Born in 1962 in Leningrad. In 1984 he graduated from Leningrad State Technological Institute of Pulp and Paper Industry. On finishing his postgraduate studies he worked in the Research Institute research and manufacturing association “Gidrolizprom"
1990 Head of technical department JV “Tehnoferm Engineering”
In 1992 together with partners he founded a timber company “Ilim Pulp”, became its CEO
2001 Chairman of “Ilim Pulp”
2007 Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Ilim” Group
In summer of 1990 Soviet-American joint venture "Tehnoferm Engineering" came to the research and manufacturing association “Gidrolizprom” to recruit staff to academic institutions. So Smushkin became the head of the technical department at the enterprise. Having worked in the pulp and paper industry, Smushkin created together with the partners “Ilim Pulp Enterprise” CJSC.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 19.03.2002
Future partners of Smushkin brothers Boris and Mikhail Zingarevich worked as mechanics at a cardboard factory in Leningrad.
For several years, a holding acquired in its property about 30 logging companies.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 13.02.2002
In the 90's, when timber companies one after another came under the control of “Ilim Pulp”, a series of contract killings had been committed.
In the spring of 1999 the bomb was planted at the house of the manager of Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill Vladimir Krupchak. That same year, the head of “Solombalsky woodworking plant" Evgene Drachev was kidnapped. Alexander Bulatov, the general director of the Department of timber industry complex of the regional administration was beaten at the entrance of his house.
In March 2000 in St. Petersburg, Dmitry Varvarin, the general director of "Concern" Orimi” CJSC - the only real competitor of Ilim Pulp was killed. First of all, the motive of Smushkin could be the competition. Second of all, Varvarin owned a part of the shares of “Ilim”, and made all his partners to fund the election campaign of Yuri Boldyrev, whose campaign was a priori disasterous. “Ilim Pulp” leaders did not want to do that. In addition, all those who sponsored Boldyrev were treated with special attention by law enforcement agencies, which “Ilim Pulp” also did not want. Varvarin was also known for rigid methods of doing things, so he could be treated with a pre-emptive strike.
A few days after the murder of Varvarin, another founder of “Orimi”, Sergei Krizhan, was killed. First the management of “Ilim Pulp” was under suspicion, but soon a team of operatives was excluded from the investigation, and the story was forgotten.
Soon a new wave of high-profile crimes followed. Among them was an attack on Vladimir Malkov, the director of the company on timber export, the fire setting of the hotel "Polina", owned by Krupchak and also attempt on Dmitry Belyaev, an external manager of LDK (Woodworking Plant) - 4.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 13.02.2002
In September 2001, a member of the Federation Council of Russia Vyacheslav Kalyamin was killed – he drove the car into the oncoming traffic and was hit by a truck. Details of an accident for some reason were not reported. However, it turned out that the truck was on the balance sheet of one of the structures associated with the Kotlas mill. The organization said that the truck was sold out long ago and its further fate is unknown.
Kalyamin began to fight with “Ilim Pulp” in 1998 when he asked the Accounting Chamber to investigate the case of privatization of Kotlas mill. After inspection the violations of “Ilim Pulp” were confirmed.
The fact that one of the investigators of this tragedy moved to work from law enforcement agencies to the security service of Kotlas mill could be considered as an indirect evidence for the involvement of “Ilim Pulp” in the death of Kalyamin.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 26.02.2003
In 1998, a federal court in New York sentenced the brother of Smushkin Fedorov to 260 years in prison for rape and murder of a minor Angela Crisp. Investigators called this murder case "a case of brothers Smushkin" as Zakhar Smushkin was
at first targeted in this investigation as a suspect. The investigation revealed that in September 1996 Smushkin arrived on a visit to his brother Feodor in the U.S. They drank at brother’s house and then ordered a pizza, which was brought by Angela Crisp.
The girl was beaten, raped and strangled. Feodor soon was arrested. First, he argued that his brother was the initiator of all, but then he abruptly changed testimony. Lawyers persuaded an investigation agency that Zakhar Smushkin was sleeping in another room during the murder. After that Feodor’s wife and child moved into expensive apartments in New York. All charges were withdrawn from Zakhar Smushkin. However Russian journalists learned that Feodor Smushkin suffered from diabetic impotence, and thus he could hardly rape Angela Crisp.
