Debate - Opinion in English, Russia and Baltic States

Search for article or name

Back to Toni Schönfelders homepage

Toni Schönfelder A lifetime of innovation

Web library-Bookmarks, My favorites

Debate - Opinion in English
Russia and Baltic States

Tillbaka till Tonis hemsida

Mina favoritlänkar, kolla in

Debattartiklar Ryssland

TaxFree handelns vara och icke vara

Tillägnad bussbranschen av Toni Schönfelder oberoende och fri debattör

Debatt artiklar av Harald Rosén (Det gäller flyg)

Artiklar som du bara måste läsa,Vakna upp i Sverige!

Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

Verschiedenes in Deutsch

Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

Friday, Feb. 1, 2002.

Police Put End to Playboys Party

By Megan Twohey and Valeria Korchagina
The Moscow Times

Tall and handsome, he was known to frequent the Moscow club scene, sniffing out well-do-do expats and Russians alike to strike up friendships.

But for Gennady Vostretsov, an alleged conman accused of defrauding victims of millions of dollars on both sides of the Atlantic, the party seems to be over after almost 10 years on the run.

Vostretsov, 42, was arrested in December and charged with defrauding a Krasnodar-based firm called C-Trade of $2.7 million in the early 1990s.

He was arrested at a Moscow apartment by the Interior Ministrys North Caucasus investigation department, which oversees the Krasnodar region, and taken to the departments headquarters at Nalchik in the southern republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. He was later released on the condition he not leave Nalchik, department spokesman Tamirlan Kazikhanov said.

Kazikhanov said that at the time of the arrest, Vostretsov was living under an alias with British movie producer John Daly, whose films include "Terminator," "Hoosiers" and "The Last Emperor."

Vostretsov apparently met Daly in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.

In the Moscow apartment, investigators found three passports with false names, tens of credit cards from prominent Western banks and photographs of Vostretsov with movie directors Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, Kazikhanov said.

Investigators were struck more by Vostretsovs personality, however, than by his possessions.

"He has amazing skills," said Kazikhanov, who was present at the time of the arrest. "He is understanding and easily makes people sympathize with him. He also has a gift for instantly figuring out a persons weaknesses and using them for his benefit."

Vostretsov could not be reached for comment.

He has a long criminal record stretching back to the late 1970s. In 1979, he was imprisoned for a year for failing to pay alimony and for passport violations. In 1981, a court in the Volga River city of Tolyatti sentenced him to three years for illegal trading of goods. And in 1985, a Moscow court put him behind bars for five years for attempted large-scale fraud.

Acquaintances describe Vostretsov as charismatic and cunning, but say that he also has an unstable, menacing side that surfaces when people dont respond to his charm.

Seen in recent television footage, he is strikingly good-looking -- tall with graying dark hair -- and oozes self-confidence.

The current fraud charges against Vostretsov relate to a deal he made with C-Trade in 1992. At the time, Vostretsov was based in Moscow under the surname of his wife, actress Yelena Arzhanik, and claimed to own a Moscow-registered company called Finintorg, Kazikhanov said.

According to Kazikhanov, what happened was as follows:

Vostretsov met with C-Trade director Anatoly Strugov in Krasnodar in 1992 and offered to organize a shipment of canned meat from the United States. During negotiations, Vostretsov demanded an advance payment of $2.7 million. C-Trade agreed and borrowed money from the local branch of Vneshtorgbank to finance the deal.

Vostretsov then took the money and left for Moscow.

Shortly thereafter, Strugov began to worry something was amiss and caught a flight to Moscow.

Vostretsov met him at the airport in a sleek Mercedes. He flashed an ID and said that he was an adviser to Arkady Volsky, then-chairman of the Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Russia (now the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, or RSPP).

He apparently even took Strugov to the building where the congress had its offices to discuss the matter.

RSPP officials could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Kazikhanov said the RSPP has denied having anything to do with Vostretsov.

During their discussion, Vostretsov assured Strugov that Finintorg had already paid for the canned meat shipment and showed an official-looking document confirming the load was already on board a ship.

The ship later docked in St. Petersburg as promised, but it carried none of the promised goods.

Later in 1992, Vostretsov left Russia after transferring a large sum of money to the Netherlands, Kazikhanov said.

His subsequent movements are unclear, but investigators believe that he went to the United States on an immigration visa and lived there for more than five years.

An FBI official, who declined to be identified, said that Vostretsov was arrested multiple times in the United States and eventually deported. It was not immediately clear which crimes, if any, he was charged with.

While Vostretsov was in the United States, Strugov was in Russia putting together a fraud case. He located other people who claimed they had been defrauded of a total of about $50 million, Kazikhanov said.

Based on the allegations, the North Caucasus investigation department mounted a manhunt in 1995. But only in late 2001 did investigators learn of Vostretsovs whereabouts when the FBI, which had been checking his record in Russia after his deportation, tipped them off.

Vostretsov lived in Moscow for about a year prior to his December arrest under the name Henry Oknyansky, Kazikhanov said. He had a Foreign Ministry press accreditation card that helped him move around freely.

Moscow-based American film producer Michael Bass, who became acquainted with Vostretsov -- or Oknyansky, as he knew him -- in Los Angeles, said he and Daly tipped off the FBI. They became suspicious of Vostretsov after he began making claims that he was involved in a movie deal with Daly, Bass said.

Daly could not be reached for comment.

Lyubov Rekiyan, deputy head of the North Caucasus Investigation Department, said this week that the case is slowly moving forward. Local prosecutors have taken over the investigation and are looking for other possible victims.

"There are a lot of procedural things that still have to be performed," Rekiyan said. "We could not do them earlier because Vostretsov was simply not here."

Rekiyan said she was certain that the case would go to court, but could not say when.

Kazikhanov, however, doubts that Vostretsov will be tried.

"He seems to have powerful patrons, and he is very smart," he said.

Advertising about Spain
All kind of information about Spain in my own web page

Fair use notice

The Toni Schönfelder Newsletter and website contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. The material is being made available for purposes of education and discussion in order to better understand the complex nature of corruption in today's world. I believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in relevant national laws.

The material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Toni Schönfelder cannot guarantee that the information contained in the Corruption News service is complete and correct or be liable for any loss incurred as a result of its use. Nor can Toni Schönfelder be responsible for any subsequent use of the material.

Denna sida är producerad av Toni Schönfelder. Avsändaren har inget ansvar för innehållet i sidor som är länkade -- allt material som finns i egen producerade sidorna får användas fritt och utan kostnad.

Esta página ha sido realizada por el Sr. D. Toni Schönfelder.Los realizadores de la página no se hacen responsables del contenido de las páginas enlazadas a la presente. Toda la información existente en las páginas de realización propia pueden ser utilizadas libremente y sin ningún tipo de coste.

This page has been produced by Mr Toni Schönfelder. The sender does not take any responsibility for the contents of the linked pages. The whole material in the own produced page can be used free of charge.