Prosecutor General’s Office denies free return to Russia to former owner of Billa and 3 other defendants on ‘Titov list’

Prosecutor General’s Office denies free return to Russia to former owner of Billa and 3 other defendants on ‘Titov list’
Former owner of Billa supermarket chain Georgy Trefilov

In his letter to a business-ombudsman Boris Titov, deputy prosecutor general Viktor Grin has called a possible arrest of the businessmen “a reasonable measure of restraint - taking into consideration the seriousness of the actions committed.” 

The Prosecutor-General’s Office has denied to call off a criminal prosecution of 4 defendants in the ‘Titov list’ including a former owner of Billa supermarket chain Georgy Trefilov, reports RBK. In his letter to a business-ombudsman Boris Titov, deputy prosecutor general Viktor Grin has called a possible arrest of Trefilov, as well as Omsk businessman Vasily Dyakun, Murmansk entrepreneur Vladimir Zyuzin and Krasnodar businessman Semen Maskotov “a reasonable measure of restraint - taking into consideration the seriousness of the actions committed.” Earlier, Titov proposed to give them assurances for the free return to Russia and participation in investigative activities.

Trefilov was put on the international wanted list in 2010 on suspicion of theft of 1.3 million rubles ($19 thousand) loans. The investigation theory is that the businessman had put as security encumbered assets or property of another. Trefilov used to say complaints against him were baseless and complained about a raider seizure of his enterprise. In 2013, Great Britain court sentenced him to 1.5 years of suspended prison sentence on charges of using forged documents. The businessman moved to London where, according to Forbes, owns a store chain and Italian restaurants.

Marta holding that was co-owned by Trefilov was founded in 1992. It dealt with retail (Billa, Grossmart, Pur Pur), online shopping (003.ru, byttehnika.ru, m3x.ru, tehnopolis.ru), as well as manufacturing of exterior finish materials and wrapping. In 2006, Marta sales volume amounted to $536.1 million. Trefilov owned the holding’s 75% through an Austrian legal entity. Boris Vasiliev owned 25% of the holding. Due to the 2008 crisis, the entrepreneurs had to reckon with their creditor and sell out the business.

Murmansk entrepreneur Zyuzin is being accused of non-payment of 800 million rubles ($12 million) to Sberbank. He was also put on the international wanted list. The entrepreneur’s representatives state complaints about him contradict the law and his property that had been pawned was sold out illegally. The businessman stated he had become a victim of a criminal community with MIA’s former General Denis Sugrobov at its head (Sugrobov was sentenced to 12 years in colony).

From the mid-2000s, Vasily Dyakun was engaged in the construction business in Omsk. He held the position of Deputy Head of the Center for Supporting the Construction Complex of the First Builders Guild LLC. Since 2013, it was included in the capital of the United Construction Bank, currently known as the Siberian Bank Sirius. In early 2017, the Central Bank revoked the organization’s license. A criminal case was opened against the executive staff of the bank and its management team. The investigation believes that the bank did not comply with the requirements of the legislation in the field of combating the laundering of proceeds from crime, as well as the financing of terrorism. At the time of the withdrawal of the license, the raised funds of the population and organizations in the bank amounted to 360 million rubles ($5.4 m).

The Business Ombudsman, Boris Titov, told RBC that he would continue to work with appeals from businesspeople whom the Prosecutor General’s Office refused to mitigate the preventive measure. According to Titov, the ombudsman’s office is “honing the joint work” with law enforcement agencies, and “the number of people seeking justice will increase.” Titov noted that those on the list are convinced of their innocence and want to prove their non-involvement in crimes.

Another five persons featured in the 'Titov's list' were allowed to return to Russia, since no preventive measure related to the deprivation of liberty was chosen for them. Vladimir Artyushin, Chairman of the housing cooperative in the Leningrad region, Yuliya Makurina, representative of Afina LLC, who was associated with the investigation of cases of the illegal seizure of the buildings of the Research Institute of Elastomeric Materials and Products in the center of Moscow, Alexey Baygushev, shareholder of the Kvartstroy group, Andrey Markov, Director of the Perm company Novy Vek-Agro, and Alexey Novichkov, Financial Director of the Voronezh company Modus, are allowed to return. All the entrepreneurs mentioned are on the international wanted list for cases of Swindling (Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

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