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Forbes magazine has published a list of FBI ten most wanted. A Russian citizen Semen Mogilevich took the honourable fourth place next to the Latin American drug lords and leaders of Al Qaeda. He spent much time in Moscow, but his life in the capital can not be referred to as quiet. In 2008 the man with billions of dollars was charged with tax evasion of a modest sum of 49 million rubles. As a result, the king of the underworld spent a year in remand prison and was forced to give up a significant part of his assets. People, who took part in the high-profile investigation, are still paying for their actions. In particular, the investigator Sergey Vaychulis was forced to resign from office at the Ministry of the Interior, and then tried to accuse him of illegal acquisition of the apartment provided for him for his term of office. Those he was a subordinate to also lost their jobs.
Mogilevich is no stranger to big success and painful loss. He started his career during the Soviet times with Vneshposyltorg checks fraud and counterfeit vodka trafficking. By the beginning of the 1990s he managed to become the owner of several factories in Hungary and Canada, and also to set up one of the largest money laundering channels. In 1995 Mogilevich had a narrow escape from being killed by his closest associates, the leaders of Solntsevskaya criminal group. Most European countries banned him from entering their territory. A little later, the FBI put him on the international wanted list and his criminal empire collapsed. But Mogilevich managed to build a new one, becoming an important link in the supply of gas from Russia and Turkmenistan to other countries, particularly to Ukraine.
The agent of the Moscow Criminal Investigation
Semen Yudkovich Mogilevich was born on June 30, 1946 in Kiev, in the family of a physician and a typography director. After finishing school he entered the Faculty of Economics at Lviv State University, where fellow students nicknamed him Golovasty (Russian for “brainy”) for the ability to figure out how to quickly and easily make money.
As a result, Semen took up black marketeering and speculation. He spent time mostly in airports and train stations, looking for clients. In 1973, a 27-year-old Mogilevich was caught currency trading and in Kiev was sentenced to three years in prison under Article 80 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal foreign exchange transactions). In prison he met some powerful criminals, mostly Jews, who served sentences for various scams. When released from prison, Mogilevich and his new acquaintances began to rob rich people in Kiev who gained the money illegally. But then he was caught again.
A Kiev butcher decided to buy dollars worth 50 thousand rubles. Semen (the butcher did not know his real name) arranged a meeting him to a potential seller, whom he introduced a military attaché from Congo. Black people were a novelty in the Soviet Union at that time, so the butcher was not suspicious. However, having received 50 thousand rubles, in return he gave fake money. When the customer noticed that, he ran after him, but lost the "attaché" while following him through court yards.
The butcher was a man with connections. He found out who conned him and rushed into the restaurant, where Mogilevich celebrated the success of the scam. The butcher pulled out a gun and started shooting. Semen had to agree to return the money, but then the police arrived. The butcher and Mogilevich refused to tell the police what had caused the conflict, but the officers quickly found it out. As a result, the butcher and Mogilevich were sentenced. In 1977 the Kiev Court ruled four years in prison for Semen, who was found guilty under Article 143 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (fraud).
After serving the term, Mogilevich moved to Moscow, where he began the same criminal business. According to the archives of Moscow police, together with Lev Gekker, nicknamed Lev Kremenchugsky, Semen began to look for easy game in the capital's Berezka shops which sold good for hard currency to foreigners or Russian diplomats, military men, and some experts. Especially in the store located on the 60th anniversary of October Prospect. The scheme was easy. Instead of Vneshposyltorg cheques, which one could use to pay for goods in Berezka, to those who wanted to buy some. Mogilevich sold fake ones. The same fate awaited those who to exchange for the precious cheques.
According to police archives, investigators knew about the activities of Mogilevich, but did not arrest him. The explanation for this can also be found in the investigators’ files on Semen. His personal file contained coded information that Panichev, a Criminal Investigation police officer, made Mogilevich his agent, who supplies him with information. It is worth mentioning that Panichev investigated criminals, operating mainly at Vnukovo airport. Among his other agents was Yuri Gushchin, who now is a major businessman, former owner of Guta Bank. In the early 1980s he was only a card sharpie who worked in Vnukovo airport. It was not by chance that Panichev took interest to Mogilevich.
