London court freezes £ 1.34-billion assets of former Vneshprombank co-owner

London court freezes £ 1.34-billion assets of former Vneshprombank co-owner
Georgy Bedzhamov

The runaway banker was also restricted in weekly expenses and obliged to report on the sources of his money.

The High Court of London ruled on the suit of Vneshprombank (VPB) attaching the assets of the bank co-owner, Georgy Bedzhamov, worth £1.34 billion ($ 1.75 billion), a bank representative told Vedomosti.  Villas in the Italian Sant'Agnello and the French Cap d’Ail were attached, as well as 33% of Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, real estate in London and property in the Moscow region. The court also ordered Bedzhamov to disclose other assets around the world worth over £ 50k.

The runaway banker was also limited in spending. Bedzhamov was allowed to pay a weekly rent of £35 thousand and spend no more than £ 10 thousand on living. He may spend a “reasonable amount” on legal services. He has to give the source of all the money he spent. Failure to comply with those requirements is punishable as contempt of court by imprisonment and confiscation.

Bedzhamov is forbidden to leave the territory of England and Wales and must hand in his external passport. He is officially on the international wanted list.

In January 2015, the Central Bank revoked the VPB license when it discovered a “hole” of 210 billion rubles. Georgy Bedzhamov, the owner of Vneshprombank’s shares, disappeared after the arrest of his sister, the bank co-owner, Larisa Markus. She was convicted of fraud and embezzlement and jailed for 8.5 years. The court established that in May 2009, Markus and Bedzhamov created an organized group, which included them, as well as the vice-president of the bank and the director of the credit and deposit department, Ekaterina Glushakova, and other unidentified persons. Until December 2015, the defendants prepared fraudulent documents for bad loans and wrote off money from the accounts of a number of depositors without their knowledge. They also issued loans to 286 firms registered under nominees.

Georgy Bedzhamov was hiding in Monaco for years before moving to the UK. Bedzhamov’s debt to the bank in the amount of about 320 million rubles was included in the register of claims of the debtor’s creditors. Courts imposed conservatory attachment on stocks, real estate, and equipment of Bedzhamov’s two glass factories: Bunkovsky Experimental Plant in Noginsk, Moscow region, and a plant in Ruzaevka (Mordovia), which is practically a town-forming enterprise producing bottles for beer, wine and vodka, and cans for baby food. The plant closed after the Vneshprombank collapse and Bedzhamov's flight. Although, Bedzhamov owns only 30% of shares in Bunkovsky Plant, the court arrested 100%. Among other assets, there is a luxury Wine Palace boutique in Monaco, which was owned by Bedzhamov. In France, Bedzhamov manages FOSH 26, a company that rents out real estate. It is registered in Paris, near the Place Charles de Gaulle.

The Moscow Arbitration Court declared the former Vneshprombank co-owner bankrupt. It is worth noting that Larisa Markus said her brother was the mastermind of the theft and withdrawal plot when she was making a cooperation agreement with the investigation.

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