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The chain of events: The Dodo Pizza case – from anonymous complaints to interrogations in the drug case

Police pressure on business, internal conflict or “set-up” – the chronology from the first to the last version.

Fedor Ovchinnikov. A photo from his personal archive
Fedor Ovchinnikov. A photo from his personal archive

On February 8, Fiodor Ovchinnikov, the founder of a large network of “Dodo Pizza”, said that he was interrogated as a witness in the case of selling drugs through restaurants. As he said , the police allegedly found “bookmarks” with banned substances in one of the pizzerias in Moscow. Ovchinnikov denies his guilt and intends to sue for libel.

“Dodo Pizza”, founded in 2011, has 298 restaurants that operate in Russia, the United States, Britain, China and some other countries. Ovchinnikov leads a popular blog in Facebook and previously published a book about the history of his network called “From zero to a billion.”

we restored the chronology of events, based on published statements. At the disposal of the editorial office there are no documents of the case, which could confirm or refute the words of Ovchinnikov. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has not yet responded to ‘s request.

November 1, 2017

The Federal Security Service received a statement from a certain Catherine Pronina. She accused Ovchinnikov and his Moscow franchise partner in the supply of drugs from Latin America and their sale in Russia under the guise of a network of pizzerias. The chapter “Dodo Pizza” claims that he does not know the author of the complaint, and her information is incorrect.

Judging by the database of the USRLE , the full namesake of the author of the complaint is Ekaterina Viktorovna Pronina – co-director of OOO Vitagold. The company is registered at the same address in the city of Lyubertsy near Moscow, which is also one of the restaurants “Dodo Pizza”.

November 9, 2017

The FSB for unknown reasons redirected Pronina’s complaint to Ovchinnikov to the MVD. According to another version, the letter was found in the “box” for anonymous calls. The police did not communicate with Pronina and did not try to confirm her identity. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has started the inspection of “Dodo Pizza”, but does not report it publicly.

November 23, 2017

According to the version of the chapter “Dodo pizza”, the restaurant cleaner in South Medvedkovo discovered the first “bookmark” allegedly with prohibited substances – it was allegedly accidentally found by the employees of the pizzeria, after which the police were called. According to the agency “Moscow”, we are talking about a package weighing more than 550 grams – for criminal liability enough 0.2 grams.

After November 23, police began checking in other restaurants “Dodo Pizza” in Moscow and the Moscow region, where they also find “bookmarks.” The exact number of such points was not disclosed. Whether the head of the pizzeria in Medvedkovo was called for interrogation is unknown.

Pizzeria in Medvedkovo is managed not by Ovchinnikov, but by his franchise partner. The creator of “Dodo Pizza” does not deal with the operational activities of such restaurants, but only “shares” the design project, assists with the launch, introduces the company’s technologies, monitors that the level of such points corresponds to the “Dodo” itself and receives a part of the proceeds. Ovchinnikov stressed this during interrogation in the police.

End of December 2017

Ovchinnikov told about “persistent” and “aggressive” calls of a man who introduced himself to the police officer of Southern Medvedkov and demanded to come for an interrogation. “I thought it was some kind of strange rally. Gus Fring? “, – noted the head of” Dodo Pizza “, jokingly comparing himself with the character of the series” In All Grave “.

The businessman was told that the case was connected with “the spread of drugs in pizzerias.” He offered to send a written request and hung up. According to Ovchinnikov, after the conversation he contacted the pizzeria in Southern Medvedkovo and for the first time learned about the “bookmark” found. Both interlocutors “did not attach much importance” to a call from the police.

January 30

Ovchinnikov told about the call from the girl, who introduced herself as the police investigator of Southern Medvedkovo. He was again summoned for interrogation, but instead of a written request, they sent SMS.

Lawyers confirmed  that investigators have the right to call for interrogation in this way. According to Ovchinnikov, the investigators consider the delivery of the written agenda as “complexity.” Because of the pressure, he hired a lawyer.

7 February

Although Ovchinnikova was summoned for interrogation on February 2 (he published a screenshot of the message from Facebook on Facebook), he took place five days later. In the department he got acquainted with the details of the case.

From the investigator Ovchinnikov first learned that the police had opened a criminal case under Article 228.1 clause 5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Illegal production, sale or forwarding of narcotic drugs in especially large amounts). The maximum penalty for this article is life imprisonment.

Ovchinnikov is still a witness, not an accused. However, he feared that his status in the case could be changed to “a suspect with a written undertaking not to leave”.

The creator of the Dodo Pizza said that he “does not know who organized this”, but began to write a libel suit against Pronina. In his opinion, the majority of policemen are “decent people” who are “ashamed of the absurdity of what is happening”.

February 8: versions

Russian media spread a version about a possible internal business conflict in Dodo Pizza. The first about the names of the namesake of the author of the complaint of Catherine Pronina with “Dodo Pizza” was reported by thecommentator , who claims that Ovchinnikov deleted his comments from Facebook.

Ovchinnikov suggested that Pronin was framed, using the name in a “false denunciation” and leaving a signature unlike her. According to the entrepreneur, after trying to learn on the franchisee, she became an investor in a pizzeria in Lyubertsy. He stressed that he learned about Pronina on February 7.

Pronin in conversation  confirmed the version of Ovchinnikov that the statement was made on her behalf without her knowledge. She called the incident “the intrigues of one of the competitors” and promised to apply to the authorities.

According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the second co-owner of Vitagold is Vyacheslav Prokudin. He confirmed The Bell, which is the franchisee “Dodo Pizza” in Lyubertsy, but refused to answer clarifying questions about Pronina. Tk Prokudin did not answer ‘s calls.

February 8: reaction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

The police began checking the “unethical communication of policemen” during the interrogation of Ovchinnikov. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on February 7, he was summoned immediately because of two criminal cases under Article 228 – in the second case, it is about “laying” in another restaurant, “Dodo Pizza”.

Later, the Ministry of Internal Affairs officially stated that more than 750 grams of derivatives of H-methylephedron were found in restaurants . The narcotic substances were found in a pizzeria located in the Dezhnev passage of the South Medvedkovo district. One package was found in the ventilation of the toilet in November 2017, the second – in an unspecified room in January 2018. The police never mentioned the supply of drugs from Latin America, but confirmed the information about the initiation of the case.

Ovchinnikov told about the summons for a second interrogation, without specifying the date. The owner of several restaurants of a pizzeria in Moscow, Stanislav Semionov, was summoned for questioning on February 9.

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