Ministry of the Interior operational fact sheet (from the archives of Moscow GUVD
Surname ............... MOGILEVICH
Name ................... SEMEN
Patronymic .............. YUDKOVICH
Date of birth......... 30 June 1946
Place of birth........ KIEV, UKRAINE
Passport number ............... 7ÌÀ 748175
Nationality ........ JEW
Address ................. KIEV, UKRAINE
Registered at ..... 9/1, apt. 40, VISNEVSKOGO, NAGORNOYE-MO, YU-OKRUG OVD-0509
Job .......... CONCRETE WORKER
Category ............. FRAUDSTERS
Nickname ................ SEVA
Description 1 ............. GREY EYES FAIR HAIR COOPERATED - I1 8631834 09 86 ÀS 11299 LD-10755 LEIST 8 UUR PANICHEV. I2 8633757 9 86 ÀS 13167 LD-10755 LEIST 8 UUR PANICHEV
Criminal record ............. PROSECUTED UNDER 80 CRIMINAL CODE OF UKRAINE 1974 UKRAINE KIEV 3 YEAR IN PRISON. 143 CRIMINAL CODE OF UKRAINE 1977 UKRAINE KIEV 4 YEAR IN PRISON KIEVSKAYA ARKH
Article ................ FRAUD STREET MALE GROUP FORGERY JEWELRY VNESHPOSYLTORG CHEQUES
Accomplices ........ GEKKER, LEV VILENOVICH NICKNAMED LEV KREMENCHUGSKY.
List of accomplices of Semen Mogilevich in the 1990s (made by Interpol headquarters):
AGAYEV, Chengeez, born on May 21, 1957, citizen of Russia, lives in Moscow. Agayev was arrested by the Czech Republic police in May 1995 in Prague in U Halubu restaurant. He was also suspected by the German authorities of being member of a criminal group and of money laundering in connection to Transfer on License and Finance SAH.
ALEKSANDROV, Aleksey Viktorovich, born on December 4, 1959, citizen of Russia, MOGILEVICH’s assistant and head of Arigon Ltd. He headed Arbat International. He owns 25% in Russian Petroff-Bank in Moscow. He had a Czech residential permit from Jun 2, 1993 till June 9, 1995, when he worked at Arigon CS Ltd. On June 9, 1995 he was banned from entering the country for 10 years. According to Prague National Central Bureau, in August 1995 British authorities banned ALEKSANDROV from entering the country for life.
ELEK, Joseph, born on March 13, 1966, Hungarian and Yugoslavian citizen.
FIEGELSON, Aleksander, born on March 26, 1948. In 1991 left for Israel and in 1993 came back to Lithuania. He is involved with the criminal group called Vilnius brigade. He has an Israeli ID 30476699 and a passport 5007674. He was MOGILEVICH’s business partner in Israel.
FISHERMAN, Igor Lvovich, born on June 30, 1952. He is an American and Israeli citizen and has American, Israeli, and Croatian passports. National Central Bureau in Sophia states February 5, 1956 as his date of birth. His Croatian passport ¹ 06833643 was no longer valid since April 1999. In 1997 he entered Croatia with passport ¹ 093191661. He has an American passport ¹ 093191661 and a Russian passport ¹ 500285350. According to Ukrainian Tax Service, FISHERMAN is head of joint stock company À.B.V. (registered on February 26, 1996 at 19, Yaroslaviv val, Kiev)
He is also the financial manager of Army-Coop and ILF Consulting, and chairman of the board of directors in Magneks. From June 9, 1995 till August 31, 1998 he was the financial manager of 3S and F Capital Investment.
FISHERMAN was president of United Trade Ltd in the Cayman Islands. He was also vice-president of Arigon, USA, in charge of financing projects in Europe.
HAYES, Leonid, born on December 21, 1949, Israeli passport ¹ 5206495, worked for MOGILEVICH in the Czech Republic. He was his business partner in Arigon and Asania-Fia in Prague.
KARAT, Konstantin, born on October 27, 1959, Israeli passport ¹ 6020826 and/or 90908931. He was a partner in Arigon in the Czech Republic.
KOROL, Igor Mikhailovich, a.k.a. Gimah, born on August 28 or 30, 1971. In Kiev he headed the so-called militants of MOGILEVICH.
KULACHENKO, Anatoly, has Greek and Russian passports. He established Arbat International in Russia and was partner in Arigon in Budapest and on the Channel Islands.
