Russia applied with request to Monaco to deliver the fugitive owner of Vneshprombank

Russia applied with request to Monaco to deliver the fugitive owner of Vneshprombank
Georgy Bedzhamov

The Prosecutor General's Office filed a request to the Monaco authorities to extradite former co-owner of the bankrupt Vneshprombank, President of Russian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Georgy Bedzhamov.

Relevant documents were sent to the authorities of the Principality.

It has been established that Georgy Bedzhamov was arrested in Monaco a month ago. Prior to that, he was listed in the international wanted list and was accused of embezzling of the bank funds, the total amount of which exceeded 1 billion rubles. The Court of Monaco will examine the documents sent by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, but the final word in the decision on extradition rests with the Prince Albert II.

The Prosecutor General's Office filed a request for the extradition of Georgy Bedzhamov in the Directorate of Legal Services of the Principality of Monaco. In this document, apart from the description of the former banker’s alleged offenses, some assurances that the Russian side undertakes to perform there are also listed. For example, it states that the ex-banker will be responsible only for the crimes listed in the request for extradition. In addition, the Prosecutor General's Office promises to treat  him accordingly to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Russian law enforcement agencies have also promised not to use violence against the suspect, committed to provide the right to a defense and in the case of extradition he will be kept in a detention facility the conditions of which correspond to international standards.

It is to be recalled that the former co-owner of Vneshprombank that became insolvent, the President of Russian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Georgy Bedzhamov was detained by authorities of Monaco on April 21st, after receiving a request from the Prosecutor General's Office. In Russia, a man in absentia was accused of embezzling in total amount of more than 1 billion rubles.

In accordance with the laws of Monaco, these documents were to be sent within 40 days after Bedzhamov’s arrest by the police of the Principality. The Prosecutor General's Office has kept within the statutory period. Now the Court of Appeal of Monaco will examine them and decide on the extradition of a Russian criminal. It is noteworthy that even in the case of a positive court decision last word rests with the head of state - the Prince of Monaco Albert II.

According to media reports, Albert II and Georgy Bedzhamov are known to each other. Apart from the fact that the Prince is in the IOC, he also took part in competitions in bobsleigh at the professional level. However, it wasn’t a barrier for the authorities of Monaco to arrest Bedzhamov.

According to the existing practice, in the few cases where there is a question about extraditing the Russians detained on the territory of Monaco, the local authorities make advances and the process itself does not take much time.

After the petition of the investigative department of the MIA, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow, on March 16th,  ordered to arrest George Bedzhamov in absentia. After this, the man was placed on the international wanted list for stealing 1 billion rubles.

At the same time, Mr. Bedzhamov’s lawyer in Russia Sergey Belchich told the media that he was not aware of the situation with a request from the Prosecutor General's Office. The lawyer said his client was innocent and believed his prosecution was politically motivated. In addition, the lawyer said he did not know whether Bedzhamov applied for political asylum in Monaco or in some other country, but it is certain that the authorities of the Principality will refuse in his client's extradition to the Russian law enforcement agencies.

It is to be recalled that in December of the year 2015, the investigative department of the Russian MIA has initiated a criminal case on embezzlement of Vneshprombank’s funds. It was a month before the decision of the Central Bank to revoke a credit institution’s license to conduct business. After a short amount of time, the court declared Vneshprombank insolvent.

According to ACB, at the beginning of May the bankruptcy manager has got claims from 10 441 applicants in the total amount of nearly 177 billion rubles. The formation of the registry of creditors was completed on May 18th, 2016.

It is noteworthy that the situation around the Russian Bobsleigh Federation President and the member of the Board of Directors of Vneshprombank, the license of which was revoked on January 21st, Georgy Bedzhamov, who since December of the last year has not been in Russia, is closely monitored by the Ministry of Sports of Russia. It also provides financial support to the Federation.

At the end of 2015, Larissa Marcus, Bedzhamov’s older sister and the co-owner and president of Vneshprombank, was arrested first and placed in jail. She was charged with fraud on a large scale (ch. 4, Art. 159 of the Criminal Code).

According to the original version of the investigating authorities, the banker and his sister, as well as the number of persons who are not established by the investigation, purposely issued bad loans to their firms in the total amount of more than 1 billion rubles.

It is noteworthy that Georgy Bedzhamov became a defendant in the criminal case only in March of this year. A man was charged in absentia with fraud. The court issued the decision for his arrest in absentia. The lawyer of ex-banker tried to protest, saying that his client is abroad for medical treatment, and left the country before the bank’s insolvency. However, the court took the side of the MIA and the banker was placed on the international wanted list.

It should be noted that he is nominally still the President of the Russian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. At the same time, he cannot perform the real functions of the manager for obvious reasons. Now, the Federations are preparing for the election of the new manager and Bedzhamov’s early withdrawal from the post.

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