Yevgeny Chichvarkin: biography of the most successful billionaire under 35 years old
Yevgeny Chichvarkin, a Russian businessman who founded Euroset, the largest mobile phone store chain. Thanks to this business, he has become the richest man in Russia under the age of 35, with approximately 1.6 billion dollars. He was a member of the Right Cause political party and was to become a chairman of its Moscow branch. Chichvarkin currently lives in London. In August 2012 he opened his Hedonism Wines liquor store on London’s South Audley Street.
Chichvarkin was born in St. Petersburg. His father was a pilot and his mother worked as an economist for the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade. As a child, Yevgeny’s family moved to Moscow.
From 1991 to 1996 Chichvarkin studied at the State Academy of Management, and also earned his living by trading at Moscow’s flea markets. After graduation, Chichvarkin started studying for a PhD, but dropped out in 1998. In 1997, Chichvarkin and his friend Timur Artemyev started the Euroset business of selling mobile phones.
In 2002, Evroset became one of the three leaders in mobile phone retailing in Moscow. The company developed a business model of franchising, opening 100 new outlets in 2002, 117 additional outlets in 2003, 800 additional outlets in 2004 and 1934 additional outlets in 2005.
In 2007, they had 5156 outlets in 12 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Yevgeny Chichvarkin biography: charges
In August 2005, Chichvarkin was charged with involvement in the smuggling of $100 million worth of mobile phones, but the charges were eventually dropped. In March 2006, a large consignment of Motorola cell phones sent to Chichvarkin was seized on the pretext that their microwave emissions exceeded levels allowed by Russian sanitary regulations. Chichvarkin then accused Russian law enforcement agencies of raiding.
In September 2008, the headquarters of Euroset was searched in connection with the case of Andrei Vlaskin, an employee of Euroset who stole mobile phones worth about 20 million rubles in 2003.
Vlaskin was caught by Euroset security service in Tambov and after some time agreed to compensate Euroset for their losses. Between 2004 and 2007 Euroset and Vlaskin apparently did not file claims against each other, in 2008 Euroset was accused of kidnapping, illegal imprisonment and extortion.
On 21 September 2008, Chichvarkin had sold 100% of Euroset shares to Alexander Mamut. The volume of the deal was 400 million US dollars. In January 2009, Chichvarkin moved to the United Kingdom and on 23 January 2009, a search request for Eugene was filed with the Russian federal government in the Vlaskin case. On 28 January, the Moscow Basmanny Court confirmed Chichvarkin’s arrest (in absentia). On 12 March 2009, his information was transmitted to Interpol.
On 13 April 2009, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General noted that Vladimir Knyazev, the chief investigator in the Chichvarkin case, had previously been convicted of stealing a large batch of mobile phones from the Chichvarkin Euroset. During the 2007 smuggling case, he had forged an act of destruction of the phones confiscated as evidence. The Investigative Committee had demanded that Knyazev be dismissed for a conflict of interest, but their demands had been rejected. On November 17, 2010, the jury declared all the defendants in the Vlaskin case innocent.
The prosecutor’s appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected on 20 January 2011, and Chichvarkin’s indictment was withdrawn a few days later. His lawyer, Yuri Gervis, noted that Chichvarkin was still concerned about the fact that he might be charged in connection with the 2005 smuggling case.