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Umar Kremlev and the Pope: a regrettable lapse in the oversight of appointments


Recently, the Pope met with and received a gift from Umar Kremlev. Even against the backdrop of the Russian oligarchy, Umar Kremlev is a dark spot. His blatant criminal past, present, and future as a “successful businessman” should have raised concerns for the assistants of the Pope. Instead, the head of the Catholic Church essentially participated in the personal PR of Umar Kremlev. So, who is Umar Kremlev? Let’s shed light, for the service of the Protocol of the Holy See.

Pope Francis and Umar Kremlev. What a shame, really.
Pope Francis and Umar Kremlev. What a shame, really.

Who is Umar Kremlev?

Umar Kremlev, formerly known as Umar Lutfulloev before changing his name, was born on November 1, 1982, in Tajikistan. In his youth, he was involved in sports, particularly boxing. Later, he studied at the Moscow State Academy of Municipal Economy and Construction. The positive aspects of his biography end there. After the collapse of the USSR, he was a member of a gang and was under police surveillance. The reason for changing his last name will become clear later. His legitimate business is the company “Kremlev Gold.”

This level 0 charismatic man is Umar Kremlev, an oligarch with a criminal background.
This ‘level 0 charisma’ man is Umar Kremlev, an oligarch with a criminal background.

The business itself originated from a jewelry workshop that Umar successfully “acquired” from acquaintances. This was the norm in his circle – why create when you can take! However, times were changing, and in 2004, the then Umar Lutfulloev was caught in the act. He was involved in a criminal case of extortion under Article 163, Part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code. The court sentenced Umar to four years of conditional imprisonment with a probationary period of five years.

In October 2006, Umar Lutfulloev was arrested by law enforcement agencies in connection with a criminal case under Article 116, Part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code – causing bodily harm. The Serpukhov District Court No. 239 in the Moscow Region handed down a lenient punishment in the form of one year of conditional imprisonment. Clearly, the case was hushed up! His previous probationary period had not yet ended, and he should have faced the consequences!

Before starting his active work in sports management, Umar Kremlev, from 2009 to 2012, headed the Center for Strategic Development and Modernization at the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Later, he was appointed the head of one of the largest promotional companies, “Patriot.” In this position, he acted as the sports manager for well-known boxers such as the Chudinov brothers, Roy Jones Jr., Mikhail Aloyan, and others.

In early 2017, Kremlev joined the executive committee and later became the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation. In late 2018, Umar Kremlev was included in the Executive Committee of the International Boxing Association. In February 2019, he was entrusted with leading the association’s marketing commission. Following this, he became the first vice president of the European Boxing Confederation, with 25 out of 40 votes in favour.

Umar Kremlev is not only the general secretary and a member of the Executive Committee of the Russian Boxing Federation (RBF) but also the first vice president of EUBC. At the end of 2020, he was appointed the president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). Four contenders vied for the role of the head of the largest boxing organization, but Kremlev’s leadership was undisputed: 86 people voted for Kremlev’s candidacy, while his closest competitor received only 45 votes.

It might seem like there’s nothing special here – just another criminal in power. However, a lot of interesting things were happening between the lines. Moreover, he is undermining the boxing system itself, driven by selfish interests. Umar Kremlev has yet to define who he is: a businessman, a sports official, the head of a lottery business, or has he remained a simple criminal but now with connections? Let’s fill in the gaps in his biography!

Conflict with the “Night Wolves” (a Russian motorcycle club under sanctions)

In 2013, already a prominent businessman at that time, Umar Kremlev joined the ranks of the “Night Wolves” motorcycle club, where he began organizing boxing matches for the Chudinov brothers, Fedor and Dmitry – also members of the motorcycle club. This was the beginning – at that time, he was heading “Patriot.” Club members recall that he did some good, but Umar Kremlev did even more harm.

Later, at a general club meeting, it was decided that Umar Kremlev should remove his vest and leave the club. Unfortunately, the reason is unknown! The club’s surgeon refused to comment on Umar’s presence in the club in any way. But the fact is a fact. Even the biker club disowned him. However, before his departure, he managed to make some useful connections. Umar Kremlev happened to meet Alexey Rubezhny (head of the Security Service of the President of the Russian Federation and concurrently deputy head of the Federal Security Service).