MARIN, Yuri Petrovich, born on April 22, 1953 in Russia, lives in Moscow, has a Russian passport ¹ 1724668.
ORLOV, Aleksander, born on July 26, , 1955 in Russia
RAKHIMOV, Botir, born on June 30, 1966, lives in Tashkent, passport ¹ ÑÀ0885024.370
RYBAKOVA, Irina, a.k.a. BODONI Shandorne, born on July 31, 1950, has a Bulgarian passport.
TITYUNIN, Aleksander, born on December 3, 1954 ã, Israeli ID 30734562 and Israeli passport 4866510. He was involved with MOGILEVICH since they met in Russia and was his business partner in Israel. He was also a partner in U Habulu.
TSURA, Anatoly, financial assistant to MOGILEVICH . He has a Russian and an Israeli passports.
VESSERMAN, Mikhail, born on December 7, 1949, has an Israeli passport ¹ 5271388. He worked for MOGILEVICH in the Czech Republic and was a business partner in Prague in Arigon, Leman, and Asma-Fia.
Sergey Mikhailov was directly involved in the establishment of following companies set up by Semen Mogilevich:
• SV Holding,
• Arbat International, joint venture,
• Emire Bond in Israel,
• Magnex in Hungary,
• MAB International in Belgium,
• YBM Magnex,
Foreign Ids owned by Mogilevich:
• Croatian passport ¹ 06521953.
• Croatian passport 06941355, issued to SEMJON JUTKOVICH, void at Croatian Ministry of Internal Affairs decision as of April 7, 1999.
• Israeli passport ¹ 4904179 issued on November 24, 1991 (expiration date is November 24, 1992).
• Israeli ID 30923674.
* Israeli passport 4745426 issued in Tel-Aviv.
* Israeli passport 7489398.
In 1992 Mogilevich received a passport issued for Semen MOGLERICH, Semion MOGLARITS. He may possess Ids as Semen TELES or Semen TELECH.
Places of residence:
In Israel in 1996 he lived at:
* 27, Zhibatinskogo Str., Tel-Aviv, Israel.
In Hungary in 1990 he lived at:
* 26, Grarat Str., Budapest (tel. 116-26-09).
* Fogarashi Str., Budapest.
* 18, Margit Yanovets, Budapest, XVI
* 140-142, Kerepeshi Str., Budapest, 1145
In June 1999 he lived at:
* 106, Erdoalya, Budapest (tel. 250-31-37).
In Kiev he lived at his wife’s at:
* 36, apt. 8, Budivelnikiv Str., Kiev (tel. 552-77-49).
According to the investigation, along with Berezka shop frauds, Semen was engaged in illegal trade of vodka. At first he was selling liquor at Vnukovo airport and at Kievsky train station, and then he began selling alcohol almost across the entire capital. At the same time, according to secret service, Mogilevich met with the leaders of the future Solntsevskaya group, Sergey Mikhailov and Viktor Averin, who at that time were just a doorman and a bath attendant, selling vodka at an exorbitant price. Since joblessness was illegal in the USSR and there was an article of the Criminal Code to prosecute for it, Mogilevich was officially a concrete worker.
Apart from Moscow, Mogilevich’s vodka business expanded to the central train station in Kiev, where he had had connections for a long time. Gradually Semen turned from huckster into a distinguished person who shared the profits with other shady businessmen, who worked in Vnukovo, on Kievsky and central train stations. He got a new nickname, Seva Kievsky. In 1987 Mogilevich began to travel to Poland more frequently. There he developed a different direction of his criminal business.
At that time there began a new wave of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union to Israel. Usually Jews left the Soviet territory through Poland. It was virtually impossible for immigrants to take out their money and valuables from the Soviet Union, and this was where Mogilevich offered his services. He would undertake selling of their property in the Soviets, and they could get money in hard currency in Poland or Israel. It is clear that such business was immensely profitable for Seva Kievsky. Selling property was accompanied by smuggling of antiquities owned by immigrants from the Soviet Union.
Mogilevich met criminal dons and shady entrepreneurs who lived abroad. Shabtai Kalmanovich, the notorious businessman who had Israeli citizenship and worked for the KGB, was also among his friends. As a result, in 1989 Seva Kievsky officially emigrated to the Promised Land. Or, to be more precise, he changed his passport, as he continues to spend much time in the USSR and Europe, constantly expanding the scope of his criminal activities.
