Monaco refuses to extradite former co-owner of Vneshprombank to Russia
The authorities stated that Georgy Bedzhamov, who stands accused of embezzling nearly 1 billion rubles, cannot be extradited because of a recent heart surgery.
The Monaco Court of Appeal has refused to extradite Georgy Bedzhamov to Russia. It turned out that the decision was made on July 12. This was reported to Kommersant by the Secretary General of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Monaco, Magali Ginepro. The reason for that was the state of health of the former co-owner of the bankrupt Vneshprombank and the ex-president of the Russian Federation of Bobsleigh and Skeleton. Reports suggest that he underwent heart surgery in a foreign clinic. In addition, recently the verdict was approved by the head of state Prince Albert II. Russian Prosecutor General's Office states that they have not received any official documents concerning the extradition request. Meanwhile, Bedzhamov’s lawyer Sergey Belchich categorically refused to comment on the decision of the court of Monaco, as well as on the state of health of his client and his current whereabouts.
Kommersant suggests that the decision of the Monaco authorities could be affected by the long-standing acquaintance between the ruling prince and Bedzhamov, as the former head of the Russian Federation of Bobsleigh and Skeleton. Albert II is a member of the International Olympic Committee, and he participated in competitions in bobsleigh at five Olympics in 1988-2002 years.
This April, the former co-owner of Venshprombank was detained and arrested in Monaco, as he had been put on the international wanted list at the initiative of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Later, Bedzhamov was released on bail, the amount of which was not specified. Earlier, Forbes cited its sources, reporting that Bedzhamov moved from Monaco to the United Kingdom, where he could no longer be afraid of extradition.
As the CrimeRussia previously wrote, the holder of 22.91% at Promstroyproekt, which, in turn, owns 3.2% of shares Vneshprombank, Georgy Bedzhamov disappeared after another co-owner of the bank, his sister Larisa Marcus, had been arrested in December 2015. In January, the Central Bank revoked Vneshprombank’s license, when a hole worth 210 billion rubles was found in its balance sheet. In March, the court declared the credit institution bankrupt.
In March, the Tver Court in absentia arrested Bedzhamov on charges of Swindling on a considerable scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). He is suspected of embezzling nearly 1 billion rubles. Bedzhamov was then put on the international wanted list.
Vneshprombank’s activities are often compared to that of a classic pyramid scheme —payments to the old clients were carried out at the expense of new ones, while the statements were being falsified. At the same time, there were a lot of officials, lawmakers, and prominent businessmen among the bank depositors. By the time when the license was revoked, the private customers' accounts contained more than 20 billion rubles. The crooks registered fake loans on the VIP-clients without their knowledge and then spent them.
To somehow cover the losses of customers, Bedzhamov’s property was put up for sale. In particular, his yacht Ester III, which is estimated at almost 80 million euros, is supposed to be auctioned.
The prosecution has replaced life sentence for Lieutenant of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Aleksey Korotkov with 24 years behind bars in exchange for his support to the investigation: in particular, exposure of other gang’s members who had been dealing with murders of businessmen and random people for more than 10 years.