Nasledie organized criminal group: Retirees’ savings flow away to Cyprus
Half a billion rubles ($8.8 million) invested into Nasledie (Heritage) Non-Governmental Savings Company disappeared after the bankruptcy of the financial organization. Ex-Deputy Rinat Nurislamov, former shareholder of the collapsed Ponzi scheme, has been arrested on suspicion of creating an organized criminal group and turned in the true embezzlers of the retirees’ funds. Nurislamov claims that he receives threats from criminal ‘authorities’ ‘patronized’ by law enforcement officers. According to him, the Nasledie assets are currently managed by a former taxman who had ‘shielded’ the company from auditors for 5 million rubles ($88.3 thousand), then orchestrated its bankruptcy, and currently is searching for the missing clients’ money.
In December 2017, ten persons have been arrested in Naberezhnye Chelny on suspicion of creating a Ponzi scheme and defrauding over 2 thousand people. This refers to the Naberezhnye Chelny branch of Nasledie (Heritage) Non-Governmental Savings Company. According to the law enforcement authorities, “the founder and General Director of the limited liability company has created a criminal organization in order to embezzle other persons’ property by defrauding citizens through a pyramid scheme”. The investigation believes that the organized criminal group consisted of 10 people, while Rinat Nurislamov, ex-Deputy of the Naberezhnye Chelny Municipal Duma, was its leader. Nasledie branches had operated in 2009–2015 in several Russian cities: Ufa, Nizhny Novgorod, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Tolyatti, Tyumen, Izhevsk, and Perm. Company clients were mostly retirees investing their savings into Nasledie at high interest rates (up to 37% per annum) promised by the fraudsters. In exchange, the people had received promissory notes. Officially, the company had used the clients’ money to provide personal loans to citizens – both directly and via micro-credit organizations.
Ex-Deputy Rinat Nurislamov
In September 2015, the clients became aware that Nasledie has collapsed and their money flew away in an unknown direction. The hoodwinked investors addressed the law enforcement authorities. Damages sustained due to the swindlers’ operations amounted to 564 million rubles ($9.9 million). When Nasledie stopped paying interest on deposits and returning people’s funds, the clients began filing and winning lawsuits against it. Not all of them, however, were able to recover their money because it was impossible to restore the company’s solvency. In August 2016, the Arbitration Court of Tatarstan has declared Nasledie Non-Governmental Savings Company a bankrupt. Insolvency administrator Stanislav Kuznetsov has immediately stated that, according to the accounting books, the debtor only has an office and accounts receivable in the amount of 68 million rubles ($1.2 million). All other company’s assets have disappeared.
Over 2 thousand people became victims of the fraudsters
In April 2017, the suspected Ponzi scheme creator – 35-year-old Rinat Nurislamov, ex-Deputy of the Naberezhnye Chelny Municipal Duma – has been arrested in Kazan. 11 criminal cases instituted in regions where Nasledie branches had operated have been amalgamated into one case against the con artist; the total number of his victims is over 2 thousand people. He and his ten suspected accomplices have been charged under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (swindling committed by an organized group on an especially large scale). According to some information, another criminal case has been initiated against Rinat Nurislamov and his associates under parts 1 and 2 of Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein). However, no charges under that article were officially laid yet.
Rinat Nurislamov in court
Nurislamov claims that he is a victim of police lawlessness and that an assassination attempt has been committed against him. He says that he was in charge of Nasledie up until 2013. The former Deputy of the Municipal Duma told the court that other people – those who had siphoned off the money to Ukraine-based Altan Group and then to Cypriot offshore companies after his resignation – must be held liable for the embezzlement of clients’ funds and creation of an organized criminal group.
Roza Khasanova, former accountant of Nasledie, is also a suspect in this criminal case; she has been released under a written pledge not to leave the city. Khasanova has testified against Nasledie cofounder Ildar Nigmatullin and insolvency administrator Stanislav Kuznetsov who allegedly has strong friendly ties with a member of 29th Complex organized criminal group. Both Nurislamov and Khasanova provide similar versions of the scheme used to embezzle the clients’ money.
