Former Kuzbass coal king Alexander Shchukin, was involved in the" Moldovan landromat " - a system of money laundering through one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. Thanks to this scheme, a total of large sums, up to a billion euros inclusive, were withdrawn from Russia to the UK.
If we talk about the bundle of interest to us, then at one end of the chain, in the Kemerovo region was Shchukin, on the other – settled in London, his son-in-law Uzbeks. Now Shchukin is a defendant on charges of theft of someone else's property on a large scale. Most likely, the Russian IC in the near future will bring Shchukin and his son-in-law, yet unattainable for Russian justice, new charges.
Washing in Moldavian
The existence of the so-called" Moldovan landromat", a system for withdrawing money from Russia through a network of international banks and offshore companies, became known in 2015. The scheme worked as follows. Two foreign companies, usually from the UK, signed a loan agreement for hundreds of millions of dollars. These companies had no assets and no real activity. The guarantors of the fictitious contracts were Russian firms and residents of the poorest villages of Moldova. This allowed the implementation of the next part of the scheme under Moldovan jurisdiction.
When it was time to pay the debts, we recall that existing only on paper, the British company filed a lawsuit against its debtors – a Russian one-day firm and a citizen of Moldova. The defendants - Russian fictitious firms and Moldovans-the poor, who did not hold in life in the hands of more than a hundred dollars, without dispute recognized the claims for 500-800 million dollars. The judges had nothing left as award creditors voiced amount.
The money went directly from Russia to Britain? That would be too easy. The fictitious debt is credited to the account of the companies registered in classic offshore zones: Cyprus, virgin Islands etc. And only then, they were transferred in such leading UK banks like HSBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts. Only for 2010-2014, according to the guardian newspaper, at least 749 million dollars passed through them. As the newspaper noted, the true owners of most of the companies involved in the scheme, remained anonymous, thanks to the laws of offshore zones.
When the law enforcement agencies of Russia, Moldova, Latvia and other countries started cleaning the "Moldovan Laundry", persons and banks of only one end of the criminal chain were brought to justice. In Russia arrested the banker Alexander Grigoriev, Moldova Veaceslav Platon and Ilan Shor, the husband of the singer the Jasmine. The key players in the "landromat" were named Moldovan Moldindconbank and Latvian Trasta Kommercbanka. Rosfinmonitoring estimated Russia's losses from this scheme at 21 billion dollars, while in the West the total income from the laundering Scam amounted to 80 billion. The head of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina held a separate meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to inform him about the unprecedented withdrawal of money from Russia.
Meanwhile, the national Bank of Moldova ordered a special investigation to the detective Agency from the USA - Kroll company. The report on the investigation was published in the block of speaker of the Parliament of Moldova Andrian CANDU. The report reflects not only the Moldovan component of the criminal sphere, but also the chain of British and offshore companies. Thanks to the Kroll investigation revealed the nominee Directors of the firms and the beneficiaries of the scheme. American detectives, among other things, drew attention to the company Bliss Investment Group LTD Ildar Uzbekov and the company Bacaz Resources Limited, owned by the mother of Uzbekov – Leyla Tazutdinova, who carried out transactions through the Riga Bank Trasta Kommercbanka.
Fast forward, for a while from Eastern Europe to the British Isles and see how finally legalized money withdrawn from Russia.
Siberian billions in London
Criminal entrepreneur from Kuzbass Alexander Shchukin, who created his commercial and industrial Empire raider seizures (for one of them he is now on trial) eight years ago began the withdrawal of its capital to the British Isles. The coordinator of this operation was the husband of Elena-daughter Shchukin, Ildar Uzbeks. They purchased a four-storey Highgate house, worth £ 15 million, a large plot of land, as well as two art galleries in London, in the Mayfair and Knightsbridge areas.
For Russian oligarchs who decided to settle in England, it is quite a modest gentleman's set. The true scale of Shchukin's transfer of money to the UK, or the intention to transfer, was revealed as a result of the conflict between Uzbekov and his confidant Adrian Burford, the Creator of the family office in London on the basis of Fern advisors Limited. Without going into details of the conflict, it should be pointed out that it, in March 2013 – the height of the Moldovan landromat, was transferred to the high court of London. According to Burford, the purpose of creating a family-office was an investment of 1 billion pounds, at that time almost 1.5 billion euros in the British economy. There was no objection from Mr. Uzbekov, which meant that such intentions were and were being implemented.