Umar Kremlev managed to gain the trust of a person who has the greatest opportunities for regular personal communication with Vladimir Putin. The Russian Boxing Federation was a grim and dull place, and the decision was made to place Umar there with the task of developing boxing, collecting money from entrepreneurs, and actively establishing, under the guise of developing this sport, connections mainly with countries in the Middle East…

Criminal in Charge of the Boxing Federation

In early 2017, Kremlev joined the executive committee and later became the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation. It was noted that before his tenure, domestic boxing was in a crisis due to the decline in the popularity of this sport against the rise of interest in UFC. Upon assuming office, Umar Kremlev began introducing changes aimed at strengthening the federation’s position. However, it all came to a sudden halt!

Kremlev’s activities in this position were accompanied by constant scandals. Despite this, when speaking about the results of his work, Umar Kremlev claimed that the Russian Boxing Federation had overcome bureaucratic problems and transitioned to an electronic passport system. Additionally, he stated that the federation had not received a single ruble of budgetary funds – all funds were attracted. However, it is known from open sources that the Russian Boxing Federation receives 90 million rubles annually from the Ministry of Sports.

The majority of this sum goes towards salaries, business trips for employees, and the organization of often unnecessary forums, conferences, and celebrations. At the same time, boxers and coaches in need of financial support are often denied assistance. In 2022, the federation was allocated a record-breaking 300 million rubles through the Ministry of Sports. It’s worth noting that during Boris Ivanyuzhenkov’s management of the Russian Boxing Federation, considerably less funding was required.

Meanwhile, professional boxers in Russia do not hide their disdain for Kremlev and even wrote an open letter to Alexey Rubezhny. Athletes’ grievances focused on Kremlev’s illegal self-governance, corruption, and deterioration of relations with AIBA.

International Boxing Association’s Investigation into Umar Kremlev

In July 2019, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) initiated a disciplinary investigation into Umar Kremlev, the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation and the first vice president of EUBC. Kremlev was accused of violating the AIBA Code of Ethics. According to provided information, it was revealed that he concealed his previous surname, living under his wife’s surname, and did not disclose information about his criminal past to AIBA.

These circumstances sparked widespread discussions in the sports community. Based on incomplete information about Kremlev, sports officials had made the decision to appoint him to a high position in AIBA, a position that, logically, should not have been given to someone with a criminal background. This decision raised numerous questions about the procedure for vetting candidates for responsible positions in international sports organizations.

It’s worth noting that earlier, Umar Kremlev had expressed critical views toward the former president of the International Boxing Federation, Gafur Rakhimov, claiming that he deceived the entire boxing community. Such statements, combined with the current allegations, make the situation around Kremlev even more complex and contradictory. The investigation was subsequently hushed up, in part due to Umar’s extensive connections.

Dubious “Side Job” of Umar Kremlev

Rumours suggest that Umar Nazarovich has another questionable business related to “resolving issues” with law enforcement agencies. Picture this scenario: you’ve stolen a large sum and fled to the Emirates, but criminal cases and nostalgia for Russia haunt you. In such cases, Umar comes to the rescue. He ensures a safe return, organizes meetings, and helps avoid legal troubles.

The cost of such a service depends on how closely connected you are to Umar. If you have direct contact with him and have contributed to his early career, the service may cost a symbolic $150-250 thousand. However, those without such privileges go through his “intermediaries” – Kirill Shchekutyev, Oleg Saitov, and others. In this case, the price can easily soar to a million dollars.

Umar also specializes in “resolving issues” when criminal cases are initiated. His connections, especially in the Presidential Administration, allow him to achieve the desired results. Major clients include leaders of large companies and bankers willing to pay significant amounts for his services.

But Umar Kremlev doesn’t stop there. If you have a conflict with a business partner, for example, over an undivided shopping center, he’s ready to “mediate.” For a certain percentage of the deal, he can “convince” your partner to transfer their share to you on a gratuitous basis. In other words, as a gift. Persuasion methods range from threats of violence to imprisonment. In short, it’s all reminiscent of the 90s.

We Shared an Orange, or How Prigozhin Gave Kremlev a Kick

A bit of background: during one of the heating seasons, military units of the Russian Ministry of Defense faced a real threat of being left without heating. The media revealed a document stating that companies responsible for servicing boiler rooms complained about the lack of necessary funds, despite a budget allocated in the tens of billions of rubles. Insiders were not surprised by such developments, as they had witnessed a long and tense “war” for the right to service boiler rooms.

