Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Putin ‘Pal’ Arkady Novikov Comes Under Fire

In spite of sticking up a support message for ‘Peace For Ukraine’ on his website billionaire restaurateur Arkady Novikov comes under fire given his links to his billionaire pal President Putin and his billionaire British hating former business associate Alexey Chepa

Launched with an almighty fanfare in December 2011 by the consummately confident Michigan born PR Jori White – whose eponymous and otherwise much respected firm has “worked with it since it opened its doors” and whom lists it prominently on her website still todayNovikov is a 540-seat Mayfair restaurant that’s like Marmite.

 

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Said to have cost £10 million ($13.1 million, €12.1 million or درهم48.3 million) in fit-out costs alone and the haunt variously of the likes of Rhianna, Sir Tom Jones, Tamara Ecclestone, Holly Vallance, Wayne Rooney and Prince Harry – before his ‘Modern Day Mrs Simpson’ wife wickedly whisked the drip off to dine on yoghurt and do yoga in woke California – here is a restaurant which cannot but help be labelled anything but “brash” and “brassy.” There’s nothing modest about either its size or its 900 cover-a-day clientele, but its success in attracting WAGs and TOWIE twerps definitely made it the forerunner of the equally ludicrous Knightsbridge salt-throwing “McDonald’s for rich people” that is Salt Bae.

 

Pricey to the point that even oligarchs might have to watch their wallets – a simple fillet steak will set you back £65 ($85, €79 or درهم314) and a Peking duck knocks down at £159 ($209, €193 or درهم769) – the Berkeley Street, W1 Asian-Italian joint has now come under fire after the rambunctious critic Jay Rayner took to Twitter to tell his 346,800 followers:

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“You may not wish to support London businesses with links to Putin right now. Here’s one: @NovikovLondon owned by Arkady Novikov who boasted to me of his links to the Kremlin. Also, it’s a dreadful place. My review is 10 years old but gives the essentials.”

 

In his February 2012 review for The Guardian, anything but a fan Rayner remarked: “In a city with a talent for opening hateful and tasteless restaurants, Novikov marks a special new low.” He commented that his dining companion added: “This tastes like cheap Chinese food” and declared also:

 

“You could, if you wish, hate Novikov on principle. Arkady Novikov, whose name is above the door, owns 50 or so restaurants in Moscow and likes to boast of his connections to Vladimir Putin. He has talked to me of his work as outside caterer to Putin’s Kremlin and once broke off from an interview with me to entertain Putin’s wife Lyudmila with a tour of his next venue. Of course, Putin has been accused in diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks of turning Russia into a wretched kleptocracy. He pursued violent campaigns in Chechnya and is being fingered for nicking Russia’s parliamentary elections. If we know a man by the company he keeps, then perhaps the arrival in London of a big-ticket Novikov restaurant is not something to be universally applauded.”

 

Bankrolled for a time in part by “outspoken critic of London” Alexey Chepa – whose St Mortiz based son Daniil Chepa was listed as having ceased to have had been a “person of significant control” of a company connected to the restaurant on 15th June 2018 – the curious links between these powerful and wealthy men is worthy highlighting.

 

Former defence contractor Alexey Chepa who was alleged to be an “ex-Russian spy” by Connor Boyd in the MailOnline in January 2019, has owned the Russky Mir television station and served in the Russian State Duma. He has ties to controversial Israelis including the arms dealer Arkady Gaidamak and once accused the victim of Novichok nerve agent poisoning Sergei Skripal of “selling himself to British intelligence for pennies.” Going further this mouthy menace added: “The harder [the British government] try to intimidate us, the tougher our response will be.” It is not known if he ever dined with Boris Johnson.

 

Speaking of the Chepa family’s removal from involvement in the business in January 2019 to the Express, “Anglo-Cypriot businessman” Costas Economou – who remains a current active “person of significant control” of Stealthwave Limited alongside Mr Novikov – commented: “He is the one who started the restaurant but Alexey Chepa has been out of it since 2013. He is not allowed to work in the business anymore. He tried to pass it on to his son, but the banks would not accept that.”

 

Moscow Aviation Institute trained Mr Chepa, meanwhile, responded: “I didn’t want to give up the restaurant, to be honest. It’s a very prestigious place, and I really tried to make it the best around. Arkady and I went around, doing the construction at night because they wouldn’t let us work during the day. These idiotic English laws are very complicated – you can’t carry out noisy work during certain hours.”

