French experts who were analyzing authenticity of Vitaly Arkhangelsky’s signature under the personal guarantee for the bank loan, granted by Saint-Petersburg Bank to Vyborg Shipping Company owned by Arkhangelsky have publicized the results of their work. Having collated the signature under the guarantee with the signature in Arkhangelsky’s passport, they arrived to the conclusion that there are indeed some differences. However this does not mean it was not Arkhangelsky who signed the paper.
Meanwhile Arkhangelsky told journalists that his defence had asked the French court to commence criminal proceedings against “unidentified individuals” who might have forged his signature. Arraigned businessman seems to rush to the attack. According to the statement made on his behalf, “Mr Arkhangelsky’s lawyers have asked French authorities to issue rogatory letters to question certain directors and owners of Saint-Petersburg Bank and Aleksandr Savelyev in particular. Besides them, chief of St Petersburg police Vladislav Piotrovsky, deputy prosecutor of St Petersburg Andrey Kikot and governour Valentina Matvienko should be interrogated. These people are to blame for the abuse of power to expropriate Arkhangelsky’s assets under the pretext of fraud charges”.
For the time being Arkhangelsky has raised positive publicity in foreign media and enlisted the support of famous people who sympathize with him in St Petersburg. He has been supported by well-known corruption-fighter William Bourdon and fugitive official Andrey Korchagin, the former head of the chief traffic control directorate for St Petersburg (GU DODD).
The reports in European media might be part of Arkhangelsky’s electoral campaign. The businessman says the possibility of his participation in the State Duma elections must not be ruled out. He plans to enjoy inviolability as a candidate.
Let us remind that the court of Aix-en-Provence ruled that Vitaly Arkhangelsky can not leave France. He was detained on demand of Russian authorities. Russian side filed Interpol arrest warrant. Arkhangelsky was released on 3 million euros bail but forbidden to leave the country. In July 2010 the chief investigative department of St Petersburg police (GSU GUVD) initiated criminal proceedings against Arkhangelsky under Article 174.1.2.a of the Criminal Code (“criminal funds legalisations devised by the previous concert of the group of individuals”). Earlier St Petersburg police incriminated him in crimes subjected to Article 159.4 (“large-scale fraud”). The investigators believe that in March 2009 the businessman, acting in concert with a certain unidentified individuals, forged “Decision Number 12” on behalf of Western Terminal Limited Liability Company in order to secure a loan from St Petersburg branch of Sea Joint-Stock Bank public corporation. The bank accepted the document and transmitted 56.5 million roubles to the accounts of the Western Terminal.
Concurrently Saint-Petersburg Bank, core creditor of Oslo Marin Group, has brought a suite against the group to the Arbitration Court. The consolidated debt of Arkhangelsky’s companies makes up 4 billion roubles. The court ruled in favour of the plaintiff and the bulk of Arkhangelsky’s assets in St Petersburg were sold by auction. However this money was not enough to cover the debt and the bank went to justice in order to claim Arkhangelsky’s property in Nice. Arkhangelsky has a villa on French Riviera. It has already been arrested on the bank’s demand. The bank claims the businessman bought the property with the money which Saint-Petersburg gave him as a credit.