Deceive a billionaire: how Alexander Shchukin's family opened the family-office

Coal magnate and member of the Forbes list Alexander Shchukin decided to do family business in London. How did the businessman become the victim of a rogue?
Origin source
In 2012, the co-owner of the coal mine "Polosukhinskaya" and ex-partner Andrey Melnichenko 9 Alexander Shchukin 189 (№189 on the Forbes list, the state - $ 500 million) has decided to open in London, family-office - private independent organization providing services to families in connection with the management family property and other assets. This problem businessman charged the husband of his only daughter Elena - Ildar Uzbekov son Fuad Uzbekova, which until 2002 was a senior adviser to "Gazprom export", as well as the deputy director of "KazRosGas" (a joint venture between "Gazprom" and "KazMunaiGaz"), follows from materials of the case in the High court in London (there are in the Forbes disposal).

To solve the problem in England found a reliable Uzbeks, as he thought, a partner Adrian Burford. Last-law Shchukin considered "a very clever man." Burford, at first glance, looked presentable: graduated from Cambridge, he worked in McKinsey & Co and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain, ran his own business.

After the Uzbeks told about the purpose of Burford, who caught fire and in 2012 persuaded the RussianPartner of the need to create a family-office in London on the basis of a joint company with him Fern Advisers Limited (Fern). It would allow to invest and maintain a life style Shchukin family abroad. For example, Elena Schukina an art gallery in a prestigious area of ​​London. Burford counting on the fact that the family-office will invest up to $ 1 billion.

English manager offered to do family-office on the example of the Oppenheimer family (former owners of De Beers c fortune of $ 6.6 billion), with which, as he told Uzbekov, he had close contacts. What finally convinced Shchukin family that can work with Burford.
Machinery and restaurants

In April 2012, £ 1 million for the costs of the creation of family-office were sent on account of Fern Cypriot funds in which the money was kept Shchukin family. Two days after the transfer of money Burford as director, translated through a loan of about half of these funds to their bank accounts. Why did he do? Unfortunately, the Uzbeks did not know what Burford experienced serious financial difficulties and is mired in debt. Medical business his wife went from bad to worse, and respektabflax restaurant Sushinho Brazilian-Japanese cuisine in the King's Road in London (Burford was his co-owner) brought the loss on the £ 1 million a year. Things were so bad that, with the mother's lawyer's words Burford, he forged her signature to lay her house for £ 250,000.

But half a million pounds was not enough, and in June 2012, decided to convince Burford Uzbekova translate to Fern through another £ 2.5 million for joint investments with other family-office under the name of Red Star. Companies have had to invest an equal amount in exchange for the shares of the company managing the fund Marylebone Oil & Gas Fund. As stated in the case, Burford showed Uzbekov document that talked about Red Star's intentions to invest at least £ 50 million to the fund. What was the pretext to Burford started getting paid £ 20 000 per month.

As it turned out later, Red Star did not translate his first contribution of £ 2.5 Mill. Burford simply forged document about the investment intentions of the company. But the Uzbeks did not know and sent the necessary funds for Fern account. Burford, in turn, translated into a deposit £ 850 000, which were intended for the purchase of Broadwell Manor estate. In Gloucestershire total cost of £ 8.5 million he took also leased two luxury car - Aston Martin Rapide and the Land Rover Discovery 4. On them he went to the office, which took off for Fern in the prestigious London's Mayfair.

But the money began to run out, and in July 2012 at the Burford appeared another investment offer for Shchukin - deal with the Oppenheimer family. He said that his old colleague, close to Oppenheimer, offer him the management of £ 150 million families. But in order to start managing, Burford from Shchukin need at least £ 10 million - as proof that he has the funds in the accounts. Uzbeks again believed Burford and the funds were transferred to the temporary storage of Fern. Burford Uzbekova thanked and informed that he had received a mandate to manage £ 16 million Oppenheimer family. In fact, no agreement with the Oppenheimer was not, and the funds needed to pay the remainder of the estate. In addition, £ 1.5 million Burford allocated for the development of its restaurant business and opened a second restaurant on Sushinho Devonshire Square, London. Partners for this business, he said that the funds took incredit and showed them a fake statement.
Bankruptcy and "private army of Siberia"

Uzbeks did not notice the theft, since Burford personally prepared for him Fern reports, which reflect the data on the accounts of companies. When asked Uzbekova account statements, the Burford gave him a fake.

But in February 2013 the Uzbeks received a letter from an English bank Coutts, which said that £ 10 million of the company issued to "deal with Oppenheimer," were removed from the company. Uzbeks decided to talk with auditors from Fern Smith & Williamson. Assistant Uzbekova tried to contact Smith & Williamson employee, auditor James Butterworth, on the phone, but the latter was "elusive", it is often dramatically changed the plans and a lot of ill.

It later emerged that he had Butterworth Burford, who invented this character and in his name corresponded with the assistant Uzbekova.

So not being able to get away from it reports Uzbeks in March 2013 addressed to the High Court in London.

In the same month, Burford independent lawyer admitted that he had taken £ 11 million and spent it on the house and its projects. Oneto then retracted his words, explaining that he had received threats from "private army in Siberia." Representatives of the parties Uzbekova told Forbes, that Burford assets have been frozen. Sam Burford its position voiced in February 2014, according to it, the documents proving his innocence, "disappeared in a cloud of postal services." The loans, which he took from the company's restaurant and the estate, were allegedly verbally certified Uzbekova. The aim of the Uzbekova was allegedly withdrawal of his own family. According Uzbekova lawyers, the court admitted the statements Burford "ridiculous and not amenable to any commercial or any other common sense."

The companies belonging to Shchukin, declined to comment for Forbes. What was possible to return the coal magnate? The court ruled that the funds from the sale of the estate must return to family-office. According to Rightmove real estate site, later it was sold for ££ 8 million, selling agent was Knight Frank. Burford himself was declared bankrupt in early 2014. Lawyers Uzbekova say that it is waiting for criminal penalties. Contact Burford failed.