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Russia seized apartments and demands extradition of a fugitive banker

A mansion in Belgravia Sq. belonging to Georgy Bedzhamov (pictured), a fugitive banker from Russia, was seized recently by a Russian court. This clearly prevents Bedzhamov being able to sell it.

According to Russian legal news portal Rapsi (http://www.rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20210127/306698605.html), a Court in Moscow, Russia frozen  the property asset of Georgy Bedzhamov in London located at 17 Belgrave Square and 17 Belgrave Mews West, Mayfair London.

The Court decision (in posession of the London Globe) says, “the titleholder and owner is prohibited to dispose of the specified property, in particular enter into contracts of sale, donation, lease, pledge and other transactions, the subject of which is the alienation or encumbrance of this property”.

In compliance with the records, obtained from the Court, “the resolution to initiate a motion before the court for permission to seize property was drawn up in compliance with the requirements of the criminal procedure law, substantiated by factual data confirming the need to authorize seizure of property belonging to the accused Georgy Bedzhamov, which is confirmed in the copies of the criminal case files submitted to the court”. The Russian justice system has been trying since 2015 to bring to justice the infamous banker Georgy Bedzhamov, the former owner of the once-prosperous Vneshprombank.

Georgy Bedzhamov who fled Russia and then Monaco to London after Interpol issued a red warrant against him, remains a classic example of criminal businesspeople who fled their East European motherland after being prosecuted for fraud and financial misconduct.

According to a source close to the UK’s Home Office, “such stories not only deteriorate the business climate of the UK but also the reputation of Great Britain, which serves as a safe haven for controversial business figures”.

“No doubt the prosecutor shall forward this order to the UK criminal authorities via the official channels, to preserve this property”, the source said.

A source representing creditors suing Bedzhamov said “it was not clear why the Russian prosecution waited so long to freeze the asset of Bedzhamov, but it is a good indication that the Russian prosecution is taking the criminal case against this person seriously, using all the legal tools at their disposal to pursue him both locally in Russian, as well as internationally”.

Bedzhamov still owes hundreds of millions to the creditors of his former bank, but this money is securely hidden and very hard to discover. The only assets that may be seized and sold to fulfil his obligations are real estate properties in London. Belgravia is a luxury place that Bedzhamov owns, and now he allegedly tries to officially sell it in order to free some money for his glamorous life. However, the potential buyer of the mansion may now take huge legal risks after the court in Russia arrested the building on the claim from the Russian authorities, say legal experts in London.

In Britain Bedzhamov is also limited his in financial rights. Various courts have restricted his movement between London and the rest of the UK. He is banned from spending more than £10,000 a week, while he is renting a penthouse in London’s luxury district Mayfair for £35.000.

Recently Lord Judd, the member of the House of Lords, expressed earlier his indignation about the story of Bedzhamov “who is seeking asylum in UK for money”.

In 2015, even before the revocation of the license from Vneshprombank, Bedzhamov acquired a long-term right of lease until 2034 for two houses in London for $ 43 million. Under the condition of renovation of the houses, the right can be extended for 129 years, according to the lawsuit.

Currently, the property is estimated at $ 7.5 million. Upon receipt of a permit for renovation for housing, the cost of houses will increase to $ 35 million, and upon its completion-to $ 75 million. following the decision of the city Council of London Bedzhamov received initial permission. To receive full consent, the banker has to pay the city an additional $ 1.8 million.

The lease agreement itself was negotiated by creating fraudulent schemes using an offshore company Clement Glory registered in the Virgin Islands. Prosecutors in Russia believes that this is a scam designed to disguise the traces of the deal.

The Tverskoy Court of Moscow ruling included a lot of impressive conclusions that depict the real activities of Georgy Bedzhamov as head of the Bank. In particular it says, that Vneshprombank “did not perform independent financial and economic activities”. They were under his (Bedzhamov’s) and his sister Larisa Markus’ control, “created solely for the purpose of obtaining loans from the bank, which caused Vneshprombank damage on an especially large scale for a total amount of over 113 billion rubles (over GBP 1 bln).”

“Currently, the issue of extradition of the accused Georgy Bedzhamov is being resolved by law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation”.

“The bottom line is that Bedzhamov is trying to sell his mansion to some buyer, and give the money to his own lawyers, that is, clearly to himself”, says a source close to creditors.

At the moment, the Russian justice system is trying to limit the possibilities of the fugitive Russian banker as much as possible, to prevent him from disposing of the money of defrauded depositors and, finally, to achieve his extradition to Russia.

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