Switzerland opens case against fugitive Russian businessman Telman Ismailov

Switzerland opens case against fugitive Russian businessman Telman Ismailov
Telman Ismailov

Telman Ismailov is accused of fraud, causing damage to creditors, and waste of assets.

The prosecutor's office of Zurich opened a criminal case against Telman Ismailov after receiving a statement from BM-Bank (former Bank of Moscow, 100% owned by VTB). According to Kommersant, in Switzerland, he is suspected of a fraud related to the seizure of a debtor’s property, reduction of assets thus causing damage to the creditors, as well as waste of assets. The businessman may face the maximum punishment - five years in prison. The bank appealed to the law enforcement bodies of Switzerland, since it believes that a hidden part of the loans taken and not returned by Ismailov is kept in this country.

In particular, according to the credit institution, in the period from September 2012 to February 2014, the bank issued three loans for over $ 230 million to Ismailov’s structures - LLC Rusline 2000 and Dutch Tropicano Finance B.V. The businessman himself acted as a guarantor for the loans.

However, the payments on loans were stopped, and the total debt, with penalties and fines, reached 19 billion rubles. After Ismailov was declared bankrupt and his property was put up for auction, the bank received Prague restaurant in Moscow, Tropicano business center, AST shopping center and two debtor’s apartments on Kutuzovsky prospect, which reduced the debt to 15 billion rubles. However, BM-bank failed to get Ismailov’s main asset - Mardan Palace hotel complex in Antalya, Turkey.

By the decision of the Nicosia court, offshore company Vesto Trading Limited, also connected with Ismailov, provided to BM-Bank information on the movement of the borrowed funds. Thus, about $ 8 million was transferred to the United States and used for purchase of Craig Valley Plaza shopping center in Las Vegas, which was later seized at the request of the bank. The shopping center was sold at auction; the funds received from its purchase were frozen.

In addition, the chain of intermediaries leading to Switzerland has also been revealed. In this country, Ismailov is associated with a number of companies, in the names of which he registered his assets.

A source of Kommersant close to the businessman told that he has no assets in Switzerland. Lawyers of the runaway businessman are not aware of the new criminal cases.

At the same time, the press service of VTB said that the bank intends to "seek a full refund of the loan in all possible ways within the law."

Ismailov himself is currently hiding in Montenegro, where he has recently received a citizenship. Back in 2017, Russia arrested him in absentia and put him on the international wanted list on suspicions of being a customer of two murders -  businessmen Vladimir Savkin and Yury Brylev in 2016. According to the Investigative Committee, the organizer of this crime was Ismailov’s brother, Rafik. He is currently being kept in custody.

In addition, new charges has been recently brought against Ismailov. He is accused of kidnapping singer Abraham Russo in 2004. According to the investigation, the reason for the kidnapping was a financial conflict between them.

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