Proclaiming himself the owner of the Russian assets of the cement giant Holcim, who left Russia, Yevgeny Kostyukevich appears in this story not as a real person, but as a character created using deepfake technology. As the Project found out , the attackers passed off the identity of this person as a businessman and owner of a fortune of $ 2 billion in order to try to re-register the Russian business of Holcim. Acquaintances of Vladimir Putin may be behind the attack on the company, the publication claims.
Kostyukevich's claims to Holcim's assets were first voiced in an interview with Forbes (it has already been removed from the publication's website, a copy is in the archive ), and later they were supported by a copy of the court decision, which he (more precisely, the one who introduced himself to them) gave Forbes. It followed from the document that in June 2022, the Leninsky District Court of Grozny decided to transfer 100% of the shares in the main assets of Holcim in Russia to Kostyukevich.
Holcim itself said that they did not know Kostyukevich, and the agreement on the assignment of debts was a fake. The company learned about the claims after the fact, when some people tried to re-register the Russian business of Holcim.
Trying to understand this story, the author of the Project investigation (then still a Forbes journalist) arranged a video interview with Kostyukevich. Here is how he described what happened:
“The opportunity to evaluate the resourcefulness of these shadowy organizers presented itself an hour after the appointed time, when the image of Kostyukevich finally appeared on the screen. From his first words, it became obvious that this was a deepfake - a photograph “animated” with the help of artificial intelligence. The absurdity of the situation was obvious, but this was not the limit. For the communication session, a very poor quality image was used - only the pupils and corners of the lips moved in Kostyukevich, and the contours of the face were as if glued to the background.
The time for this scam was not chosen by chance: as Proekt points out, after the company announced its withdrawal from Russia, a certain Rondana LLC also applied to the same Leninsky Court of Grozny, where Kostyukevich applied, in an attempt to recover from Holcim 257 million rubles. The cement holding said that they had nothing to do with Rondana. Further investigation showed that people from Rondana were at least connected with the organizers of the Kostyukevich interview and, apparently, acted in concert.
According to the "Project", acquaintances of Vladimir Putin and the entourage of Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin may be behind the attack on Holcim. In particular, we are talking about a long-term cement specialist Igor Kharchenko. Among his partners are the St. Petersburg entourage of Vladimir Putin and the team of Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who oversees the construction industry, including the restoration of Ukrainian cities captured by Russia.
The investigation of the "Project" also showed that Kharchenko's business has intersections with the structures of Magomed Musaev, the owner of the Russian Forbes. According to one version, lawyers from the RBS company, who served the business of both entrepreneurs, are to blame for this.