Former Senator Lebedev now living outside Russia suspected of $ 220 million embezzlement

Former Senator Lebedev now living outside Russia suspected of $ 220 million embezzlement

The member of the Chuvashia Federation Council, who had stepped down from office last year on suspicion of corruption, is now involved in a criminal case of swindling. However, Leonid Lebedev has not been a Russian resident already for about 6 months and according to his lawyer, no one interrogated him and he has seen no official indictment.

A criminal case has been initiated against Leonid Lebedev, the co-owner of the Sintez Group. The MIA Criminal Investigation Department for the Tver region initiated the case under part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code, regarding swindling on a large scale. He is suspected of stealing a large sum of money from TGK-2, which is the leading energy company of the Northwest and Central Federal Districts of Russia. According to the Forbes with reference to a source close to the businessman, ex-Senator's case had been isolated from the criminal case against the former head of the Sintez Group and the General Director of TGC-2 Company Andrey Koroliov, who had been charged in absentia with abuse of power and fraud in the amount of 2.6 billion rubles stolen from Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Tver Company late in 2015.

The Investigation took a closer look of Leonid Lebedev after an application submitted by a police offshore shareholder of TGK-2, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Lonisera Participation.

According to the statement, Leonid Lebedev being TGK-2 majority shareholder, together with the TGK-2 management stole $ 220 million from the company. The Yaroslavl Region arbitral tribunal confirmed the theft. The court was also considering claims from two other shareholders of the company, whose the Board of Directors had approved an obviously not beneficial deal. It is believed that 43% of the TGK-2 acquired by Lebedev for 18.6 billion rubles has belonged to him since the reform in AO Unified Energy System of Russia.

Lebedev's lawyer Aleksey Grebensky, who found out about the proceedings over the phone and has not yet received a copy of the verdict confirmed that investigation has started.

However, even at the first stage Grebensky argues that the case has been initiated with a gross violation of legal norms, the very next day after the statement was submitted to the police which was not in the Yaroslavl region, but in Tver region.

In addition, he said, the defendant has for a long time been a non-resident of Russia and this could not be associated with the excitation of criminal case against him. In the near future the lawyer intends to appeal against the decision to initiate proceedings.

Grebensky said he could see a direct connection between this case and the one considered in New York court  - the claim from Lebedev against his former partners Viktor Vekselberg and Leonard Blavatnik. The ex-Senator accuses the businessmen of not paying him $ 2 billion after selling TNK-BP Rosneft or the interests from the deal, although formally he has not been a TNK-BP shareholder. He said in 2001 under the investment agreement, he handed $ 25 million to Blavatnik and Vekselberg getting nothing in return. In last December, the court did not recognize the fraud charges against Vekselberg and Blavatnik, however Lebedev's claim has not been dismissed altogether.

In 2015, after the inspection initiated by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Office Leonid Lebedev resigned before his term ended and left the Federation Council.

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