Roza Khasanova, former accountant of Nasledie
Explosion on the recreation base
According to Rinat Nurislamov, in fall 2013, he had to withdraw from the cofounders of Naberezhnochelninskaya Nasledie Savings Company (a branch of Nasledie) due to threats received from a member of 29th Complex organized criminal group known as Koldun (Wizard). This likely refers to Ilgiz Akhmetshin – a freelance ‘psychic’ of 29th Complex. At some point, he had provided medical services to the gang leader and is believed to have ties with the organized criminal group since then. Rinat Nurislamov claims that Koldun, Nigmatullin, and Kuznetsov had demanded him to give up his share in the business threatening to “leave his children without father and mother”. The problems had started back in 2012. All his complaints to law enforcement structures were in vain because one of the extortionists – namely, Kuznetsov – had extensive connections in the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs and Investigative Committee.
“They wanted to blast me when I was supposed to come to Lesnaya Polyana (Forest Glade) recreation base. I have survived by a happy chance. The cabin I was about to settle in has been blown up. The police had investigated the incident but, expectedly, with no result. They failed to identify the perpetrators of the blast,” – the ex-Deputy told in court.
After that incident, his spouse started receiving threats as well. Some people once approached her on the street and warned that she won’t see her children anymore should her husband continue “misbehaving”.
Ultimately, Nurislamov had to surrender his share and relocate to Kazan. According to him, the ‘authority’ from 29th Complex organized criminal group has seized the control over Nasledie. In 2015, Stanislav Kuznetsov became the insolvency administrator and has been in charge of the bankruptcy of Naberezhnochelninskaya Nasledie Savings Company Limited Liability Company since then.
Keep the mouth shut
Roza Khasanova told the investigation what has happened after the resignation of Nurislamov. According to her, Nasledie cofounder Ildar Nigmatullin was siphoning off the clients’ funds – he had personally carried cash away from the offices. Millions of rubles were transferred to Ukraine-based Altan Group micro-financing organization and then to Cyprus where the company owners had intended to purchase a hotel and launch a tourism business. Some 250 million rubles ($4.4 million) have been stolen from the Naberezhnye Chelny branch alone. By the way, Ildar Nigmatullin owns 67% of shares in Altan Group, while the remaining 33% belong to Naberezhnochelninskaya Nasledie Savings Company Limited Liability Company controlled by insolvency administrator Stanislav Kuznetsov.
Nasledie cofounder Ildar Nigmatullin
Khasanova claims that she continuously receives threats from both Nigmatullin and Kuznetsov. They had hinted and openly promised to “break all her bones” and cripple members of her family should she dare to testify against them. Allegedly, none of these persons are afraid of criminal prosecution because they have “everything under control” in the law enforcement structures, while the local organized crime ‘covers them up’.
Khasanova believes that prior to becoming the insolvency administrator, Kuznetsov had assisted the Nasledie owners to embezzle clients’ funds and then orchestrated a deliberate bankruptcy of the company; in addition, he had ‘shielded’ it from various audits, including those initiated by the Prosecutor’s Office and Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation. According to Khasanova she has evidence that in 2015, Kuznetsov had received 5 million rubles ($88.3 thousand) from Nigmatullin for this assistance.
The both suspects – Khasanova and Nurislamov – strongly doubt that the law enforcement authorities ever launch an inquest against Stanislav Kuznetsov: the investigators are actively collaborating with him as the insolvency administrator. In addition, Stanislav Kuznetsov earlier used to serve in the tax authorities and was dismissed for inaptitude – which hasn’t prevented him from becoming the Head of Security in Spurt Bank.
Since October 2009 and until September 28, 2015, Nasledie had operated in 13 cities located in 10 regions of the Russian Federation
Rinat Nurislamov suspects that the true masterminds behind the embezzlement of clients’ funds may bribe the investigative authorities. Allegedly, Kuznetsov had repeatedly conveyed to him messages through the personnel of the pretrial detention facility demanding Nurislamov to take the blame upon himself and promising in exchange to arrange his release under a written pledge not to leave the city. Nurislamov had repeatedly refused to make a deal with Kuznetsov and every time was put to the disciplinary cell for two weeks by prison officials. He claims that this had happened several times.
Now Rinat Nurislamov intends to address the FSB for protection because he fears for his life. His submission has been added to the case file. The CrimeRussia will continue monitoring this story.
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