пятница, 18 марта 2011 г.

Antiquary with criminal past


Antiqued blackmail in Langley's interiors

The well-known antiquarian schemer Alexander Khochinskiy started another
badly smelling combination. The head of Magriko agrarian holding Oleg
Muzyrya became the victim of his doubtful activity this time. The occasion
for this operation, which could be defined as “blackmail”, were two old
Cyprus icons. Swiss police arrested them while Khochinskiy was trying to
take icons across the border of Swiss. As it turned out, these icons, belong
Khochinskiy, were in the international wanted list as stolen from the Church
of Agios Iakovos (Trikomo, Northen Cyprus) during conflict between Greek and
Turkish in 1974.

Peculiar predilection - buying stolen things

Peculiar “historical” predilection of Khochinskiy for buying stolen antiques
is long ago known: for this, as well as for complicity in the robbery and
assaults on the collectors of antiques, in 1986 he was sentenced to
imprisonment for 9 years by the Soviet justice. The City court of
Leningrad’s verdict №2-5/86, 01/17/1986 says that Khochinskiy did not
hesitate to buy diamonds of robbed Leningrad’s pensioners, old paintings
belonged to Soviet Jews going abroad, for a song. The icons and silver
church plate of the Alexander Nevsky lavra robbed by his accomplices were
bought by weight.

In the 1980's investigators could not prove that he masterminded the crimes,
but he was accused of buying stolen goods, and he went at large in 1990’s.
However, the Soviet penitentiary system, probably, did not help Khochinskiy
to get back on the track, but on the contrary, having passed through their
ideological crucible, he became a world-class antiquarian schemer. Once the
borders were opened, then former soviet criminal rushed to develop open
spaces of the antique market in Europe and the USA. Then, in the early to
mid-1990’s the export of Russian antique values to west was extremely high,
and in civilized countries many wealthy Russian settled, those who were
interested in enriching of their collections. There were also Khochinskiy’s
accomplices serving the interests of new Russian immigrants: some were
shuttle traders, others were smuggling, robbing European antique collectors.

Khochinskiy was among the right people, he was the best to wriggle into
favors of a prospective buyer, the seller or the victim. Alexander was able
to hypnotize, to lie convincingly and to improvise, inventing combinations
on the run.

People trusted him. In particular, because he always seemed to be the owner
of the largest in Russia art gallery "Bohema", nearest to the Russian White
house. "Bohema" legally belonged to his wife Tatjana Khochinskiy
(Kamyshnikova), but indeed Alexander’s shop has two partners. As it assumed,
the role of senior belongs to the chief shadow curator of criminal antique
market in Russia, chairmen of the board of directors JSCB “Russobank” Mark
Vainshtein (article about him will be published later), as an associate,
Khochinskiy uses fairly well-known antique expert Andrey Gilodo - Head of
the Department of the Russian State Museum of Decorative-Applied Arts,

Gilido and Khochinskiy are birds of a feather. Both are the representatives
of the prosperous Jews nation, both have a lot of friends, relatives living
in Israel and the United States. Gilodo used to be a court counselor at the
USA Embassy, at the ambassador's wife Lisa Vershbow, collecting vintage
jewelry and antiques. He also helped disgraced mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov
with the book "The Art we shouldn’t lose! Amateur and folks handicraft of
Russia: gold ages, decadence and prebirth’s prospect" which was published in
autumn 2009.

In general, Andrey Gilodo, like Alexander Khochinskiy, has the right people
on the mayor's office, Kremlin and both White Houses – in Moscow and in
Washington, D.C. They say, just like Khochinskiy, he was observed to sell
the imitated Faberge. Andrey Gilodo, as at the same time suspect, was
implicated in a scandal with fake examinations of the silver samovars,
supposedly produced in the workshops of the Faberge and other famous masters
of the past. Authenticity conclusions were given by Gilodo and Smorodinova.
In fact, the samovars turned out to be fakes, specially made and aged in

Legal assistance to Khochinskiy is rendered by his long-time friend with a
similar, but much more odious reputation, Alexander Dobrovinsky, head of
firm of attorneys "Dobrovinsky and Partners".

Cheating on trust

How this scam worked with Moscow owners of antiquities is shown in the
history of Khochinskiy’s “work” on Karl Briullov’s painting "А Turkish
girl", offered to Alexander by Moscow art collector Nikolaj Semenov.
One-time soloist of brother Semenov’s duet , Nikolaj now is the head of
«Ancient love song” theater.

Intending to buy premises for his Theater in February 2006 Semenov, decided
to sell his painting for $500000. He decided to do it through an
intermediary, and unfortunately the collector’s choice was "Bohema".
However, bringing the picture to the salon, neither money, nor painting did
Semenov receive so far.

