In St. Petersburg a criminal investigation has been initiated into the largest bank fraud. One of defendants in the case is former businessman from Latvia, Vladislav Shusterov, another figurant may become the head of the Moscow office of Swiss «VP Bank Limited» - Walter Moretti.
This case illustrates how managers of Russian banks manage the clients' money for personal gain. A loan appearing in the middle of a criminal case was issued by the board member of the Moscow bank "Oil alliance" Svetlana Moretti, the wife of Mr. Moretti, she has been a friend and business partner of Shusterov for many years.
This story is classical for Russian banking fraud, and all the more so weird is that the Swiss banker is acting not particularly attractive in this story.
It started after the famous businessman from St. Petersburg, founder of the Elite Bowling Club Bowling City - Vladislav Shusterov appealed to the highly claimed Moscow bank "Oil Alliance" on March 3, 2009. Then, the Company he owned through OOO "Dares" concluded a loan agreement with the bank which was completely harmless at first glance. According to the contract, the Bank issued "Dares" nearly 600,000 Euros for «working capital".
The loan has been issued by all the rules, and apparently passed some kind of examination of the bank security. Anyway, in conjunction with the loan agreement "Oil Alliance" entered into an agreement with some collateral OOO “Cosmetic Manufacture ", under which that company guaranteed repayment by its own property. In addition, "Cosmetic Manufacture" laid the bank for all property, including the cabinets, chairs and bookshelves.
And the loan agreement and pledge agreement was signed by the same representative of the "Oil Alliance» - Vice-Chairman of the Bank’s Board, Svetlana Kozlova.
Vladislav Shusterov had to repay that loan with interest by September 3, 2009, which, unfortunately, did not happen, however, the bank also failed get a "table-chairs" of "Cosmetic Manufactory". Later, in the summer of 2010, "Oil Alliance” tried to present claims against "Dares" in the St. Petersburg Arbitration Court, but meanwhile it has not resulted in any avail -" Dares" had already undergone the procedure of bankruptcy.
However, such a tough the story for any bank has not changed Ms. Kozlova’s attitude toward Mr. Shusterov; on September 11, 2009 she concluded a new credit agreement (at this time at 1.15 million Euros) with OOO “Tsentar” belonging to Vladislav Shusterov. Let us recall, that at the time of the conclusion of the treaty, it was 8 days after Mr. Shuster had to fulfill his obligations under the first loan.
The second contract is different from the first one with the sum only - it is approximately 2 times bigger. In addition, this time the bank gave an impressive amount to the company by Mr Shusterov that was secured by assets of the same company that had lend OOO “Tsentar”. However, later, when Vladislav Shusterov once again failed to meet his obligations, it was discovered that it is not possible to get the property. According to the St. Petersburg police, it simply did not belong to "Tsentar" and, accordingly, Mr. Shusterov was unable to lay it as collateral for the loan.
It is because of this fact a criminal case has recently been prosecuted - Vladislav Shusterov is suspected fraud in a large scale.
It is hardly mentioned in the case file, but the natural question arises: what could have caused such a boundless confidence of the bank in an obviously dubious customer? Surely, investigators should answer that, but one should notice: some time after the conclusion of the second loan agreement Svetlana Kozlova changed her last name - now she's Svetlana Moretti, wife of the head of the Moscow office of Swiss «VP Bank Limited» - Walter Moretti. In his turn, he has been well acquainted with Vladislav Shusterovym for a long time.
WE ARE FROM SWITZERLAND!
We have learned about the acquaintance through another scam - we are talking about a few companies combind by two things: the word «Omega» in the name and surname "Shusterov ov” of the person concerned.
In 2007, Fund «Omega Real Estate Equity» appeared in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg); its representatives have held several meetings with members of the business community, which offered to invest the fund money and promised lucrative dividends. According to information we possess, there were people who believed in the idea (the meeting had been held pompously), which they regretted about so far, but prefer not to discover themselves.
Meanwhile, many had already been alerted by the curious fact then: after a careful examination of advertising production of the fund it turned out that in fact it was called not «Omega Real Estate Equity», but «Omega Investment AG». This is a completely legal structure, which is registered in Liechtenstein, with the participation of the Swiss «VP Bank Limited». Moreover, the bank's management does not hide this circumstance: anybody can get the information about the investment fund on the official site of «VP Bank Limited».
The Fund has quite decent assets, and the Fund’s shares are generally the most expensive among the investment funds’ shares, which names appear on the website of the Swiss bank. And there is a reason to believe that such financial "prosperity" has developed out of the funds that «Omega Investment AG» had drawn in Russia.
Fund «Omega Investment AG» manifested itself in Russia in 2007. It has established in St. Petersburg OOO “Omega Investment”, which general director became Vladislav Shusterov. We should add that the head of the Liechtenstein «Omega Investment AG», was Mr. Shusterov , and they say, it is Mr. Shuster who had been leading promotions of «Omega Real Estate Equity» in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
And in the beginning of 2010, the head of the Moscow office of «VP Bank Limited», Walter Moretti told reporters about the dismissal of Vladislav Shusterov from the post of the head of Fund «Omega Investment AG» which was affiliated with «VP Bank Limited”. Mr Moretti did not indulge into details, saying that Mr. Shuster was dismissed in connection with a disclosure of financial transactions associated with the bowling business financing.