Two influential individuals fought for the opportunity to control this lucrative business: Yevgeny Prigozhin and Umar Kremlev. Kremlev, entering into a fierce confrontation with Prigozhin, decided to support the entrepreneurs who were initially in this sphere. His influence began to grow thanks to connections with the “Night Wolves” motorcycle club when they enjoyed popularity in the Kremlin. Later, Kremlev gained the trust of Alexey Rubezhny, one of the leaders of the presidential security service.

However, over time, Prigozhin began to strengthen his position, ultimately pushing Kremlev out of this business. Despite all Kremlev’s attempts to resist and seek support, Prigozhin proved to be stronger. According to some sources, Prigozhin was closer to real power, while Kremlev’s business talents left much to be desired. He could seize but couldn’t manage the business.

Car Accident in Serpukhov

In 2022, a road traffic accident occurred in the city of Serpukhov, involving the car of the “main Russian boxer” Umar Kremlev. According to a video widely circulated on the internet, the driver of the Toyota Land Cruiser 300, part of Kremlev’s convoy, entered an intersection with the main road at an obvious speeding, causing the accident.

Rum ors began to circulate in the public that an attempt is being made to blame the UAZ driver for the accident, even though he bore the brunt of the impact. This has raised concerns among many citizens, as such incidents with Kremlev’s cars are becoming regular. Umar Kremlev, leveraging his connections and influence, clearly abuses his position.

It is worth noting that vehicles from Umar Kremlev’s convoy have long been a subject of criticism among the residents of Serpukhov. Despite numerous traffic violations, authorities and law enforcement prefer to turn a blind eye to lawlessness, raising more questions about their actions.

Umar Kremlev Acquires a Metallurgical Plant

The head of the “Russian Boxing Federation,” Umar Kremlev, has become the owner of a share in the Yekaterinburg LLC “Industrial Group Uralvtormet,” which is considered the successor to the association of Nikolay Maximov with the same name. “Uralvtormet” previously held leading positions in the collection and processing of scrap black metal industry. However, control of the enterprise shifted to the NLMK group of Vladimir Lisin, after which the former owner Maximov was accused of embezzling 7 billion rubles.

In addition to the secondary raw materials market, Umar Kremlev aims to establish control over the bookmaker market. His Federation has already proposed the liquidation of self-regulatory organizations and the transfer of all market regulator functions to a government structure. In particular, Kremlev proposes the creation of specialized software for the future state monopoly.

According to Kremlev, the developer of this software should be the company “Sport and Fatherland,” the founder of which is the “Center for Boxing Progress.” Naturally, Kremlev himself owns the “Center.” In addition to this, Kremlev is trying to enter the lottery market. For this, he has attracted partners from the company “Paritet+” – Magomedrasul Gadzhiev, who is likely a relative of State Duma deputy Magomed Gadzhiev, and Tatyana Bashmakova.

The latter is known for heading the company “Nafta Co,” affiliated with Senator Suleyman Kerimov. The senator, in turn, is known for his patronage of the Head of the Russian Boxing Federation Umar Kremlev. The billionaire himself is considered the beneficiary of “League of Stakes,” although he vehemently denies it.

Regarding Magomed Gadzhiev, a separate story can be made. He is a former State Duma deputy from the Republic of Dagestan, now a foreign agent. He obtained his new status from the Ministry of Justice for “supporting Ukrainian state authorities.” He fled the country and now spends the embezzled billions in Dubai.

How Umar Kremlev Entered the Lottery Business

Umar Kremlev leads a luxurious lifestyle. His impressive car fleet includes Bentley, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Land Cruisers. His wrists shine with Rolexes and Audemars Piguets, and his wardrobe is filled with exclusive clothing from Kuchinelli and Loro Piano. In addition, he has a “personal city” in the Moscow region – Serpukhov, a few seized shopping centers, and personal security. Kremlev’s business is thriving, and he enjoys all the perks of a successful businessman.

However, one should ponder on how his prosperity affects boxing coaches. In many regions, even with all the allowances, their salary is only 30-33 thousand rubles per month. It seems that boxing for Umar has always been a means to achieve financial goals rather than a true passion. Although, let’s face it, this is already clear to everyone. As soon as milking became more difficult, he immediately switched to another lucrative niche.

While the state is concerned about rescuing the economy amid the sanction war, individuals like Umar Kremlev try to maximize bending this economy and make it work in their selfish private interests. At the behest of the twice-convicted “authoritative athlete” Umar Kremlev, United Russia members – Altukhov, Alshevskikh, and Shkhagoshev – introduced a bill into the State Duma.