Using the confidence of an elderly man, having expert's report of the State
Tretyakov Gallery and the Grabar Center given by Semenov Khochinskiy sold
the "girl" to a Western collector. At first he avoided Semenov, then, six
months later he offered to take the copy of the painting. According to
Semenov, Alexander also ordered a report of the State Russian museum
(Saint-Petersburg) experts for this copy. Surely experts said it’s not an
original masterpiece. As Semenov refused to take replica, Khochinskiy
decided to punish the old man: in 2008 Khochinskiy sold a copy at the
auction “Sovkom”, but he said to the Semenov, that the proceeds (about
$3000) were not enough to cover the costs of storing in “Bohema” art
gallery. In connection with this Khochinskiy demanded the deceived Nikolaj
to compensate the remainder, threatening otherwise with the criminal

However, Alexander failed to break down the 74-year-old: people of the old
school cannot be blackmailed, so the musician continues his struggle to
return the gone picture. Hoping that the police forced by the president
Dmitry Medvedev would finally begin to catch the international swindlers and
imprison them.

To pay taxes is unnecessary

His minor "pranks" in Russia is just nothing compared to his international
frauds and business based on selling Russian antiquity, which is sold for
hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars at the auctions in Europe.

In 2000’s, Alexander Khochinskiy has launched a powerful international
business, he took part in all major auctions in Europe, USA and Canada. He
received two Russian passports - a usual one and a diplomatic one, European
business visas and then became the U.S. resident, by getting “green card”.
There is information, that in 2009 Khochinskiy bought an apartment in Ney
York for two and a half million dollars (70 Little West Street, Apt. 29D,
NewYork, NY, 10004-7439, USA; Phone No in USA: +1 (646) 657-05-46). And
since April 2009, Alexander does not appear in Russia, staying in New York,
Berlin, Geneva and Nice.

According to the sources in Russian investigating bodies, despite of
multimillion incomes, Khochinskiy remains greedy person. In Russia, most of
Khochinskiy’s assets legally belong to his wife, Tatjana Khochinskiy, who
also has a “green card”. The assets include the apartment in Lechebnaya
Street in Moscow, cottage and a part of land in a prestigious district near
Moscow (Novaja street, Shulgino vil., Odintsovo). But, as it seems to us,
the objective investigation has to check up the information, that over the
last ten years none of the family of these roguish Russian
mafia-millionaires paid income taxes from the sale of antiques (and even
more so, from buying and selling doubtful paintings or had taken away from
cheating visitors of “Bohema” with special cunning) neither in Russia, nor
in USA, nor in Germany, nor in France, nor in Swiss.
The American laws say that since the first day when the newly made
inhabitant had got the status of the resident of this country he was obliged
to pay income tax in treasury of the USA at a rate of 35% from all it
incomes without a dependence from what point of the world the income was

There is a progressive system in states on which the incomes of the
residents from above $356000 (and, there are a lot of expert’s assumptions,
that Khochinskiy “scrapes” no less $2m avrg per year in 2000’s) in a year
are taxed on to maximum rate in 35% from the sum of the totally income of
the year, the minimum rate of the income tax for low-income people is 10%.
But American tax department should check the fact, that neither Alexander,
nor Tatjana (being USA resident since 2007) didn’t pay any taxes for their
millions. Nevertheless, while Tax Administration and Immigration services of
the USA haven't mentioned these "small violations" from the residents - one
of the resident, as it suspects, don't pay taxes really, and the second
constantly lives in Russia, even though on a duty of a resident to be in the
USA more than 180 days in a year.

It is necessary to organize the similar tax checks in Russia. They say,
Russian tax police has already inspected the husband and the wife, and
possibly has found out, that both citizens of Russia, also did not pay taxes
on their enormous profits in Russia - even at a rate of 13%. Khochinskiy
submits the information to the tax and judicial authorities that he works as
a consultant in his wife’s company and receives an average of 6-10 thousand
rubles a month (i.e. about $3600 per year). His wife and her firm declare
the same sums. It means, according to the experts, charge presentation in
evasion from payment of taxes to the underground millionaire Khochinskiy is
the business of time.

So far, authorities in Austria, France and Switzerland, did not notice the
probable scheme of the international antique dealer, schemer and former
criminal Khochinskiy, tax evader in all these countries. It's easy to
discover: according for the experts, besides the offshore companies, legally
belonging to the third parties, Alexander probably uses for keeping his
millions and realization of doubtful transactions his personal account in
the Swiss bank CREDIT AGRICOLE (SUISSE) SA, 4, Quai General-Guisan CH-1211
GENEVA 3, SWIFT: AGRICHGG, IBAN: CH36 0874 1010 5160 2000 1, Beneficiary:
Khochinskiy Alexander), on the account of his Swiss company Mariat Ltd of
the same bank, as well as on his account in the HSBC.

Resident of the United States for the outstanding achievements

However, freedom of untrustworthy Russian mafia-millionaire with criminal
past is due to not only negligence or carelessness of the American
authorities towards the resident, probably worldwide tax evader. One can say
that he enjoys the support of politicians and intelligence services of USA,
and friendly to America nations in Europe in exchange for information about
the senior clients, partners and contractors in Russia.

