Capital Group Pavel Tio

The Story of a Bars

Pavel Tio is known to be an avid hunter. He owns numerous game reserves in Russia and abroad. For example, hunting grounds near the village of Ivino in the Smolensk region, registered to the company OOO Vostok. According to an extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Vostok LLC is currently 85% owned by Pavel Tio’s son German Tio, and 15% by Andrei Tokarsky, a native of Dzhambul, Kazakhstan (previously this minority share was owned by Igor Cherdintsev, Pavel Tio’s assistant on economic issues). Its general director is Sergei Shiryaev (like Pavel Tio – a native of the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan and also previously convicted of theft), another businessman of Pavel Tio. This is not the only game reserve owned by the Tio family in the Smolensk region. They also own the game reserve “Lan” in Gagarinsky district, the founder of which is the Cypriot company Forest Hill Valley Holdings Ltd. and the general director is Alexander Milishikhin. And finally, Zapad-Olen LLC (general director – Nikolai Goltsev), also located in Gagarinsky district, owned by Yug-Olen JSC (general director – also Nikolai Goltsev), whose founder is Kamila Serova (as well as Pavel Tio – a native of the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan).

Hunting is not just one of Pavel Tio’s favorite hobbies: he uses hunting to cultivate contacts with corrupt officials. To do this, he regularly arranges extremely expensive “hunting vacations” in Russia and abroad for the right people. Such vacations include not only hunting itself, but also many other types of entertainment and expensive gifts. But this is a separate topic, which we will definitely touch upon some time later.

Sometimes Tio’s hunting amusements end in scandal. For example, on November 4, 2022 in the game reserve “Vostok” a gamekeeper, an employee of the reserve, was killed by a shot from a rifle. The shooter turned out to be the prefect of the Central District of Moscow Vladimir Goverdovsky, who was hunting with Tio. We will also tell you about this interesting case in due time.

Often Tio hunts legally, purchasing licenses to shoot animals. But when the law gets in the way of satisfying his passion (for example, when it comes to specially protected animals on the verge of extinction), he doesn’t hesitate to break it. Today we will tell you about one such story.

Photo #1. Pavel Tio next to a bloody snow leopard.

In March 2015, a photo of a proud Pavel Tio next to his trophy – a bloody snow leopard – began circulating on the Internet. The snow leopard or irbis is a large predator of the feline family living in Central Asia. Currently, the number of irbis is catastrophically small, in the XX century he was included in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, the species was assigned Category I – endangered species, as well as in Annex I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Almost immediately after the photo appeared, the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Sergey Donskoy, instructed his deputy, Rinat Gizatulin, to send the photo to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. In the accompanying letter, Gizatulin asked to carry out measures stipulated by Russian legislation to confirm the authenticity of the photo, as well as to establish the possible fact of poaching, the identity of the perpetrator of the crime, the photographer, and other persons who may have been involved in the organization of illegal hunting of the red-listed animal. He noted that Russian network users identified the man in the photo as co-owner of the Capital Group company Pavel Tio, and the area resembles the mountainous regions of Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan, where this unique predator is found. In addition, Gizatulin appealed to the Russian Interpol office with a request to initiate an international investigation into the fact of killing of the animal recorded by the camera, as well as the possible involvement of Russian citizens in this “flagrant violation of international environmental legislation” and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to criminal responsibility. The Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia also instructed its subordinate institute, the All-Russian Research Institute for Nature Protection, to analyze the photo materials in order to establish the data necessary for investigators about the age, sex, and weight of the animal depicted in the photo.

After a Facebook post with a photo and a request to find a poacher-hunter was published by one of the users (the post gained 1600 likes and 4900 reposts in a short time), the users quickly found out that it was Pavel Tio and a scandal broke out.

However, Pavel Tio’s spokesperson Tatiana Alekseeva said that this photo is nothing but a computer generated image and an attempt to discredit the entrepreneur. “This is an edited photo, the outline around the head has been edited,” Alexeeva explained. – Obviously, someone used Pavel Tio’s well-known passion for hunting mountain goats,” she added. Olga Karput, Tio’s wife, said in an exclusive interview with that the scandalous photo was edited and an attempt to undermine the image of her husband, who really enjoys hunting.

Immediately afterwards, paid Internet trolls actively joined in commenting on the news about the photo – they could be immediately identified by blank pages and the same photos. The trolls, apparently well paid, defended Pavel Tio, also claiming that the photo is just a computer-generated fake.

Pavel Tio himself did not comment on the situation. However, presumably wishing to avoid an emerging international scandal and criminal liability, he asked for help from the Grad law association [file 2].

We have at our disposal the legal opinion of the lawyers of Grad. According to the documents, the company was assigned the following task – “Legal analysis of the situation related to a possible snow leopard hunt”. Grad prepared an extended list of recommendations and strategies, including “to prove that the animal is not a leopard”, “not to give explanations so as not to contribute to the establishment of the circumstances of the photo and the person who made it”, “to delay the issue of pre-investigation and preliminary investigation” in order to expire the statute of limitations. Obviously, the lawyers of Grad understood perfectly well that Tio was, indeed, a poacher – otherwise why would they have recommended delaying the investigation in order to avoid criminal liability. In the case of interviewing Tio as part of the pre-investigation, they recommended different strategies – to say that the leopard was “put to sleep” or that it was killed by another person who took the photo, or that the carcass of the dead leopard was simply found in the snow. If a criminal case is initiated, it was recommended, in particular, to “discuss the issue of amnesty.”

To further protect himself, Pavel Tio appealed to the Institute of Criminalistics of the FSB Center for Special Technology with a request to conduct an authenticity study and to establish the means of production of the photo of “a man who looks like me (Pavel Tio) together with the body of a killed animal listed in the Red Book. This appeal was motivated by the fact that “…my [Tio’s] honor and dignity were morally harmed and thus offended me” (the stylistics of Tio’s original letter have been retained).

It is obvious that Tio had some unspoken agreements with the Institute of Criminalistics, because he would not have applied to an organization whose expertise he would have had any doubts about. Now that there is ample evidence of Tio’s guilt, it would be interesting to conduct an official investigation and hold the corrupt experts accountable.

At the time, Pavel Tio managed to avoid a murder investigation into the killing of the leopard. Still, the story remained on the internet and resurfaced in July 2019 when Tio tried to refinance the mortgage with UBS Bank on his London apartment at 22 Trevor Square, apt. 6.2, London, worth £24 million.

The bank’s monitoring issued an alert about the negative press release, whereupon a bank representative sent an inquiry to Maria Pak (Tio’s personal assistant) asking her to clarify whether Pavel Tio had indeed killed a snow leopard. Pak assured the bank representative that the information was not true, which unfortunately was enough for the bank representative to ignore Pavel Tio’s poaching.

And now to the main thing – we have in our possession correspondence between Igor Cherdyntsev (former nominal co-owner of the Vostok game reserve), Vlada Tio (Pavel Tio’s ex-wife) and Pavel Tio himself, which confirm that Pavel Tio is the man in the photo. On December 18, 2011, Igor Cherdyntsev sent Pavel Tio not one but several photos from an illegal leopard hunt, including a photo that was leaked online in 2015. The next day, Pavel Tio bragged about his “achievement” to his wife, Vlada Tio. Analysis of metadata shows that the photo was taken on December 13, 2011 on a Canon PowerShot S90 camera. Moreover, there are several photos and all of them are of high resolution.

It took 4 years for the world to learn about the crime committed by Pavel Tio and another 7 years to get irrefutable evidence. Now what remains is for the perpetrator to receive the punishment he deserves.