Source: Arkhangelsk News from 20.10.1998
Apart from the usual schemes of tax evasion, "Ilim Pulp" used the scheme of splitting the property, when all the profits were transferred to one part, and debts in the other. So it was with a company, which owned Bratskcomplexholding. All loss-making production was concentrated there and the most cost-effective was transferred to “Pulp and Cardboard Plant” Plc. and then sold to the companies affiliated with “Ilim Pulp”, at low price.
In addition, “Ilim Pulp” formally executed an investment program in respect of the Kotlas mill. Money of the enterprise itself was mainly spent for modernization and new equipment.
It also turned out that the property of “Ilim Pulp” was pledged and repledged several times in different banks.
The scandals had a negative effect on the image of “Ilim Pulp”. In this regard, Smushkin hired Svyatoslav Bychkov, whom he entrusted media campaign and provided with a lot of money on it. The campaign meant that Bychkov should visit editors and make them for a lot of money not to put the negative information about “Ilim Pulp”
in the newspaper for some time.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 18.06.2002
In press releases of Bychkov “Ilim Pulp”, in fact owned by Swiss company Intertsez, was passed off as a purely Russian company. Lies was also written about investments, as the company didn’t invest money in their own enterprises, but sent the earned money to the bank accounts in Switzerland.
It was explained to the workers that their wages were low because of low prices for pulp in the world market. At the same time at other companies the wages of workers were 2-3 times higher.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 31.07.2002
Until 2000, the shareholders of “Ilim Pulp” did not receive dividends, as for the law, investments in manufacturing were free from taxes. Once the privilege was canceled, the dividends immediately were off.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 13.02.2002
In 2001, the "Siberian Aluminum”, which was a part of “Basic Element” of Oleg Deripaska, got interested in forestry industry. The enterprises of “Ilim Pulp” were selected as subjects for the absorption. The first blow was struck in December 2001 at BTPC (Bratsky timber processing complex).
Source: Mergers and Acquisitions from 5-6.2003
BTPC (Bratsky timber processing complex) came under the management of “Ilim Pulp” in 1997; afterwards the company's debts began to grow. In 1998 a subsidiary of BTPC was established - "Pulp and cardboard plant" (PCP) Plc. all assets were being withdrawn there. After that the shares of PCP began to be sold abroad.
At that time Dmitry Medvedev was the Director of Legal Affairs at “Ilim Pulp”, since 1998 he also served as a board member at BTPC. He noticed the divestment of assets, and relations with Smushkin and Zingarevich worsened. The blame for the sought assets was tried to be shifted on Medvedev himself. However, in autumn of 1999 Medvedev finally broke off relations with Smushkin and Zingarevich.
Shareholders of BTPC at the suggestion of Deripaska filed the court to determine whether the shares of PCP were being sold. The Court decided to restore the illegally dismissed by “Ilim Pulp” BTPC CEO George Trifonov, and achieved from “Ilim” obligations on returning the assets. But BTPC returned back under the control of the holding.
Returned managers quickly returned their regulations. There was also a blockade of the nearby Ust-Ilim Timber Complex. Raw materials were not dispatched to the plant. Gradually Ust-Ilim Timber Complex entirely came under the control of “Ilim Pulp”.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 13.02.2002
In April 2002, Melkin Sergei and Oleg Rudakov, minority shareholders in Kotlas Pulp and Bratsk LPK filed lawsuit claims on they have suffered damage their rights of shareholders had been violated. The court ruled in their favor. Sunction from Ilim was turned into the shares of enterprises. Kotlas mill and PBL were arrested, sold and then purchased in favor of Basic Element.
The next struggle was waged on the principle of "judicial decision" - "complaint" - "no judicial decision." Ilim Pulp has thus tried to resist the "Basel". So he challenged the seizure of shares in Kotlas mill and BTPC.
Source: Mergers and Acquisitions of 5-6.2003
5 and 6 August 2003 the office of Ilim Pulp was searched. Interior Ministry officers searched for signs of falsification of documents, which were used by the shareholders of the Bratsk TPC in April 2003. Investigators found the documents that established the withdrawal of profits abroad, and the concealment of proceeds, as well as lists of people who were assistants to the company in law enforcement and in power, including the size of their fees. They found the tools for wiretapping.
