Ex-co-owner of Vneshprombank and former head of the Bobsledding Federation of Russia Georgy Bedzhamov on October 30 asked the High Court of London to lift the limit on its monthly expenses, set in the amount of £ 80,000 ($ 103,000). Information about this appeared on the specialized judicial information portal Law360. The restriction was established after a London court in the suit of Vneshprombank seized Bejamov’s assets for £ 1.3 billion ($ 1.7 billion).
Bedzhamov in his statement to the court emphasizes that if the restriction remains in force, he and his family will have to leave their homes in London and in Monaco, respectively. As Bejamov’s spokesman Justin Fenwick said at a hearing in the High Court of London on Thursday, the court ruling lowered his client’s living standards and forced him to “shrink.”
The former banker asked the court to let him spend up to £ 310,000 (almost $ 400,000). The ex-banker notes that the judge mistakenly considered that the standards of living of him and his family have decreased since they left Russia in 2015, while in reality they, on the contrary, have grown.
Fenwick, at a court hearing, said that a person who is under an order to seize assets cannot be expected to reduce his life expenses, even if these expenses seem wasteful by ordinary standards.
“The defendant has the right to spend money as he did before. It is up to him to decide when to change his spending, not to the court, ”Fenwick emphasized. He noted that his client’s expenses had also increased due to the fact that he had to spend money on his safety and the protection of his family after he was threatened with murder and kidnapping. In addition, he spent £ 6 million ($ 7.7 million) only on litigation with Vneshprombank in an English court.
The representative of Vneshprombank, in turn, said that there was no evidence that Bedzhamov’s “extensive and wasteful” business expenses, including hospitality expenses for membership in the golf club, had helped him to earn at least something since he left Russia. The representative of the plaintiff also called it “inexplicable” that Bedzhamov rented a house in Monaco for six years for € 1 million a year, and then moved to London, leaving his family in Monaco, and thus doubled his expenses.
Bedzhamov’s expenses do not correspond to his assets and incomes, they are irrational and are carried out exclusively for the purpose of splitting up assets, the representative of Vneshprombank believes. This is precisely what is intended to prevent the seizure of assets.
Vneshprombank, co-owned by his sister in addition to Bedzhamov, president of the bank Larisa Markus, the Central Bank revoked the license in January 2016. The regulator found a hole in the bank’s balance sheet at 216 billion rubles (at that time - the largest case in the history of the Russian banking sector). Among the bank's VIP depositors were the wives of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, former governor of the Tula Region Vladimir Gruzdev, son-in-law of the head of Transneft Nikolai Tokarev, etc.
Even before the license was revoked from the bank, at the end of December 2015, Larisa Marcus was arrested on suspicion of fraud. The investigation of the case concluded that in 2009-2015 a criminal group operated in the bank, withdrawing billions of rubles from it. In 2017, Marcus was convicted of fraud and embezzlement of 113.5 billion rubles for 9 years (the court subsequently commuted the sentence for six months).
Bedzhamov himself left the country in December 2015. He was put on the international wanted list and arrested in absentia in Russia.
In April 2016, Bedzhamov was detained in Monaco, but Prince Albert II of Monaco refused to extradite the ex-banker to Russia. After that, Bedzhamov moved from Monaco to London.
In March 2019, the Deposit Insurance Agency (Vneshprombank liquidator) and A1 investment company (engaged in debt collection in partnership with DIA) managed to seize Bejamov’s assets from a London court in the amount of £ 1.3 billion ($ 1.7 billion). Bejamov’s lands in the Moscow Region, real estate in the prestigious London region of Belgravia, the five-star Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in Swiss St. Moritz, and villas in Italy and France were arrested.
The court also limited Bedzhamov’s spending of £ 10,000 per week. In May, this amount was increased to £ 100,000, and in the summer it was reduced to £ 80,000, despite Bejamov’s requests to increase this rate. In September, the court, on the basis that Bedzhamov’s spouse and his children could be evicted from an apartment in Monte Carlo, allowed Bedzhamov to pay £ 250,000 of overdue housing rents.
A1 continues to search for Bedzhamov’s assets. In the summer, RBC wrote that the company promises a reward for information about the assets of the ex-banker.