A1 company promises a reward for information on foreign assets of the co-owner of the collapsed Vneshprombank Georgy Bedzhamov and his sister - the former president of the bank Larisa Marcus. The company published such an announcement on Thursday on its website.
The company also launched an advertising campaign at airports: remuneration announcements are broadcast on giant screens in Terminal D of Sheremetyevo Airport and Vnukovo-3 Business Aviation Center. At Terminal S Sheremetyevo, ads are broadcast on approximately 40 small screens. A1 also plans to place ads in London Heathrow.
A1 is an investment unit of Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman and his partners and represents the interests of the bankruptcy trustee of Vneshprombank - Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA). The company is engaged in the search for property of former beneficiaries of a collapsed bank.
Vneshprombank was among the top 50 banks and served the largest companies in Russia, their top managers, senior officials and their relatives. The collapse of the bank in January 2016 was the largest case of falsified reporting in the history of Russia: the Central Bank estimated the hole in the bank at 216 billion rubles. The bank hung money from the wives of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, son-in-law of Transneft President Nikolai Tokarev and relatives of member of its board of directors Artur Chilingarov, Forbes wrote. They also kept money from the son of the then head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, State Duma deputy Vladislav Reznik and his wife and former head of the Duma’s financial committee, Natalya Burykina.
The Central Bank revoked the license from Vneshprombank in January 2016. A year later, Marcus was sentenced to 9 years in prison for the theft of more than 114 billion rubles. Bedzhamov left Russia in December 2015, and in March 2016 he was put on the international wanted list.
In March this year, the High Court of London decided to arrest Bejamov’s assets in the amount of $ 1.75 billion. But so far, less has been discovered, so A1 continues to search for assets to cover the entire amount, explains Alexander Zablotskis, head of A1's legal department.
The purpose of the unusual advertising campaign is to expand the circle of interested parties who can help in the process of finding and returning assets to the bankruptcy estate of Vneshprombank, A1 said. “We are talking about large-scale financial frauds that have been carried out by an organized group of people for a long time, using various schemes for withdrawing funds and hiding assets,” he explains. “In this situation, it is advisable to use non-standard moves to search for information about assets.” According to Zablotskis, A1 for the first time in its practice and one of the first in the post-Soviet space resorted to this method of searching for information about assets.
What assets of Bedzhamov have already been arrested
Mansion, 17 Belgrave Square
London, Great Britain
Ruzaevsky glass factory
The campaign’s target audience is at Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo-3, Zablotskis explains. These are wealthy people who lead a lifestyle similar to Bejamov, may be included in his environment, as well as former bank employees who may know something about his assets. In addition, the vacation season is now, and in airports, in principle, high passenger traffic.
The procedure, conditions and the possibility of paying remuneration will be determined separately in each particular case, depending on the nature and usefulness of the information provided, is indicated on the A1 website. The company considers both a fixed payment and interest payments on the value of assets that it can recover. But if a person brings documents, any irrefutable evidence, in theory they can be paid a fee and not waiting for a foreclosure, Zablotskis admits.
DIA is aware of such a campaign and supports any legal, including non-standard, steps aimed at returning assets to the bank's bankruptcy estate, said his representative. The bank's creditors gave A1 the authority to act in their interests and choose the strategy and tactics of their actions aimed at returning assets withdrawn from the bank, he said.
$ 1.75 billion
the High Court of London seized Bejamov’s assets in March 2019.Among the assets already seized, there are villas in Sant'Anello near Naples, in Cap d'Ail on the Cote d'Azur, 33% of the 5-star Badrutt's Palace Hotel in Swiss St. Moritz, real estate in the fashionable area of London Belgravia and land in the suburbs
“It is difficult to assess the possible direct effect of this advertisement, that is, how much valuable and reliable information about assets abroad can be obtained, but the fact that thanks to this advertisement thousands of people will be interested in a case will go to the search engines at the airport and search for information on it’s for sure, ”says Alexey Ryabinink, managing partner of the Mikhailov & Partners agency. “That is, within the framework of a large information campaign, which is precisely being conducted on this case, this is definitely an effective step.”
According to the licensed private investigator, in this case it can be assumed that the calculation when announcing the remuneration is done for someone offended by Bedzhamov’s entourage. But assessing the likelihood of how it works is difficult without knowing the details. In his opinion, in this case, several million dollars will be the normal amount of compensation.