In 1989 he divorced his second wife, Galina Grigoryeva, and married a Hungarian, Catalina Papp (she died under mysterious circumstances in 1995). This allowed Mogilevich to get citizenship in Hungary. Mogilevich acquired real estate in Budapest, and quickly made friends with the leaders of a local criminal group Kish. In Moscow Mikhailov and Averin, who became boss of Solntsevskaya gang which was then gaining strength, remained his partners and the main cover.
Solntsevskaya fiesting. Sergey Mikhailov a.k.a Mikhas is in the center
Ministry of Defense property, prostitutes, drugs, and antiques
Even a book would not have enough room to list all the areas of criminal activity that Mogilevich was involved in at that time. For instance, In Germany Seva enriched quite well when capitalizing on the difference in exchange rates of currencies of Germany and East Germany during the unification of Germany. In Germany also Mogilevich and his friend Georgy Miroshnikov carried out a grand affair with the assets of Western Group of Forces (WGF).
Georgy Miroshnik was several times incarcerated for fraud already in the Soviet times in the Ukraine. It was through those activities that he met Mogilevich. However, in his official biography Miroshnik argued that he was tried for political reasons, since he was member of a kind of Ukrainian Insurgent Army. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Miroshnik went into business, organized multi-industry concern Interkomtsentr Formula 7 and made connections among high-profile people including General Aleksander Rutskoi. Both participated in the controversial program Harvest-90, which ended in a number of criminal cases. When Rutskoi was elected vice-president of Russia, Miroshnik became his assistant.
In this capacity he offered the Defense Ministry his assistance in selling the goods piled up in warehouses of WGF Voentorg (special purpose military stores). In 1991 the idea was personally approved by General Nikolai Sadovnokov, Head of Trade of the Ministry of Defense. The mass of commodities (mainly perfumes) was worth 18.5 million German marks. According to investigators, some were stolen back in Germany and another part of the perfumes was smuggled into Russia. Mogilevich, a friend of Miroshnik’s, directly participated in the scam. The entire amount of consumer goods was successfully sold, and the Ministry of Defense received only 415 thousand Deutsche Marks.
In 1992 the Prosecutor General's Office issued an arrest warrant for Miroshnik. On finding that out, he left Russia in the governmental delegation and flew to the Olympics in Spain. Overseas the businessman with the help of Mogilevich got new IDs as Yameser Ntsemik Afsidis, citizen of Poland, and Grigoris Nikolailis, citizen of Greece. Many years later was arrested in the U.S. with one of these documents and was deported to Greece. Only in 2001 Miroshnik came to Russia again.
Prosecutor General's Office arrested the businessman’s 11 million dollars in cash, a collection of antique paintings, statues, and other valuables worth 45 million dollars. As a result Miroshnik only got two years in prison, and when he was freed, he began to sue with the Prosecutor General's Office to return his property.
In 1991 Mogilevich through the firm Aroteks, that lasted only a year, bought an entertainment complex in Prague, in which he opened a night club Black and White, Casino 21, and a Japanese Restaurant Sakura. At the same time Seva set up a chain of Black and White nightclubs in Hungary. The clubs were established by Kiss And Kaiser controlled by him. Lots of girls involved in prostitution come from the former Soviet Union, mostly from Ukraine, to work at the clubs. Gradually the clubs began to send their girls to Israel, Austria, and Germany. At the same time the girls are forced into selling drugs. According to the FBI, for that Mogilevich came into contact with the criminal world from several Latin American countries.
The prostitution business was so to say a joint venture of Mogilevich and leaders of Solntsevskaya and Uralmashevskaya criminal groups, which had interests in Hungary. In 1992 Seva organized a meeting of prostitution business criminal bosses in Atrium hotel in Budapest. Among them there was Sergey Mikhailov, Viktor Averin, Eduard Ivankov (son of Vyacheslav Ivankov, a kingpin who lived at that time in Austria), and Konstantin Tsyganov (Tsigan is one of the leaders of the Uralmashevskaya group). According to Russian investigators, at the meeting Mogilevich raised the issue of investing 4 million dollars earned on prostitutes in new Black and White nightclubs in Eastern Europe.
