Banker Vladimir Antonov faces creation of organized crime group charges

Banker Vladimir Antonov faces creation of organized crime group charges
Vladimir Antonov

The investigators will check him for involvement in a fraud in 10 banks.

The MIA Main Investigations Directorate in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region will check banker Vladimir Antonov for involvement in a fraud in 10 banks. The investigators believe that the businessman had been regularly pulling off schemes to steal money from credit organizations. Primarily, it concerns the embezzlement of 150 million rubles ($2.42) from Sovetsky bank. RBC learned that in 2015, former bank heads knowingly issued an impaired loan. The money was withdrawn through organizations controlled by the entrepreneur and later embezzled. 

According to one lead, the defendants in the case would form a portfolio of securities that actually little value, RBC’s source familiar with the investigation said. “Then they would estimate this portfolio at several billion rubles and sold it to the bank. The scheme participants bought securities with the money withdrawn,” the publication’s interviewee said. 

The case defendants applied similar scheme in at least 10 banks. They include Baykal, Russky Mezhdunarodny Bank, and AK Bank

In 2015, the Central Bank announced the reorganization of Sovetsky. This decision was made in connection with the detection of signs of the bank’s unsustainable financial position, posing a threat to the interests of its creditors. The first detentions were held in December 2016. Officers of the MIA Main Investigations Directorate in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region detained former Head of Sovetsky Credit Department Kuznetsov and three entrepreneurs, who were nominee directors of front companies, according to the investigation. They were former employee of Impeksbank Semyonov and some Chernysheva T. and Tolstoukhov D. 17 more alleged participants of the crime group involved in a major fraud with bank loans in the Sovetsky Bank criminal case were detained in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Yakutsk a month later. 

“In 2015, the crime group members colluded with employees of one of the credit institutions in St. Petersburg, which was soon to be deprived of its license. The plotters concluded a 150-million-ruble ($2.42 million) loan agreement with this financial institution using proxies without actual intention to fulfill their obligations. After getting the money, they immediately disposed of them as they saw fit,” the MIA press service reported.

The beneficiary of credit was Servis LLC, a nominal company that did not actually conduct any economic activity. It is assumed that collusion participants pulled off similar schemes in other banks. Banks checked for links to Antonov were also deprived of their licenses. 

The CrimeRussia’s sources found out that the operatives took interest in Vladimir Antonov after the detained Chernysheva agreed to cooperate with the investigation. In her statement, she mentioned Vladimir Antonov and former shareholder of Sovetsky Vladimir Mitrushin. The latter is internationally wanted and is hiding abroad.

As a result of searches in Antonov’s country house in the Odintsovo District of the Moscow region, the operatives seized documents, computers, information carriers, electronic keys of the Bank-Klient system, legal entities, and draft documentation. In addition, they found Antonov’s fake Latvian passport under the name Broks Andrejs. 

As the source told The CrimeRussia, Vladimir Antonov may soon face a charge of organized crime community creation (Art. 210 of the Russian Criminal Code). 

To recall, Vladimir Antonov has been detained in the Moscow region on the suspicion of embezzlement of money from Sovetsky Bank, to which he had never been formally related. Today, he was escorted to St. Petersburg.

Searches of residential and office buildings used by the persons involved in the case were simultaneously held in the Moscow region, St. Petersburg, and the Leningrad and Chelyabinsk regions.

Law enforcement bodies of Lithuania also have issues with Antonov. He is suspected of being involved in Snoras Bank bankruptcy. A shortage of $361 million has been exposed in the bank. Initially, the credit organization had been nationalized and declared bankrupt, and then dissolved. At this time, Antonov and Snoras co-owner Raimondas Baranauskas were in the UK, and the Lithuanian government sought their extradition. After the London Court decided to grant Lithuania's request in early 2014, Antonov moved to Russia. In August 2016, he sued Vilnius for recovery of more than 40 billion rubles ($646.8 million), but the Moscow Arbitration Court refused to consider it.

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