Runaway Kosmos ex-head convicted in Britain

Runaway Kosmos ex-head convicted in Britain
Ex-head of NPO Kosmos Andrey Chernyakov and his wife Anastasia Erokhova in London Photo: Kommersant

Andrey Chernyakov, owing the Bank of Moscow over 30 billion rubles ($521m), is supposedly hiding in Germany.⁠

The High Court of London sentenced the former head of the scientific-production association (NPO) Kosmos, Andrey Chernyakov, to two years imprisonment for concealing his assets from the creditor. His wife Anastasia Erokhova received four months in prison for assisting her husband.

According to Judge Justin Phillips, Chernyakov concealed part of his property from the defendants. Earlier, the Russian court ruled to recover debts from Chernyakov in favor of the Bank of Moscow (now owned by the VTB Group) as from the guarantor for loans of NPO Kosmos. According to the court, despite the fact that most of the property of Chernyakov, located in Britain, Austria and the UAE, was sold at auctions, he concealed, and then sold a St. David yacht for 16.3 million euros, as well as two of his aircrafts - a Bombardier Learjet and a Bombardier Global, gaining another 17.8 million euros. If the information was not concealed intentionally, the judge believes, then the defendants could only be fined. However, the defendant did it "shamelessly and persistently", concluded Phillips. In addition, the court ordered the defendants to reimburse all legal costs in this case.

However, the accusation against the spouses was made in absentia, since the British authorities are not aware of their exact location now. The hearing on the application of the Bank of Moscow in respect of Chernyakov and Erokhina, who showed contempt for British justice, was supposed to take place on October 10, but was postponed due to the failure of the defendants to appear. When they did not come the next day, policemen set off to look for them. No one opened the door of a suburban house in London, rented by spouses. There were even no barks of dogs that had previously regularly barked at bailiffs who often appeared in Chernyakov's dwelling. From that the law enforcers thought about the possible escape of the defendants. The judge gave them another chance to respond by law, having scheduled a hearing on October 12, but even then no one came at the trial.

This week Phillips noted that, since the defendants demonstrated "complete reluctance" to participate in this case, there was no point in postponing the passing of a verdict against them. Chernyakov and Erokhina were put on the wanted list. Despite the fact that earlier the spouses had handed over their 16 passports to the British authorities (of which two foreign passports of Chernyakov and Erokhova issued in Russia, as well as a Cypriot passport in the name of the latter turned out to be valid), law enforcers believe that they still managed to escape to Germany.

In Russia, the former head of Kosmos is accused of Swindling in the sphere of lending (part 4 of Art. 159.1 of the Criminal Code). According to investigators, while being the president of the NPO, Chernyakov, "having intent to steal money", in 2011 signed a loan agreement with the Bank of Moscow for the construction of the Alabyano-Baltiysky tunnel in the capital. The bank transferred 11.5 billion rubles ($199.7m), but the company did not fulfill its obligations, Chernyakov did not return the funds and went to the UK. As a result, the businessman was put on the international wanted list, and the Meshchansky District Court ruled to recover debts of Kosmos from Chernyakov. Subsequently, as reported by Chernyakov's lawyers, the Bank of Moscow re-assigned debt claims to an unknown company - Kosmos-M, as a result of which Chernyakov is required to pay both the credit institution and the commercial structure, and the debt has risen to 31 billion rubles ($538.4m).

In addition, it is known that Chernyakov owes even his lawyers to whom he did not pay for the work done.



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