A year later Seva’s prostitution business started to face problems. The thing was that in Hungary one more group, central group from Sverdlovsk region, controlled the trafficking of girls from the former Soviet Union. In Russia most of the leaders of the gang at that time were killed by members of Uralmashevskaya group. However, in Budapest, their position was still strong. One of the bosses of the groups, Nikolai Shirokov, lived in Budapest. He began to take the market away from the prostitutes of Mogilevich.
Bodyguards followed Shirokov everywhere and it was difficult to get to him. Then, Mogilevich and Uralmashevskaya members found a mistress for Shirokov, who informed them about his actions. Having received information from their agent, Seva and Tsigan sent killers. In December 1993 five gunmen broke into one of the apartments in Budapest and shot Shirokov and two of his guards, Valeyev and Gorbunov. In August 1994 to clear the stage completely, militants of Mogilevich and his companions killed in Budapest two leaders of the group that controlled prostitution and four prostitutes from Ukraine who had stopped working for Russian pimps and started working with Hungarian ones.
Mogilevich also continued to develop his antique and jewelry business. He and his partners worked in a big way. Seva Kievsky bought a jewelry factory in Hungary, where he installed new equipment from France needed for the repair and restoration of jewelry and inserting gem stones. In their turn, his partners from Solntsevskaya group took over the Moscow jewelry stores chain Zolotoy Dom (Russian for “gold house”) which had a production plant. Mikhail Kudinov, the kingpin, was in charge of their work. Shabtai Kalmanovich, an Israeli friend of Mogilevich’s, in turn, bought a number of precious stones mines in Africa. Felix Komarov, another friend of Seva’s and a businessman dealing in antiques, opened Russian World Galery art gallery in New York City. Its real owners, according to Interpol, were Mogilevich, Mikhailov, Averin, and Riccardo Fancini, another Russian mafia member. Komarov began to actively involve such sculptures as Mikhail Shemyakin and Ernst Neizvestny, using their desperate need in money, in the production of gold, silver and platinum figurines, decorated with precious stones.
As a result, Zolotoy Dom sent high-quality products made of gold and platinum made in Russia to the Hungarian company owned by Mogilevich. The official paperwork claimed that in Budapest precious stones would be inserted into the jewelry which would then be sent back to Russia. This allowed toavoid paying most of the customs duties, fees, etc. Precious stones were indeed inserted, being mostly smuggled into Europe from the mines of Kalmanovich. However, the jewelry was sold in Europe. Zolotoy Dom stores then sold ornaments of poor quality shipped to Russia under the guise of jewelry sent to Hungary for gem-inserting.
Mogilevich’s factory sent museums of the CIS offers to restore antique jewelry. Such proposals were also received by private collectors. As a result, antiques of all post-Soviet space were shipped to Budapest as if for restoration work. It is clear that some works of art were never returned to their owners. But an even bigger scandal erupted when it emerged that some of the work, sent to Mogilevich were replaced with fake ones (it should be mentioned that the quality of fake works of art was very high). First of all it happened to works of Faberge. Moreover, as stated in Interpol files, it was Shemyakin and Neivestny who made the excellent forgeries. Then fake works of art were sent to their owners, and originals were either sold through European auction houses including Sotheby's or in the gallery established by Komarov.
Smuggling weapons from Ukraine to other countries is also something Mogilevich dealt in. The main organizers of the business were Aleksander Zhukov (the father of Dasha Zhukova, now the wife of Roman Abramovich, the oligarch) and Leonid Lebedev, current member of the Council of Federation. Mogilevich played a secondary part in the business. But he was able to participate in a number of large supplies. In particular, thanks to his efforts a few ground-to-air missiles and 12 armored personnel carriers were delivered to Iran for 20 million dollars. He was also involved in smuggling1000 hulls for T-54 and T-55 Soviet tanks. According to secret service, Seva involved was in supplying arms to Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and Croatia.
Together with Shabtai Kalmanovich and singer Josef Kobzon Mogilevich was involved in drug trafficking from Hungary to Russia. Kobzon, by the way, then worked closely with the leaders of the Russian mafia. According to Russian investigators, he even took part in an underworld convention, which took place in November 1994 in Tel Aviv. Kingpins discussed the future criminal activities in Israel. Among the participants there were Kobzon, Mikhailov, Averin, Mogilevich, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (Taivanchik ranks seventh in the list of FBI most wanted), Leonid Bilunov, Boris Birshtein, Grigory Luchansky, etc.
