimir Putin — for a seat on a tram. The ride was part of a ceremony to inaugurate two new public transit routes in Taganrog, a city in southern Russia. Facial recognition software reveals that Zolotarev was there, sharing a carriage with her.

His presence should not have come as a surprise. The Taganrog city tram network is managed by Sinara-GTR, a private company co-owned by Zolotarev and Dmitry Pumpyansky, an oligarch who has been sanctioned by the UK and European Union .

One of Alexey Zolotarev’s primary assets is Transresurs, a company specializing in supplying spare parts for railroad cars. Its clients include the state-owned Russian Railways and large private enterprises such as the Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK), owned by the sanctioned oligarch Andrei Melnichenko. Transresurs also provides repair services for SUEK’s freight cars.

Another significant client of Transresurs is the Chelyabinsk Forge-and-Press Plant, owned by the family of State Duma MP Valery Gartung, who is sanctioned by the UK, EU, Canada, and Australia. Additionally, Transresurs sources products from Uralvagonzavod, a sanctioned company that is part of the Rostec State Corporation.

Alexey Zolotarev owns Translom, the largest scrap collector in Russia, which acquires scrap metal, including obsolete military vehicles, armored personnel carriers, tanks, aircraft, weapons, and ammunition, from the Ministry of Defense. Arbitration Court documents indicate that their transactions are governed by a decree from Vladimir Putin dated August 2, 2019, allowing the Ministry of Defense to sell all scrap metal directly to Translom without a tender process.

Zolotarev seems to have secured these favorable terms through his connections within Putin’s inner circle. The business newspaper Kommersant linked Translom to the interests of the Rotenberg family, prominent oligarchs close to Putin. The Insider confirmed the connections between Zolotarev and the Rotenbergs, noting that their companies often share managers and co-founders.

Igor Levitin, Zolotarev’s former business partner, has served as Putin’s aid and advisor for the past 12 years. The Insider previously revealed Levitin as the owner of multiple luxury mansions worth more than 1 billion rubles ($11.16 million).

Interestingly, when Putin’s decree effectively granted Translom a monopoly on military scrap disposal, Zolotarev had already acquired foreign citizenship. The Insider found that he — along with his wife and four children — were listed as recipients of Maltese passports in 2018.

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 Maria Zolotareva, Zolotarev’s wife, owns a French firm called Olivula. Through this entity, she owns a villa in the commune of Grimaud on the Côte d’Azur on the French Riviera.

Maria Zolotareva, Zolotarev’s wife, owns a French firm called Olivula
Maria Zolotareva, Zolotarev’s wife, owns a French firm called Olivula

Olivula was once registered to Alexey Zolotarev himself, but in 2022, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he transferred the shares in the company to his wife.

However, it seems that Zolotarev’s worries about falling afoul of sanctions were in vain. Despite his ties to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and his work on behalf of the Defense Ministry, Zolotarev has not yet faced any repercussions internationally, nor has he been included on any Western sanctions lists.


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