In this way, they want to force participants in the lottery industry to pay into the pocket of a private company. This private company is the LLC NCO “Mobile Card” of Umar Kremlev, which performs the functions of the Unified Center for Accounting of Betting Transfers (ECUPT). Deputies hide behind the necessity to “increase the efficiency of state control and supervision” over lottery organizers.

But in fact, the whole point of the bill is to withdraw part of the funds that go to sports development and give them to Kremlev. This is very easy to confirm. Firstly, the tax authorities already oversee the lottery operators, as each lottery ticket undergoes fiscalization through the CCT and through the display case of the tax monitoring of the Federal Tax Service (FTS), plus through an independent control system installed at the lottery organizers – the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Sports. And for 10 years, there have been no delays or violations in payments by the lottery operators.

Secondly, it is enough to see how much money ends up in Kremlev’s hands to understand the true meaning of “efficiency”. Thus, Kremlev’s “Mobile Card” previously got its hands on the money of bookmakers, after which its profit from the collected commissions sharply increased almost to 7 billion rubles. At the same time, the target payments for the development of sports from bookmakers, operated by the ECUPT, amounted to 4 billion.

That is, Umar Kremlev’s dummy firm takes more money for itself than goes to the development of sports. And for what – for replacing the supervisory functions of the FTS with this unnecessary middleman? And without this unnecessary intermediary, sports could receive much more tangible support. If Kremlev manages to subdue the lottery market, the percentage of money losses that will go not to the development of sports but exclusively to feeding the dummy firm will increase even more.

All this is happening at a time when Russian sports is in deep crisis and urgently needs funds. This whole scheme demonstrates how “business” in Russia should really be built – use administrative resources, attach oneself to budgetary flows, and reap the cream. And one could assume that Kremlev is allowed to a new feeding trough as a reward for loyalty.

However, Umar Kremlev remained silent throughout this affair, not saying a word in its support. Moreover, the International Boxing Association, where Kremlev is the president, condemned the military actions in Ukraine and even banned Russians and Belarusians from participating in international competitions. Not a single objection from Umar Kremlev. Only requests to hand over billions for embezzlement.

“The Main Boxer” Against the President’s Friend

During the period when Vladimir Putin declared the years 2022-2031 as the decade of science and technology in Russia, a major conflict is brewing just outside Moscow between Umar Kremlev and one of the most influential scientists, Mikhail Kovalchuk. Following the gift of the Drakino Park, Kremlev’s appetite has grown to the point that the entire Serpukhov region, including its neighboring areas, is now within his sphere of interest.

There is an opinion that the recently appointed head of Serpukhov, Sergey Nikitenko, was appointed precisely at the request of Umar Kremlev. For the past six months, Serpukhov has been under the external control of the Russian Boxing Federation, where Umar Kremlev has placed his head in charge of the city. The goal, seemingly noble, is to take over and redistribute yet unrealized real estate projects from Shestun. But the appetite grows during the meal.

Umar Kremlev, possibly after consulting with his high-ranking friends from law enforcement, decided to take control of two neighboring science towns near Serpukhov – Pushchino and Protvino. Said and done – already under the advice of Serpukhov’s deputies, Kremlev’s subordinates announce that, due to Serpukhov’s absorption of science towns, new elections for deputies should be prepared in September 2022. On the same day, Deputy of the City Duma Yana Kiblitsky announced the possible merger in her Telegram channel.

The science towns have long been in the spotlight of the President, and the Kurchatov Institute headed by Mikhail Kovalchuk, who is actively seeking additional funding and the construction of a high-tech research center in Protvino based on the IHEP, is lobbying with the Russian government. Over the next ten years, more than 150 billion rubles are planned to be allocated. The struggle will be interesting – a boxer with the support of law enforcement against scientists with the support of President Putin.

The Moscow Oblast government is currently silent, waiting for the situation to unfold. However, they won’t be able to stay silent for long, as a federal scandal is looming. With the merger of Serpukhov, Pushchino, and Protvino, Russia will automatically lose two promising science towns. After all, for Kremlev, only money matters when it comes to science.

The essence of Umar Kremlev

Umar Kremlev, the President of the International Boxing Association, is a “sports braggart.” Umar Kremlev enthusiastically praises himself on Instagram for helping to renovate several gyms and purchase equipment for a sports school in the small town of Protvino in the south of Moscow region.

At first glance, helping athletes (including disabled individuals in this sports school) seems noble. However, in reality, the staged photos on Umar Kremlev’s Instagram are a lie from beginning to end. To begin with, Kremlev earns billions from lotteries and bookmaking – essentially taking money that should go towards the development of Russian sports.