In 1993 Seva Kievsky also met in Prague with Salvatore, a member of the Camorra Di Falco. The two discussed smuggling of furniture, weapons, and drug trafficking.
Coca-Cola under grenade gun fire
Among other things, Mogilevich and his friend among criminals dealt in simple racketeering. They attacked businessmen from the former Soviet Union, who had interests in the West, and the Western merchants, who had interests in the former Soviet Union.
When an Austrian businessman Julius Meinl decided to open several JuliusMeinl supermarkets in Moscow, he was addressed by Mogilevich and Ivankov’s son in Vienna, and then by Averin and Mikhailov in Moscow. As Meinl reported subsequently to the department for combating organized crime of Austrian Ministry of Internal Affairs (EDOK), the criminals told him that for the stores to work in Russia with no problems, he had to pay 50 thousand dollars monthly. A company indicated by the criminals was made one of the co-founders of the supermarket chain management company. This lasted until December 1995, when Meinl found a serious partner and did not need the services of the former protectors any longer. At the same time he appealed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Austria.
It is worth mentioning that, according to Interpol, in the 1990s, Solntsevskaya gang and their foreign partners pressed representatives of such world giants as Coca-Cola Corporation, Mars Candy Company, IBM Corporation, Cadbury, Hershey Foods, and Philip Morris, Inc.
In March 1993 Coca-Cola Corporation built a plant near Moscow, which the leaders of Solntsevskaya group believed to be theirs. Soon some businessmen scheduled an appointment with vice president of the company, claiming to be willing to offer a profitable business partnership. Visitors explained that they represented the interests of Averin and Mikhailov and demanded to make payments on a monthly basis, to give discounts for supplied goods, and promised to ensure that the plant runs into no problems. A flat refusal followed. Soon the unknown fired a grenade gun Mikha into one of the plant shops, almost killing tow security guards. Representatives of the Coca-Cola filed a complaint to law enforcement authorities in Moscow, explaining their conflict with Solntsevskaya group. However, the shooting officially remained unsolved. According to operational information, Anatoly Anisimov, one of Solntsevskaya gang group leaders, was in charge of the operation.
A similar situation happened with Mars Candy Company, which in 1995 began construction of a factory in the area that Solntsevskaya group had under control. Especially since the enterprise seriously harmed the business interests of the criminal group. Businessmen associated with the group smuggled batches of Mars products to Russia. Products passed customs in Odintsovo, where Solntsevskaya group had good connections. A new factory of the chocolate giant in the Moscow region killed the business.
According to Russian investigators, Solntsevskaya group decided to get compensation from Mars Candy Company. And as proof of their determination, they intimidated managers of construction companies building the factory for Mars. As a result, construction companies postponed commissioning three times, until the chocolate giant and the criminals found a common language.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Seva and Solntsevskaya group through mediators demanded the banker Aleksander Konanykhin to pay a large sum of money. In Russia he was put on the wanted list on charges of embezzling 8.1 million dollars. He fled to the United States, where the criminal bosses found him. According to Interpol, in August 1993 Seva and his partners forced the businessman Andrey Mokhin to transfer 375 thousand dollars from his account in Berlin to the account in the Commercial Bank in Budapest specified by Mogilevich.
By 1995 Mogilevich's criminal empire had extended to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Italy, France, Hungary, Israel, Czech Republic, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Cyprus, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and the United States. Among his partners there were such notable figures of the Russian mafia living outside the former Soviet Union as Vyacheslav Ivankov, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, Leonid Bilunov, Grigory Luchansky, Riccardo Fancini, Boris Nayfeld, Tawfiq Asimov, Monya Elson and others.