Source: Kompromat.ru: from 20.08.2003
The search was conducted on the basis of the decision of the Irkutsk region prosecutor's office about making fake documents to revoke power of attorney of Alexander Krivenkov, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Industry of the Russian Federation. On the basis of forged documents, Krivenkov was denied registration as a representative of the shareholder in BTPC. Krivenkova exercised the veto by the government, which he intended to use in addressing some important issues. At the meeting, the consolidation of the assets of Ilim Pulp was questioned.
Source: "Time of news" of 06.08.2003
In 2003 there was a shocking incident: during a working meeting between Prime Minister Kasyanov and timber merchants in Finland Smushkin suddenly ran up to him and in front of the guests and began to talk excitedly about the conflict of shareholders of the Kotlas Pulp and Bratsk TPC. Kasyanov had no other choice than to recommend Smushkin to present his complaint in writing.
Source: Kompromat.ru on 12/01/2003
Kotlas PPM came under the control of Ilim Pulp in the investment competition, which was illegal. The results were declared invalid, but the new owner did not want to leave the company.
Source: Kompromat.ru on 02/13/2002
In July 2007 the court upheld the sale of shares in the Kotlas mill to new owners. Ilim Pulp sought cancellation of the deal, and after such a decision by the court decided to replay the situation in their favor. The company said that the claim that the mill had been stolen from it, was purely technical in nature, and was filed in order to find out exactly who had purchased shares of the plant. After that, the company circulated false information through the press service that illegitimate court upheld the newly elected board by shareholders.
Smushkin also sent his messengers to the registrar office of the Kotlas mill - “Petersburg Central Registration Company”. They introduced themselves as non-existent employees of law enforcement agencies and required to issue registry documents. Register was necessary to rewrite the document so that the controlling stake in the Kotlas mill was again for Ilim Pulp.
The next step was the publication in the media of a "fake" that the registry of the Bratsk TPC was lost. The shareholders started sending papers to the Ilim Pulp., confirming the ownership of shares
Source: Kompromat.ru on 07/31/2002
In 2004 it was reported that Smushkin gave up oilman Mikhail Brudno to the law enforcement authorities. First Smushkin was a member of the board of directors of the Ust-Ilim TPC, owned by Brudno. Then the company was acquired by Ilim Pulp Enterprise "on the money of YuKOS’s Trust Investment Bank.” The company still has not returned money to the bank.
Source: Kompromat.ru on 05/03/2004
In 2004, the struggle for assets between "Ilim" and LLC "MC "Continental Management" by Deripaska was over. Together with Promstroibank companies signed an agreement whereby control over the disputed asset passed to the state represented by the owner of Promstroibank Vneshtorgbank.
Earlier, in late 2003, Deripaska and Smushkin tried to conclude a peace agreement, but then they failed. The fight came to a standstill. Under the signed transaction PSB received a blocking stake in all enterprises of the Ilim.
Source: "Gazeta" on 03.11.2004
A former employee of Ilim Pulp, head of Promstroibank Vladimir Kogan, possibly allied with Deripaska.
Source: “Sliyaniya i poglosheniya” of 5-6.2003
However, the experts considered overpriced the amount of the transaction which Vneshtorgbank acquired from Ilim Pulp – it was more than a billion dollars. With all the problems and debts of the company the real price was about $ 300 million. It is unknown why the state bought the assets at such a high price. Maybe money was divided among all participants in the transaction. According to another version, the deal was realized under the guise of Russian Finance Minister and Chairman of the Supervisory Council of Vneshtorgbank, Alexei Kudrin, who might have needed a lot of money for presidential election campaign.
Source: Kompromat.ru on 09/23/2004
In March 2004, at the office of Ilim Pulp was searched again. The prosecutors and Interior Ministry acted in a criminal case brought by Alexei Drobashenko, general director of LLC Eurasian Group, one of the structures of Bazel. The previous search revealed that he had been shadowed and bugged. During the search, they found a whole new room with promiscuous equipment. Given that the office is located close to General Consulate of Switzerland that caused a big scandal.
During the search employees of "Ilim" began to carry out the boxes with incriminating documents, but they were stopped. Part of the documents was to be brought away on several trucks, but they did not have time.
Source: Kompromat.ru dated 15.03.2004
In 2009, the list of debtors, published at the site of the urban governance FTS, who have accumulated debt on transportation tax in excess of 100,000 rubles, and Smushkin was listed in it. List appeared in the media, but Roskomnadzor ruled an offense, and the list was deleted.
Source: Fontanka.ru on 30/10/2009