Now Walter Moretti, of course, will distance himself from Vladislav Shusterov. After all, the Swiss banker, apparently, had to endure not very pleasant emotions when explaining to his bosses in Zurich the reasons due to which the bank has contacted the odious Russian. It looks like his wife Svetlana Moretti will have to answer the same tough questions in Russia. Moreover, these questions may be asked not only to the owners of the bank "Oil Alliance", but also representatives of the investigation.
Vladislav Shusterov refused from communication with the press.
TATIANA Dokuchaev, Rumafia.com
Bank “Oil Alliance” took the 66th place in the so-called "people's" rating of Russian banks according to the profile portal [url]www.banki.ru[/url]. On the same site the bank is 141st in the "Top 1000". From the perspective of the media community, "Oil Alliance" is just a quiet bank; it has never had any conflicts by journalists.
The Bank was founded in January 1994, and the very fact of its existence still speaks clearly in its favor.
Today, the Oil Alliance belongs to 12 property owners, 4 of which are legal entities. The most famous owner of the bank is a real estate company "Russian House Property". Thus, most of the shares are controlled by three residents of Moscow: Kirill Zhikharev (both personally and through OOO "Kompaniya Barno" belonging to him - only about 25%), Gregory Pirumov (both personally and through OOO "Dispa" which he owns partly, and ZAO " Russian Real Estate House "- only about 20%) and Alexey Preobrazhensky (both personally and through OOO "Dispa” which he owns partly, and ZAO " Russian Real Estate House "- only about 19%).
"OUR GUY” FROM SWITZERLAND
Head of Moscow office of VP Bank Limited, Walter Moretti is not a simple high-profiled bank official, whose directory has been caught up in the ugly history because of the Russian partner. To certain extend, the Swiss citizen and resident of Zurich, Mr. Moretti is a Petersburger.
In March 2006, Walter Moretti bought an apartment in our town on the Sadovaya Street, where he lived with a young Petersburg lady. Apparently, the banker then decided to get settled here to develop market sales of the Swiss company Novavox (sale of telephony and computer technology) in Moscow and St. Petersburg. As the site Novavox reported, Walter Moretti was one of the two founders of this company. However, in June 2008, Mr. Moretti is already representing VP Bank Limited at the law seminar on offshore companies.
In any case, the Swiss got used to the Russian way of life completely: in December 2006, the magistrate of the judicial district № 199, St. Petersburg deprived him of a driver's license and a half years for driving while intoxicated. They say about such people: He is our guy.
As far as we know, by mid-2007 Walter Moretti and Vladislav Shusterov had already been well acquainted. By that time, Mr Shusterov had been actively developing the largest Bowling Club network in St. Petersburg - Bowling City. Probably, it is no mere chance that Walter Moretti mentioned the investments in the bowling business specifically while talking about the financial machinations of the fund “Omega Investment AG”.
Moreover, it is appropriate to assume that Vlad Shuster headed the Fund affiliated with VP Bank Limited and its St. Petersburg "subsidiary" due to that familiarity.
In any case, in connection with the activities of this fund there seems to be an international scandal: it always happens like this when the money of shareholders and financial dealings are under the umbrella of one institution. And it looks like the scandal will start exactly from the most pompous entertainment business project in St. Petersburg - "Bowling City” network creation.
Source: [url]www.fontanka.ru[/url] on 03/26/2010
Interestingly, Vladyslav Shusterov has had finances-related troubles. Thus, the Latvian press associates his name with the collapse of one of the largest local commercial banks, which was located in the building of the Latvian Academy of Sciences - Latintrades banka.
That financial institution’s troubles began in the midst of the Latvian banking crisis of 1994-1995. In early January 1995, the local high-ranking government officials started talking about the "banks-fraudsters"; in February, they already openly discussed the "banking crisis" and a way out of it. And at the end of March 1995, according to Latvian news portal Kriminal.lv, Latintrades banka suspended its work - it could not repay the money to depositors. In the words of journalist from Kriminal.lv, for Latvians it was quite a shock: "After all, there were respectable people working in the bank, owned by Shusterov – such as ex-ministers Auseklis Lazdins and Elmar Silins, as well as former employees of the Ministry of Finance - Nelly Ermolitskii and Guntis Urlovskis. In addition, according to the Latvian "Nezavisimaya Gazeta Morning", Raimonds Pauls trust this bank; he had been treasuring his savings in there.
Speaking about the financial problems that shocked the country, according to Kriminal.lv, on May 10, 1995 the adviser of the Bank of Latvia, Uldis Klauss, «stated publicly that the shareholders and managers of commercial banks were to blame, their activities are criminal and some of them should sit not in the Mercedes', but in prisons"
According to the Information Centre B & B, "in September 1995, Latintrades banka was declared bankrupt. The court also found signs of a premeditated bankruptcy. During his tenure, the liquidator had received two thousand claims of creditors of the bank for a total of 14 million lats. They managed to return only about half a million. "
Apparently, Vladislav Shusterov had to decide to leave Latvia very quickly. Latvian newspaper "Business & the Baltics" in one of its articles declared him one of the "unlucky bankers and financiers with a very ambiguous reputation, who usually " immigrate to Russia. "
Source: [url]www.fontanka.ru[/url] on 03/26/2010