 

Mr Novikov’s time in London has certainly not been without personal drama either. Aside from being snapped with the clearly batshit bonkers self-professed Ruski ‘socialite’ Alina Blinova – whom in September 2013 told The Steeple Times: “You should just step down, and switch to some other subjects to discuss in your peaces [sic]. Maybe – overpopulated UK by its ex colonies [sic]! or Why ppl [sic] Jelouse [sic]? or Why ppl [sic] complain, critic and don’t do things to be remembered for?!” after we featured some examples of her vulgar lifestyle – the restaurant tycoon has had a secretary who was taken to court and cleared for theft and seen those that burgled his Knightsbridge mansion jailed.

 

In the first instance in December 2017, the “glamorous PA to Putin’s millionaire friend” – as she was termed by the MailOnline’s Tariq Tahir – Tatyana Gorova was accused of “fleecing her employer” out of £28,000 ($36,800, €34,000 or درهم135,300) but “wished the judge ‘good day’ after she was cleared” of using Mr Novikov’s card “to rent a London flat and splash out on lavish New Year’s festivities at the Intercontinental Hotel.” The “Russian blonde” personal assistant had been given a card to pay household bills and her boss had even agreed to act as a guarantor for her new home in Brockley, south east London.

 

Secondly in February 2020, two burglars, Karim Boutjettif and Amr Abdel-Samie, were jailed for 34 months and 32 months respectively after stealing £500,000 ($658,000, €607,300 or درهم2.4 million) of items – including 29 handbags and 6 jackets – from the £40 million ($52.7 million, €48.6 million or درهم193.3 million) Knightsbridge home of the restaurateur and his wife Nadzeda Advokatova in October 2019. After being spotted by a passer-by in their balaclavas, one of the robbers shouted: “Quick we’ve been clocked,” the Evening Standard later reported.

 

Elsewhere, in another favoured playground of Putin’s oligarch pals, Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy, Mr and Mrs Novikov paid £27.2 million ($35.8 million, €33 million or درهم131.4 million) for Villa Fontanelle, the former home of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace, in early 2008. They subsequently spent many more millions on a renovation by the Milanese architect Claudio Pozza, but are no doubt watching it very carefully now the Italian government has started to seize Russian assets.

 

A request for comment to Novikov’s London management was made by The Steeple Times on Monday 7th March, but met simply by a representative – whom declined to give their name – with: “We have nothing to say.”

 

Previously, in November 2013, father of two Mr Novikov told ES magazine’s John Arlidge: “I’m looking at new sites… [He funds his developments with his own money and money from Russian investors, usually on a 50/50 basis] I don’t have money. I need money. I have so many Russian investors. We need English partners, please!” He could some come to regret not trying harder on that front.

 

Pictured top – A smug looking President Putin raising a toast and restaurateur Arkady (listed as ‘Arkadiy’ on Companies House) Novikov celebrating a Michelin Guide award. He once described Gordon Ramsay as a “hero” even though the Scottish chef called his own Moscow restaurants as “garbage.”

 

