Ex-chairman of Link-Bank’s board suspected of kidnapping his partner

Ex-chairman of Link-Bank’s board suspected of kidnapping his partner
Andrey Grinchuk is accused of kidnapping his ex-partner with a view to extort 10 million dollars

In total, banker Andrey Grinchuk is charged with six articles of the Russian Criminal Code, including embezzlement, extortion, and swindling.⁠

An investigation against former Chairman of Link-Bank’s board Andrey Grinchuk has been completed. He is charged with six articles of the Russian Criminal Code. This is reported by Kommersant.

Andrey Grinchuk was detained in late 2015 as part of the criminal case over the kidnapping of Greenway LLC owner Sergey Komarov. In December 2014, he was returning home on his Cadillac Escalade, when he was suddenly ambushed. Camouflaged men landed a few shots in the face of the entrepreneur and his driver, and then used a stun gun against them. After that they were placed in different cars and taken away.

The criminals brought the businessmen to the second floor of a private house. A manbag with 60 thousand rubles ($1000), a traumatic pistol, as well as a jacket and boots were taken away from him. The total damage from these actions amounted to 130 thousand rubles ($2.1 thousand). The same evening, he was severely beaten. The kidnappers demanded $10 million from him. Komarov refused, after which he was moved to another room. He managed to get out of the room by roof pitch and reach the fence. However, he never made it over, as the guards caught him and brought him back to the house, where he was once again brutally beaten. A medical examination revealed that his whole body was covered with hematomas, and the ninth rib was broken.

The following day, the businessman agreed to comply with the kidnappers’ demands, drawing a bill in the amount of 800 million rubles ($13.3 million) and filling a report with the FSB Directorate under coercion, in which he admitted to have allegedly participated in a criminal scheme for cashing funds; then he promised to transfer $10 million more. After that, Komarov received a cheap mobile phone for communication and was taken to the Povedniki village, where his car was parked. After returning home, the businessman did not want to go the police, however, he began to receive threats and requirements to transfer money by phone and email. Then Komarov contacted the law enforcement agencies. Thanks to the account details sent by the kidnappers, the police were able to identify them.

According to the investigation, the person who ordered the abduction of Sergey Komarov was his former partner Andrey Grinchuk; they used to be co-owners of AKB Link-Bank LLC. As the law enforcers found out, this credit organization was part of the so-called Moldovan money laundering scheme. Under the preliminary estimates, about 700 billion rubles ($11.6 billion) has been withdrawn from the country using this scheme. Link-Bank went bankrupt in May 2014; auditors found a hole in the budget in the amount of 367 million rubles ($6.1 million). Back then, there were financial disputes between the partners, which (in the victim’s words) Grinchuk tried to solve by use of force. After the latter was detained, security officials found the bills in the amount of 800 million rubles in his house, signed by Komarov. The house, in which the kidnapped person had been held, was eventually found with the help of Komarov’s driver Boris Malykh.

At the same time, according to the investigation, Grinchuk began his criminal activities when working in Dmitrov; being an investor in housing construction, the ex-banker appropriated a hundred apartments and the money of co-investors for a total of 300 million rubles ($5 million).

In late 2000s, he was the owner of F.Grupp CJSC, the developer of the microdistrict named after Vladimir Makhalin in Dmitrov. Previously, PIK-Region JSC had owned the investor rights in this territory. In the summer of 2013, the JSC decided to share the rights with other companies. The director general of PIK-Region JSC signed a cession agreement (for a compensated cession of rights) for the head of F.Grupp. Thus, Grinchuk came into possession of building #13 and 15. Under the agreement, F.Grupp had to finish constructing those two buildings, obtain permission for their commissioning, and then give PIK-Region JSC one hundred apartments and ten non-residential premises.

Grinchuk had to register all the agreements with PIK-Region with the Federal Agency for State Registration, Cadastre, and Cartography, but he refused to do so. Then he sold all the apartments in these buildings to individuals. At the same time, F.Grupp did not finish constructing a single building. When the license of Link-Bank was revoked in May 2014, F.Grupp went bankrupt. The amount of claims to F.Gruup made 1.78 billion rubles ($29.6 million), half of which must have been returned to individuals, i.e. participants in shared construction. PIK-Region also advanced some claims to the company, demanding 298.6 million rubles ($4.9 million). PIK LLC’s representatives appealed to law enforcement agencies. That’s when the police began to suspect Grinchuk of committing actions under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Swindling on an especially large scale). However, the developer refused to communicate with the investigation, and was declared wanted. Later, another criminal case (part 4 of Art. 160, Misappropriation on an especially large scale) was initiated against him for embezzling funds of the investors. According to the investigation, this crime caused an atmosphere of "social tension" in Dmitrov. A new developer had to finish the construction of the abandoned buildings. 

Lawyers noted that the investigation had been rather slow. Grinchuk himself has been repeatedly detained by law enforcers, but he proved to have been a party to an economic dispute every time. He attributed the unfinished buildings to the financial crisis. And then the police released him. It was only after the episode with the kidnapping of Komarov that the investigators managed to put together all the charges against the ex-banker. At the moment, Grinchuk is a defendant in six criminal cases (Art. 159, 126, 162, 163, 166, and 226 (Swindling, Abduction committed by a group of persons by previous concert with the use of violence with danger to human life, Robbery, Extortion, Theft of weapons, and Joyriding). However, according to lawyers, this is hardly a complete list.

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