For example, the well-known story of the confrontation between the
authorities of Russia and the UK oil company British Petroleum, allowed
catastrophic oil leak in Gulf of Mexico. U.S. authorities had to put the
pressure on the leaders, as well as use, as suspect, some confidential
information submitted by Khochinskiy. There is an opinion, that he is an
agent of German Han (Executive Directors of TNK-BP, Russian BP’s subsidiary)
on the global antique market. They say, that Khochinskiy used to tell that
he followed the orders to purchase extremely expensive antiques for German
Han at the largest auctions in Europe at cost of millions of dollars -
afterwards these masterpieces may presumably become the gifts or main links
in the corruption schemes of contracts obtaining from the Russian officials.

As the Americans might use such information - there is a well known example
- erupted in March 2010, the scandal with Daimler AG. During the
investigation by the U.S. government they admitted to paying bribes and
kickbacks to official in exchange for contracts.

There are the suspicions, that among Alexander’s customers who may be of
interest overseas and in USA, there is a whole list of oligarchs and
officials, owners and senior executives of major companies. They suspects,
that the misfortune to deal with suspicious antiques probably may: president
of Alfa-bank Pyotr Aven, president of Russian finance corporation Andrey
Nechaev, head of Invest Holding Nafta-Moscow Sulejman Kerimov, deputy Head
of the Russian Federation Presidential Administration Igor Sirosh, cofounder
of invest company Troika-dialogue Pavel Tepluhin, member of committee of
directors Wimm-Bill-Dann food OJSC David Iakobachvili.

Business for the benefit of Russia

Russian art was enhancing steadily until 2008, this is how Khochinskiy
became a millionaire – he gladly shares this fact with American and Russian
press. However, the time of the Crisis literally paralyzed the Russian
market of antiques, Alexander’s income fell down, and he launched new
business, which, according to the experts, can be called as blackmail
against his senior counterparts.

Oleg Muzyrya, the former chairman of Budget and Finance Committee of the
Moscow City Duma, and now an entrepreneur and the head of agrarian holding
“Magriko” became the victim of the antiquary–schemer with criminal past.

Nowadays within the limits of the national project Oleg Muzyrya is engaged
in revival of agricultiral production on the basis of the industrial
technologies. Have created the vertically-integrated manufacture-on the type
of start-to-finish team - from crops of wheat to receiving the high-quality
yarn with the subsequent receiving of a linen – Muzyrya hopes to strike a
blow for the renewal of the domestic economy which is enduring hard
Postcrisis times. Also the firm plans to develop the meat-and-milk
production and within the limits of this part of the program to create a
huge dairy complexes with introduction of the front lines of the European
technologies. The project of the businessman has also the social aspect
since the achievement of the laying down aims impossible without revival of
farmer elite. It means that the firm spends considerable resources for
training and reshaping of local personnel from numbers of agricultural
educational institutions. As a result of 10 years the businessman expects to
reach steady and stable indicators in producing the production from wheat
with it active realization on the Russian market and with export to the
world market.

«Blackmail» as a business

However, in the near future in the USA, Europe and Russia media due to
Chancellor’s efforts PR-campaign to discredit the Russian businessman is
ready to start. Since Khochinskiy U.S. resident, the Russian defector,
already pushed demands to pay him ?400000, he begins, as believe, to
blackmail Russian businessman relating to the sale of a large collection of

The essence of his claims to Muzyrya is based on the fact that he
allegedly advised Khochinskiy Roman Lakshin a collector of antiquities who
lives abroad (in Monaco), and acted as an intermediary during the purchase
of Lakshin collection of old icons worth $4,5 mln. And although two years
ago, when Swiss police had arrested two icons of 17 century moved by
Khochinskiy across the border of Swiss, Khochinskiy did not have claims.

But then his keenest mind possibly began to make sophisticated schemes of
involving in this story as many people as possible, who in case may pay a
compensation, and gradually the "absence of claims" turned out to be at the
cost of "nominal" 100000 euro each. "And they may pay" - thought
Khochinskiy. He attacked bringing into play Swiss lawyers from the firm of
attorneys in Zurich (Walder Wyss & Partners Ltd, Dr. Demian Stauber, Dr.
Mark Reutter). French lawyers with a dubious reputation in the Paris from
the Cabinet Neuer (Dr. Jean-Jacques Neuer) probably would also help him.

Pay for the good name to antiquary with criminal past?

Oleg Muzyrya, as well as other respectable collectors (such as Roman
Lakshin, architect and member of Swiss Parliament Andreas Gross), involved
by Khochinskiy in the story with the chapel utensils, has probably the
reason to worry. Icons of first quarter 17 century «Christ the High Priest
and John the Baptist» and «The Mother of God with Child, near John the
Theologian» were stolen from St James chapel, Trikomo during Turkish army
invasion to Cyprus in 1974. They are on an international wanted list ever

Any accusation of complicity in their secret resale at least casts a shadow
on the reputation of a successful businessman and an honest man. Khochinskiy
decided to use this situation to try to get money, using actions very
similar to blackmail, from other honest and decent Europeans, who had
unfortunately met with Alexander in the field of collecting antiques. But
this time, Khochinskiy would not get anything but full disclosure of his, as
believe, criminal business and, probably deserved criminal prosecution by
the tax authorities in Russia, Europe and the USA.

To be continued.

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