clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trial for oligarch who funded UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov delayed as organized crime investigation deepens

Karim Zidan delves into the upcoming trial of Ziyavudin Magomedov, the Dagestani oligarch who funded UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career, as well as Russian promotion Fight Nights. 

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

On January 30, 2019, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow once again extended the detention period for billionaire Ziyavudin Magomedov and his brother, former senator Magomed Magomedov. The brothers have been accused of forming a criminal organization, fraud, and embezzlement ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

The court extended the brothers’ detention period until March 30, 2019, which will mark an entire year since the two men were first arrested. Magomedov was detained on March 31 2018 and charged with embezzling over 2 billion rubles (approx. $38 million at the current exchange rate), fraud, and of organizing a gang.” According to Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Magomedov had been under investigation prior to his arrest to determine whether he embezzled money during the construction of a World Cup stadium in Kaliningrad, which his Summa Group company won the rights to build in 2014. If found guilty, Magomedov could face up to 20 years in prison.

Magomedov, whose wealth is estimated at $1.2 billion, is the main owner of Summa Group, a private investment companywith investments in telecommunications, construction, port logistics, as well as the oil and gas sectors. The company employs over 10,000 people in approximately 40 regions in Russia.

Apart from his alleged criminality during the World Cup, Magomedov has also been accused of stealing 300 million rubles ($4.5 million) during the construction of a highway in South Siberia in 2014, embezzling from the Federal Grid Company, the Chusky tract (truck road) in the Novosibirsk region, and of questionable business practices with the United Grain Company project (part of Summa Group). This included allegedly ordering the assault of a former employee– one of Magomedov’s private security guards – after he refused to follow orders.

“In particular, one of the episodes of the case is related to causing bodily harm to a former employee, namely a private security guard Ziyavudin Magomedov,” investigator Nikolay Budilo stated at the court hearing. “From the testimony of the victim it follows that because of the actual seizure of the port of Makhachkala, intimidation measures were taken against him - he was beaten.”

The Magomedov brothers have both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Ziyavudin also complained that, due to the court freezing his assets – most recently $750 million from the sale of Magomedov’s share in Russia’s largest port operator, the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NMTP) – he has not been able to pay off loans from another of his companies.

“In 15 years I have invested 150-170 billion rubles in investments in the Russian economy, and abroad I invested only in what I could apply in Russia,” Ziyavudin Magomedov said during the court hearing. “Now the Summa Group enterprises, which employ 35,000 people, are being searched, “accountants are having a nightmare” and assistant managers, accounts of about 350 billion rubles have been arrested. In addition, the companies in the group cannot pay taxes and service loans due to the arrest of accounts.”

Outside of his primary business dealings, Ziyavudin Magomedov is also combat sports enthusiast who has invested significant sums into Russian mixed martial arts. He owned a controlling share of Fight Nights Global, one of the most successful and popular promotions in the country. The oligarch financially supported several fighters, including Nurmagomedov. Magomedov reportedly paid for the UFC champ’s back surgery in 2017, which was done in Germany, and funded the majority of Nurmagomedov’s expenses during training camps.

Magomedov also founded the Eagles MMA fight team, which UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently president of. The gym recently came under fire after it was reported that one its executives, Denis Klopnev, was arrested in absentia for the attempted murder of sambo fighter Shamil Kuramagomedov, a bronze medalist in the 2017 Russian Combat Sambo Championship.

The accusations against Klopnev come several months after a group of fighters affiliated to Eagles MMA and Summa Group attacked Kuramagomedov and beat him within an inch of his life. The fighter was hospitalized with a concussion, a traumatic brain injury, and a broken nose but opted not to report his assault to the police. According to the report, Kuramagomedov and the suspects all trained at the same gym, which was also owned by Summa Group.

Despite the list of charges facing Magomedov, the oligarch stated during the hearing that his arrest will continue to have a negative effect on the Russian economy.

“I am an activist, a business enthusiast in the Russian Federation. I will still work in this country and change it for the better. But it’s not about me, it’s about business. Who will work in this country? This is the most concerning and the most important thing.”