Worldwide financial laundry
The criminal octopus included dozens of companies established by Mogilevich in different countries. Hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars were laundered through them. In 1989 Mogilevich established Arigon Ltd in the UK (address: United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Alderney, St Anne House, 77), and became its director. The entity was managed by Mogilevich, his former wife Galina Grigoryeva, and her then-husband Adrian Churchvald, an English jurist. Arigon Ltd established a Russian-British joint venture Arbat International Inc. on the basis of Arbat cooperative which was at that time controlled by Sergey Timofeyev, the leader of Orekhovskaya group. At first this company opened pay toilets at Kievsky train station, and then at Vnukovo airport. Solomensky cooperative was established to open such toilets at the central station in Kiev. According to investigators, it is because of pay toilets that Mogilevich was jokingly nicknamed Seva Kievsky in Moscow and Seva Solomensky in Ukraine .
Proceeds in Moscow and Kiev went to companies with accounts on Channel Islands, where the money was laundered and allotted for other projects. As the Mogilevich’s criminal business expanded, new Arigons were being established worldwide.
For example, in Prague Mogilevich established Arigon CS, which was headed by his friends Aleksey Aleksandrov, Konstantin Karat, Leonid Hayes, and Anatoly Katrich. In Budapest Seva founded Arigon Oil Kft. Its president was the Georgias Nikolaidis (Georgy Miroshnik), and the heads were Galina Grigorieva, Aleksandrov, and Anatoly Kulachenko. Arigon Trading Co., Ltd was set up in the United States. It was headed by Igor Fisherman, Yaakov Bogatin, and Anatoly Tzura, that is, people of Mogilevich's closest associates, who had connections in the government of Ukraine. The same trio headed a vast number of other Arigons.
Secret services believe that in the early 1990s most of the criminal money from the former Soviet states passed in the main part through such Arigons. After that it went to other entities also controlled by Mogilevich, and ended up in the offshore in Cyprus or the Cayman Islands. This business was soon expanded to America, where in Alberta, Canada, on March 16, 1994 Prateks Technology Inc. was registered with the participation of Mogilevich. The company worked closely with the U.S. Arigon Trading Co., Ltd.
This is an abstract from the materials of Interpol headquarters about the activities of one of the Arigons: “Mogilevich made Arigon ltd, which was founded in the UK, the main financial legal cover for criminal activity. Through accounts in Royal Bank of Scotland Mogilevich transferred 80-100 million dollars received from the accounts in Russia and Hungary to the accounts in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. After that the money was returned back through London to the accounts in Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary. These accounts were used to make regular payments to Sergey Mikhailov, Tamm Arnold, Semen Mogilevich and others.”
Arigons invested laundered money in completely legal business. Budapest Arigon bought controlling stakes in local defense company Army Co-op and a magnets production plant Magneks. A magnetic factory was purchased in Canada. For marketing the products Mogilevich established YBM Magnex.
When in 1995 security forces of almost ten countries began an inquest into, Arigons’ activities, Mogilevich began to curtail their work quickly, moving his laundering business to alternate airports. The first of the two newly established entities, which should not draw attention of law enforcers, was United Trade Limited. There were also two firms with the same name. One was located in the Cayman Islands, its president being Igor Fisherman. The second was located in Budapest. Anatoly Tzura helped Fisherman to manage the second one. Yaakov Bogatin initially participated in the management of both firms, but then went out of business.
Another important entity in the scheme was YBM Magnex, which in 1995 began to grow like a rolling snowball. Firms with the same name were registered in many countries. The main YBM (YBM Magnex International Inc) was established on the basis of Canadian Pratecstechnology Inc. in 1995 and is also registered in province of Alberta. At the same time a branch was opened in Newton (USA, Pennsylvania). According to security services, Mogilevich understood that having attracted attention of law enforcers in Europe, he would not be able to transfer for no reason hundreds of millions of dollars through his companies. This was when he established Canadian YBM which laundered money under the guise of investments, and even issued shares to the stock exchange. Another alternate airfield of Seva was Benex which laundered money through BONY. There was a lot of fuss across the world when its activities were under investigation.
Virtually all of these projects involved members of Solntsevskaya criminal group. They approved the purchase of Hungarian plants with the proceeds from criminal business they had together with Mogilevich. Two Lyudmilas, the wife of Sergey Mikhailov and the wife of Viktor Averin, were officially the largest shareholders of YBM Magneks. Benex was headed by Petr Berlin, who was familiar with Mikhailov, and his brother worked for the Solntsevskaya gang in Moscow.
From lesf to right: Sergey Mikhailov, Mike Tyson, and Victor Averin
To be continued.
Thomas Petrov, Alexey Gordon, Rumafia.com
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