Novikov Support Ukraine
Since uproar about boycotting Russian owned restaurants, Novikov London have somewhat hastily added a “Peace For Ukraine” banner to their homepage. It does not come, however, with any accompanying reasoning. One would have thought with their vast resources, them and their marketing department could perhaps have done better other than to give an arrogant comment to the ‘Evening Standard’ that simply said: “We have lots of Ukrainian customers, we have lots of Russian customers.”
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Novikov Jori White
On her eponymous firm’s website, hospitality PR maestro Jori White continues to display the restaurant’s logo prominently.
Alexey Chepa
Questions about the undoubtedly successful restaurateur and his connections to the evil tyrant President Vladimir Putin and Alexey Chepa (pictured) and his son Daniil Chepa will no doubt dog him further in the coming weeks.
Daniil Chepa
Now 24-year-old Daniil Chepa’s current business activities are unknown. He became a person of significant control of the restaurant his father co-invested in 2016 aged just 16. According to ‘Meduza’ in December 2019, he likes to “listens to remixes of the Russian national anthem, as well as some Russian rap.”
Rihanna Prince Harry
Famous faces known to have frequented Novikov in ritzy Mayfair have included coffin dodging Putin apologist Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter Tamara, the British professional boxer Anthony Joshua and the likes of Rhianna (pictured left) and Prince Harry (pictured right).
Alina Blinova and Tatyana Govorov
Off-her-merry-rocker wannabe television personality Alina Blinova (pictured centre left) is a typical example of the customers of the Mayfair eatery – tacky, tedious and totally tawdry. Personal assistant Tatyana Gorova (pictured right) was cleared from stealing from her restaurateur boss in December 2017 whilst working there.
Alina Blinova and Tatyana Govorov
Off-her-merry-rocker wannabe television personality Alina Blinova (pictured centre left) is a typical example of the customers of the Mayfair eatery – tacky, tedious and totally tawdry. Personal assistant Tatyana Gorova (pictured right) was cleared from stealing from her restaurateur boss in December 2017 whilst working there.
Villa Fontanelle Gianni Versace
This intensely wealthy Russian couple not only have a £40 million home in Knightsbridge, London and a £27 million home on Lake Como in Italy (pictured when in the ownership of slain fashion designer Gianni Versace). Mrs Novikov controls the Flowers Studio 55 business in Moscow and there are over 50 other establishments in Moscow and elsewhere that her rags-to-riches husband is seemingly the owner of.

THE BILLIONAIRE RESTAURATEUR’S COMPANIES

The billionaire has been linked to several UK Companies House listed companies. The first, Novikov (UK), has been dissolved whilst Stealthwave Limited remains active:

 

Novikov (UK) Limited

Company number: 08019942.

Type: Licensed restaurant company.

Incorporated: 4th April 2012.

Dissolved: 1st August 2017.

 

Russian Mr Arkadiy Novikov

Appointed: 1st December 2013.

 

Other officers included:

  • British Daniel Dwyer of Chelsfield, Kent.
  • Russian Irinia Shabrina of London, W1.

 

Stealthwave Limited

Company number: 07033979.

Type: 82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified.

Incorporated: 29th September 2009.

 

Cypriot Costas Economou (active)

Person with significant control:

  • Ownership of shares – More than 25% but not more than 50%.
  • Ownership of voting rights – More than 25% but not more than 50%.

 

Russian Mr Arkadiy Novikov (active)

Appointed: 11th February 2010.

Person with significant control:

  • Ownership of shares – More than 25% but not more than 50%.
  • Ownership of voting rights – More than 25% but not more than 50%.

 

Russian Mr Daniil Chepa (ceased on 15th June 2018)

Person with significant control:

  • Ownership of shares – More than 25% but not more than 50%.
  • Ownership of voting rights – More than 25% but not more than 50%.

 

Officers other than Mr Novikov included:

  • British Larry Nathan of London, SW18 (resigned).
  • British Paul Townsend of Bristol (resigned).

 

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Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Im finding out more about all these un worthy Londoners
    that tolerate those crazy laws in London..like please don’t invade free countries and bomb their restaurants. I hope UK shoots them all out of an historic cannon straight to the gulag….nettles caldron is Ive heard yummy.

  2. Matthew,
    Have just read yr piece on A a Novikov with great interest and a few knowing smiles. Looking forward to reading more from you. I cd do an article for you on how Russian prisoners in British prisoners are making a mint from distilling the strongest hooch ever seen in the penal microcosm!

  3. Novikov is one of the BEST restaurants in London. Tastiest food, amazing presentation. This place has been recommended by many friends from Europe and US. I will always recommend it as MUST dine there when in London.
    Whoever wrote this article – full of envy.

  4. I agree with Miguel, quoting 10 year old reviews about food they didnt taste to begin with is a new low for getting views. One thing is stating that the money may have come from unlawful sources, even tho the article do not actually give any facts and other is complaining about the quality of the food. there are people from ay least 30 different nations working there, all of them like most of the world, sicken by the tradegy. So please, stop with the yellow press and the phobias and talk some facts. Thanks

  5. Its not about facts. Its not about food. Its about messages must more meaningful than international staff. Thats common place ..in restaurants across the western world.

  6. You should interview people who worked there about how they were treated, and how they treat their suppliers. You might change your mind then about the truly mediocre food sold to you at extortionate prices.

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