Former Sugar King Valery Korotkov was selling a nonexistent Gram

A lawsuit against $ 159 million was filed against a businessman in a London court.
Origin source
In the High Court of London, a rare week is dispensed with without mentioning the names of Russian businessmen. True, the participants of the first hundred Forbes are usually suing each other, and this time a lawsuit for $ 159 million was filed against the little-known Valery Korotkov. A group of investors is planning to get a huge amount from it, including companies from the Marshall Islands, from Liechtenstein and the UAE. Apparently, none of them went into the details of the defendant's biography.

The plaintiffs claim that Valery Korotkov convinced them to invest in the Gram cryptocurrency, which the Telegram messenger plans to release. The money of investors was received by Korotkov-owned Cyprus company Aluxes Holding Limited, which assumed the role of an investment fund. And then, as follows from the lawsuit, the owner of this company intended to appropriate the purchased Gram tokens.

The initiators of the lawsuit invested $ 15 million in this case, but they estimate the damage at 159 million. The story, in which Korotkov and cryptocurrency simultaneously appear, could hardly have avoided such a development.

One foot here, the other there

Some media outlets call Valery Korotkov a Ukrainian businessman, but, apparently, he made his first big money in Russia. In 1992, this former head of the Kharkovvodstroy trust section moved to Moscow, and he soon became the head of the Itera group of construction companies. The latter was the second gas producer in the country after Gazprom in those years, and also supplied fuel from Central Asia to Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. It is possible that this circumstance allowed Korotkov to establish strong business ties in his small homeland.

In 2003, he began to invest money earned in Russia in the agricultural business in Ukraine, or rather, in the Astarta group of companies Igor Ivanchik. Apparently, it was Valery Korotkov’s money that allowed this sugar producer to become one of the largest land lords in Ukraine. Today, Astarta controls land plots with a total area of ​​about 250 thousand hectares. In 2005, a group of companies controlled by Ivanchik and Korotkov became an active participant in the so-called “sugar crisis”. Together with the leaders of six more enterprises, Korotkov and Ivanchik sharply raised sugar prices by 25%. The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine accused producers of price conspiracy, for this Astrata had to pay the state a fine of one million hryvnias. But, apparently, she didn’t do this voluntarily. In 2017, the company appeared in a criminal case on tax evasion.

Despite an active interest in business in Ukraine, Valery Korotkov retained for a while the position of First Vice-President of the Russian Itera, which, apparently, became for him a source of money for investments abroad. True, in 2009 he was fired from a Russian company for schemes that deserve a separate story.

Billion past the box office

As we have already said, Valery Korotkov headed the Itera development business - Itera-Invest-Stroy OJSC. In 2006, this company became the guarantor of the loan that Itera-Invest-Stroy LLC of the same name received from the Yamal Regional Development Fund. The loan amount was impressive - more than 1 billion rubles. Two years later, the deadline came to pay, but the fund did not see the money. The creditor decided to recover the debt in court and sought to seize the guarantor's property. True, to no avail.

It seems very likely that Korotkov was trying to crank up the scheme that the so-called “red directors” used to use. Ura.Ru sources said that he and the head of the Yamal Regional Development Fund, Maxmir Kim, have known each other for their work in the oil and gas business since the late 1990s. It so happened that the fund under the leadership of Kim gave money to a laying company. Friends-managers, apparently, "drank" a billion, and then one of them tried to take over the property of an unsuspecting "guarantor".

The Arbitration Court refused to seize the property of Itera-Invest-Stroy OJSC. Three days after this, the parent company reported that Valery Korotkov was fired following an internal audit, during which financial irregularities were identified. Apparently, the story of a loan from a fund led by Maximir Kim was just one of several such episodes.

In the footsteps of Mavrodi

We can only guess about how Korotkov managed to escape the prison in Russia. But it is reliably known that after a scandalous dismissal, he moved to Kiev, where he continued to work on the board of directors of the Astarta group. Apparently, the money withdrawn from Russia was a good help for the growth of the Ukrainian company. By the beginning of 2010, Ivanchik and Korotkov holding owned enterprises in Vinnitsa, Poltava, Khmelnitsky, Kharkov and other regions of Ukraine. In 2016, the holding included eight sugar factories. In 2011-2014, Astarta’s profit almost doubled and exceeded $ 350 million.

But with all this, Valery Korotkov did not lose ties with Moscow. According to media reports, in 2015 he left the agricultural business in Ukraine and became a co-owner of one of the largest Moscow developers - the Housing Capital group. At the end of 2016, the company declared itself bankrupt, leaving almost a thousand deceived equity holders on the street. The arbitration manager found signs of intentional bankruptcy of the company. Is it any wonder?

And now, Mr. Korotkov, who, apparently, is in the UK, has been the subject of a lawsuit for $ 159 million. It is understandable. How could such a person stay away from mass hysteria around cryptocurrency? Bitcoin was blown away. But under the promise of the rapid growth of other "coins" today, they still collect money from investors without any guarantee of return.

By the way, in the London case, apparently, one more episode with cryptocurrency and Korotkov is not mentioned. According to the Nezigar telegram channel, the former Astarta co-owner, together with the former SBU employee Alexander Svishchevsky, organized a business for the supply of mining equipment (“mining” of digital coins). Svishchevsky and Korotkov’s partner in this case was another Russian-Ukrainian businessman Arthur Voloshin, who is considered the common-law husband of the head of the “Expo-2025 Application Committee” Svetlana Sagaidak. According to Nezygar, last summer Voloshin allegedly had to flee Russia because of claims from investors and law enforcement agencies. They collected money from investors, but instead of buying equipment for mining, they, apparently, were simply withdrawn to Ukraine and the EU countries.

Everything, as in the times of “MMM”: no laws, only hype, blind trust and scammers. It is not for nothing that, after all, the US Securities and Markets Commission (SEC) through the court has achieved a temporary ban on the issue of Gram tokens. It is unlikely that anyone would be surprised if the US authorities will closely monitor the fate of the lawsuit against Valery Korotkov in London. Last year, US federal agencies began a real hunt for cryptocurrencies from Russia and Ukraine.

It was then that a high-profile story happened with the arrest in Greece of Alexander Vinnik and the collapse of the Wex cryptocurrency exchange. The lawsuit against Valery Korotkov in London appeared against the backdrop of a new turn in the Greek case. In Washington, Vinnik is considered the head of the illegal BTC-e exchange, on the basis of which, apparently, Wex appeared. Clients of both sites could work anonymously, which made the brainchild of Vinnik a convenient money laundering tool. It is known that through BTC-e alone bitcoins passed for $ 4 billion.
US authorities are seeking the extradition of a Russian, who is still in a Greek prison. And just the other day, the Western media connected Wex’s activities with people close to the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic, former intelligence officers and a number of well-known entrepreneurs in Russia and Ukraine. Well, how does it turn out that Valery Korotkov and his Cypriot Aluxes Holding Limited were active users of this shady platform for withdrawing money abroad?


If you believe the sensational investigation of journalist Ivan Golunov, who spoke about corruption in the funeral services market of Moscow, Valery Korotkov is the owner of the land at the Troekurovsky cemetery. According to Golunov, the businessman acquired 4 square meters there. m. for 4.65 million rubles. This is the most expensive site of those that were in open sale through electronic auctions.