Hermitage Moves Criminal Complaint Forward

The Windsor Square

Lawyers act­ing on behalf of Her­mitage Cap­i­tal filed a new crim­i­nal com­plaint today with the Russ­ian State Inves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee demand­ing the pros­e­cu­tion of offi­cials from Moscow Tax Offices 25 and 28, who had per­pe­trated the theft of US$107 mil­lion through a fraud­u­lent tax refund scheme in 2006.

The com­plaint impli­cates Olga Stepanova, head of Moscow Tax Office 28, and Elena Khim­ina, head of Moscow Tax Office 25. They are the same two offi­cials who a year later approved an iden­ti­cal US$230 mil­lion fraud­u­lent tax refund. After Russ­ian lawyer Sergei Mag­nit­sky exposed the schemes, he was arrested, tor­tured, and killed in Russ­ian police custody.

A Her­mitage Cap­i­tal spokesman said, “This US$107 fraud­u­lent tax refund case has direct rel­e­vance to the case that led the arrest, tor­ture and death in cus­tody of Sergei Mag­nit­sky. If the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment is in any way seri­ous about inves­ti­gat­ing the death of Sergei Mag­nit­sky, or indeed about fight­ing cor­rup­tion and insti­tut­ing the rule of law, they must inves­ti­gate this crime.”

The lat­est fil­ing shows that between Novem­ber 2006 and March 2007, Ms. Stepanova and Ms. Khim­ina approved fraud­u­lent tax refund requests total­ing US$107 mil­lion from two Russ­ian com­pa­nies Finan­cial Invest­ments and Selen Secu­ri­ties. These two com­pa­nies were sub­sidiaries of Rengaz, an invest­ment vehi­cle man­aged by Renais­sance Cap­i­tal. Rengaz had paid the US$107 mil­lion in taxes in Jan­u­ary 2006. Sub­se­quently, in the spring of 2006, Finan­cial Invest­ments and Selen Secu­ri­ties pleaded guilty to false debts total­ing US$525 mil­lion in sev­eral Russ­ian courts. The false debts and sub­se­quent court judg­ments were then used to apply for a fraud­u­lent US$107 mil­lion tax refund.

The inves­ti­ga­tion by Sergei Mag­nit­sky found that both tax rebate frauds – the $107 mil­lion in 2006 and the $230 mil­lion in 2007 — were iden­ti­cal. The same forged back­dated con­tracts using the exact same lan­guage were sub­mit­ted to the Russ­ian courts in Moscow and Kazan to cre­ate the fake lia­bil­i­ties in both cases. The same lawyer, Andrei Pavlov, pre­sented the fake con­tracts in court in both frauds. The same plain­tiffs, Gen­nady Plaksin and Alexei Shesh­e­nia signed their names on the col­lu­sive law­suits in both frauds. The same tax offi­cials Olga Stepanova and Elena Khim­ina approved both fraud­u­lent tax refunds in very short peri­ods of time with no audits tak­ing place. All the money in both cases was chan­neled through the same small Russ­ian bank, Uni­ver­sal Sav­ings Bank. Accord­ing to court records, the ben­e­fi­cial owner of this bank was Dmitry Kluyev, a man con­victed in the $1.6 bil­lion fraud involv­ing the shares of the iron ore pro­ducer Mikhailovsky GOK.

In Octo­ber of 2008, Sergei Mag­nit­sky sub­mit­ted evi­dence in an offi­cial tes­ti­mony to the Russ­ian Inte­rior Min­istry about the stolen US$230 mil­lion. In his tes­ti­mony, Mr. Mag­nit­sky named a num­ber of police offi­cers involved in the ille­gal seizure of doc­u­ments from The Her­mitage Fund, which were used to per­pe­trate the fraud. Later that month, he also shared details of his foren­sic research on both the $230 mil­lion and the $107 mil­lion frauds with Busi­ness­Week in Moscow.

One month after his tes­ti­mony and his Busi­ness­Week inter­view, the offi­cers whom he had tes­ti­fied against arrested Mr. Mag­nit­sky. He was tor­tured for one year in police cus­tody where he died on Novem­ber 16th 2009. Russ­ian author­i­ties con­tinue to refuse an inves­ti­ga­tion into his tor­ture in cus­tody, as well as an inves­ti­ga­tion into the offi­cials com­plicit in the tax refund schemes.

A Her­mitage Cap­i­tal spokesman said, “The same gov­ern­ment offi­cials were involved in per­pe­trat­ing both crimes in 2006 and 2007. It shows a sys­tem­atic pat­tern of embez­zle­ment. Despite the over­whelm­ing evi­dence, those Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials enjoy absolute impunity for their actions.”

Russ­ian author­i­ties have repeat­edly refused to launch an inves­ti­ga­tion into the offi­cials impli­cated in the $230 mil­lion fraud, or to trace the stolen money. In April of 2011, Inte­rior Min­istry spokes­woman Irina Duduk­ina stated that the money could not be traced because the truck car­ry­ing all the details from Uni­ver­sal Sav­ings Bank had “exploded.”

In June 2008, the Russ­ian Cen­tral Bank approved the request of the own­ers of the Uni­ver­sal Sav­ings Bank to liq­ui­date the bank, despite the crim­i­nal com­plaints filed by Her­mitage Cap­i­tal demand­ing a halt of the liq­ui­da­tion process in order to inves­ti­gate the Bank’s role in the US$230 mil­lion fraud.

The Russ­ian author­i­ties have only pros­e­cuted two ex con­victs for their role in the $230 mil­lion tax theft. One, Vic­tor Markelov, a sawmill fore­man who was con­victed of manslaugh­ter in 2001, was named by the Inte­rior Min­istry as the “mas­ter­mind” of the fraud. He was given the most lenient sen­tence pos­si­ble of five years in a col­lapsed pro­ceed­ing that heard no evi­dence. Despite the fact that this was the largest tax refund fraud in Russ­ian his­tory, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment raised no finan­cial claims against Mr Markelov and allowed him to keep assets in excess of US$2 mil­lion that he had acquired before the time of the conviction.

The other man con­victed was Vyach­eslav Khleb­nikov, an unem­ployed man pre­vi­ously con­victed of bur­glary was also sen­tenced to five years in a sim­i­lar col­lapsed pro­ceed­ing hear­ing no evidence.

On the basis of the tes­ti­mony of these two ex-convicts, the Russ­ian Inte­rior min­istry con­cluded that offi­cials in tax office 25 and 28 were “tricked and mis­led” and were sub­se­quently absolved of any respon­si­bil­ity for the fraud­u­lent tax rebates. On the eve of the one-year anniver­sary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death, the Inte­rior Min­istry went on to posthu­mously blame Sergei Mag­nit­sky of per­pe­trat­ing the fraud that he uncovered.

Olga Stepanova, head of Moscow Tax Office 28, was pro­moted this Jan­u­ary to one of the Russ­ian Min­istry of Defense’s fed­eral agencies.

In Jan­u­ary of 2011, Her­mitage Cap­i­tal filed a peti­tion call­ing on author­i­ties to inves­ti­gate the theft of the US$230 mil­lion, sub­mit­ting sig­nif­i­cant doc­u­men­tary evi­dence that Russ­ian offi­cials and their fam­i­lies had laun­dered the money through Swiss bank accounts. The Swiss Attor­ney Gen­eral has since frozen the accounts belong­ing to fam­ily mem­bers of Olga Stepanova, the head of Moscow Tax Office 28, who is the sub­ject of the new crim­i­nal complaint. срочный займ на карту займ на карту zp-pdl.com https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php hairy women

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