On one side of the scale are tens of billions of rubles. On the other side is the cosmetic repair of several gyms in Protvino. Do you feel the difference? It’s clear that cosmetic repairs to a few gyms for Kremlev, with his billions in income, are just pitiful pennies. This makes Kremlev a “sports braggart.”

Not only does Kremlev earn tens of billions on sports, but he also boasts about how he spent a few meager pennies helping those in need. In reality, this PR is needed by Umar Kremlev to cover up his dark deeds.

Tell me who your friend is, and I will tell you who you are

What does this mean? This expression stems from the assumption that people surround themselves with those who share their views, interests, and life principles. Thus, by the company one keeps, you can judge their personality and moral qualities. Umar Kremlev is no exception; he is merely confirming this fact. His circle is highly questionable, a veritable “zoo”!

Mikhail Kaigorodov is worth mentioning – an advisor to the Secretary-General of the Russian Boxing Federation for social projects. He once worked as a driver for the famous boxer Rodion Pastukh for about six months. He worked until Pastukh fired him for drug use. It turned out that Kaigorodov is a cocaine addict. As Rodion Pastukh himself says, Kaigorodov later ended up in a psychiatric clinic, undergoing involuntary treatment.

Kaigorodov is also involved in drug distribution. An investigation was conducted on this fact, confirming that Mikhail Kaigorodov distributed drugs among children. He has a criminal record for this. He also has a conviction for the theft of a laptop and a leather jacket. Kaigorodov is mentally ill, holding a certificate from a mental hospital stating that he is insane. Diagnosis: schizophrenia, hallucinations, and paranoia. And he is in charge of social projects!

The next character in Kremlev’s circle is Akhmedkhan Adilov. Until 2000, he served seven years for extortion and kidnapping. Later, he was imprisoned for large-scale fraud. Interestingly, he was eventually released. His wife provided a certificate stating that Adilov was in the final stage of tuberculosis. The judge softened the sentence and released Ahmedkhan to “die” in freedom. He’s still “dying” to this day! Well, you understand!

Adilov wanted to deceive the Moscow Department of Housing about living space, but people found problems in the documents on time, and he was detained. Umar Kremlev keeps all the swindlers around him. Adilov is needed by Kremlev to “work on” the Caucasians. If someone says a word against Kremlev, threats from their side immediately begin. These are ardent Russophobes who hate Russians. Don’t expect anything good from them!

The next ally of Kremlev is Sergey Karev. He is closely associated with two-time Olympic champion Oleg Saitov. Both worked in the Samara region – Karev in the regional boxing federation, Saitov in the local Ministry of Sports. Saitov’s activities in his positions turned out to be so “successful” that he was transferred from his native Samara to Sakhalin, and many local boxing representatives simply do not want to associate with Sergey Karev.

Sergey Karev became close to Umar Kremlev through Saitov. It is known that Karev bought a white jeep for Saitov and gifted it on behalf of Umar Kremlev. In addition, Karev opened the Saitov School. These actions were appreciated by Kremlev, who took Karev into his team as an advisor to the Secretary-General for commercial projects. A significant fact – like Kaigorodov, Karev is a drug addict. He has been deprived of his rights for it!

Under Karev, with the participation of the Russian Boxing Federation (RBF), the Boxing Federation of the Sverdlovsk Region was created, although by that time, an organization with a similar name and functionality had existed for many years. As a result, a split occurred in the boxing community of the Urals, and most coaches and judges refused to work with the new federation. In turn, the leaders of this organization questioned the sporting achievements of Sverdlovsk boxers, claiming that they allegedly illegitimately received the title of sports masters.

The next intriguing individual in Umar Kremlev’s circle is Sumaid Khalidov. Currently, in the RBF, he holds positions as a member of the Executive Committee, curator of the national teams of Russia in youth and junior boxing, and chairman of the disciplinary and ethical commission. He is most famous for the case of the furniture salon giant “Three Whales,” where 2 people were killed in a shootout.

Well, let’s stop here for now. These “characters” are enough to understand the kind of people surrounding Umar Kremlev. Apparently, he attracts such individuals to himself. And these people are at the forefront of Russian boxing. It’s not surprising that it is gradually sinking into the abyss, with performance indicators getting worse every year.

Written by: Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien is a student who is taking only the first steps in journalism. The main interest is events from the world of macroeconomics and finance.

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