The Crimea-based PMC Convoy received 437.5 million rubles (€4.37 million) worth of donations in less than two months of late 2022, the investigative project Dossier Centre reported after looking into the PMC’s banking data.
Over 300 million rubles came from Russia’s VTB bank and AO Sanatorium Ai-Petri, a company affiliated with oligarch Arkady Rotenberg. The latter company belonged to the Republic of Crimea until 2018, when its ownership was transferred to Arkady Rotenberg, who now controls it through his managing business.
AO Sanatorium Ai-Petri donated 120 million rubles (€1.2 million) to PMC Convoy in October 2022 — a hefty sum for a company that only earned 25.8 million rubles (€258,000) in 2022, according to data from the SPARK analytical system.
In late September 2022, the PMC received 100 million rubles (€1 million) from VTB’s charity foundation VTB Strana and another 100 million rubles soon afterwards — this time directly from a VTB account.
Another 109 million rubles came from the Novosibirsk firm Promresurs, which trades in solid fuel. The Dossier Centre did not find any ties of Promresurs with Crimea. The project discovered, however, that the company had not received a single state contract in the last five years and was in the red in 2022 with a loss of 24.7 million rubles (€247,000). In a comment for the Dossier Centre, Vadim Prisyazhnyuk, one of Promresurs’ owners, did not disclose the reasons behind the donation, but assured that the money went “to a noble cause”.
Another sponsor of the PMC is the Moscow-based LLC Coal Trading. In November 2022, the company — whose annual profit is a mere 14 million rubles (€140,000) — donated 8 million rubles to Convoy.
Legally, PMC Convoy consists of two companies — the St. Petersburg-based Convoy Cossack Society and the Convoy Military Security Company. Donations from state and state-affiliated organisations go to the account of the Cossack society and are then transferred to the military security company. The mercenaries use these funds to acquire body armour, uniforms, tents, and medical equipment.
The PMC is headed by Konstantin Pikalov, a former member of the Wagner Group. This is no exception — IStories found out from a former Convoy mercenary that the entire command of the PMC is made up of Wagner Group fighters.
The governor of annexed Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, acknowledged the existence of Convoy for the first time in March 2023.