To invest a billion pounds in the UK economy, the money must first be withdrawn from Russia. Burford was hardly aware of the whole scheme, he just called the final amount. To understand how Shchukin from Russia forwarded future investments to the United Kingdom to Uzbekov, one can refer to the decisions of Russian courts. For example, in 2016, the arbitration court of the Kemerovo region (case No. 27-27287/2016) ordered OJSC "mine "Polosukhinskaya" to pay additional income tax on income paid to a foreign organization. The plaintiff argued that its mine in 2012 and 2013 paid dividends to Bryankee Holdings Limited, a tax resident of the Republic of Cyprus, and under the contract of Cyprus with the Russian Federation, these dividends are not subject to double taxation. But the court came to the conclusion that the owner of the shares of Bryankee Holdings Limited is a company registered in the virgin Islands, and with them there is no such agreement in the Russian Federation and a small tax Scam Shchukin broke.
Coming out of the shadows
Of course, such methods do not bring a billion. And here's the missing link was found. The companies Bliss Investment Group and Bacaz Resources Limited were not just offshore companies, but the most active participants of the "landromat", which is directly confirmed by transactions through the Riga Bank Trasta Kommercbanka, which has already closed after international exposures. As it became known, Ildar Uzbekov controlled the company Bliss Investment Group until 2017.
The Republic of Cyprus, has long been the entry point of Shchukin's money in further offshore laundries, from Moldova to the virgin Islands. In 2017 there was a proven link tandem Shchukin-Uzbek firm ZAM Services Limited. This information was first disclosed in the court of the Republic of Cyprus. Against a bunch of Shchukin-Uzbeks have already filed or are preparing claims in three jurisdictions - in Russia, Cyprus and the UK. This legal initiative has led to deanonimizatsii active participant in the scheme "Laundromat service to our Moldovan". It happened after the statements, Bliss Investment Group and Bacaz Resources Limited in the same washout Trasta Kommercbanka for the most interesting period in 2013-2014, As the reader will recall, the same year when the British contractor uzbekova planned to invest in the British economy billion pounds withdrawn from Russia.
The main specificity of the "Moldovan landromat" scheme was that its participants opened accounts of their companies in banks ready to "ignore" doubtful operations of customers, in the hope of remuneration. Such a financial institution was the Riga Bank Trasta Kommercbanka, which played the role of a Central transit point for those who like to withdraw large sums. Some companies Shchukin and Uzbekov opened accounts in the Bank. This company was the firm Bliss Investment Group, whose ownership Uzbekov revealed the court of the Republic of Cyprus.
The company "Wyndford System Ltd" appears as the counterparty of Uzbekov company., also opened an account in the Riga Bank. She regularly transferred large sums allegedly to pay for "computer parts", although Shchukin's commercial and industrial Empire was engaged in coal, cars, but not computers. In the international practice of combating money laundering and uncontrolled withdrawal of funds, "computer parts" or "PC spare parts" - a classic sign of money laundering, because, in the PC market more left-wing firms than any other.
According to the statements from the accounts of Bliss Investment Group, the companies Wyndford System and Dunford Universal transferred and received tens of millions of dollars from the account of Ildar Uzbekov. It is important to note: Dunford Universal wound up on the account of this company, and received from her dollars. On account of the same company in Trasta Kommercbanka received funds from other companies Shchukin and Uzbekov. The money had to go through the "Moldavian way" to emerge in the Latvian Bank as funds received as a result of a lawsuit brought against a peasant from a Moldavian village.
What amounts can be deducted? According to the findings of OCCRP - an international project to investigate criminal activity, through the company Bryankee Holdings Limited from Russia was transferred about 410 million dollars in dividends, slightly less than half of what was planned to invest in the British economy Shchukin and Uzbeks. But further, these funds had to somehow get into legal circulation in the UK, simply put laundered. For these purposes, the Uzbeks and used the Moldovan scheme of laundering.
These data were announced on November 14, 2018 by the Commission Of the Parliament of Moldova to investigate the use of the country's territory for laundering large sums. New investigations and new findings lie ahead. Let's hope that they are primarily interested in representatives of law enforcement agencies in the UK.