Russian Londoners from Abramovich to Surkov. The right of over 700 wealthy Russians to live in the UK remains under review as the government mulls new ways of curtailing the power and influence of the Kremlin, following the Salisbury poisonings.
Wealthy Russians in Britain faced new visa crackdowns in the wake of Salisbury. Since then, The Home Office is still conducting a review of tier 1 investor visas, the use of which was heavily restricted three years ago, amid concerns they were being issued to people whose wealth was achieved through corruption.
One prominent oligarch who appears to have already fallen foul of the clampdown is Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, who withdrew his application for a new visa as relations between the UK and Russia soured.
Many Russians pursuing the advantage of polyphonic communication maintain cordial relations with Londoners. For example, Yevgeny Chichvarkin launched his wine store Hedonism Wines on Davies Street. He then followed that soon after with the launch of HIDE restaurant on Piccadilly Street, with Michelin star chef Ollie Dabbous.
However, some London-based Russians choose to retain close contact exclusively with their fellow citizens. They prefer to create and host restaurants and parties in cosmopolitan London for their own countrymen, even starting and running magazines for Russian citizens from specific areas of their country of birth. Perhaps it is the origin of their wealth that makes them hide in the dense London mix while still living in constant fear of extradition.
Russian media banker Alexei Ananyev, who recently escaped from Russia, moving from Austria to London, is looking for buyers for his house in France and also his Bombardier plane seized in Russia. According to Ananyev, who previously owned Technoserv, an employee of his former company has been arrested by Moscow’s Basmanny Court,on suspicion of large scale mediation of bribery.
Swiss newspaper, the Times of Geneva, conducted an investigation into the origin of the funds of another Russian. The newspaper raised serious concerns about Ilya Surkov, former president of Russian realty company Finstroy. He was accused of committing crimes under Part 4 of Article №159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and charged with theft and embezzlement of 380 million rubles, in December 2013 that per Russian legislation could result in 10 years of imprisonment.
According to Russian media reports, Ilya Surkov transferred the stolen money to the accounts of Panamanian company Boulder Associated, controlled by him.
Ilya Surkov`s wife, Lilia Scheffler-Sennova, who holds dual citizenship from both Russia and Switzerland, has been holding the property in Zollikon, Switzerland. Because of the Swiss law, Ilya Surkov and Lilia Scheffler-Sennova found it difficult to become full-fledged society members in a small Zollikon, resulting in them ditching Switzerland and moving to London.
Lilia Scheffler-Sennova isn’t just well known in small Russian clubland set. She has a creative streak and is the managing producer of Russian Roulette Magazine, which caters to wealthy Russian speakers living in, or visiting London.
After Surkov was charged in December 2013 and despite the arrest, his wife Lilia Sennova has attempted to have the family property released. Following a bogus divorce, Sennova filed a lawsuit to an arbitration court for a division of jointly acquired property. However, her penalty request has been rejected by the Moscow City Court. It turns out the lawsuit was just a trick; Surkov and Sennova have been spending a lot of time together since their fictitious divorce, even uploading their photos together as an illustration of their dolce vita.
The efficient authorities of Switzerland and Panama have provided the confirmation of money transfers to the Swiss accounts of Lilia Scheffler-Sennova, from the Panamanian company “Boulder Associated”, controlled by Ilya Surkov.
Ilya Surkov paid 2.8 million pounds for one apartment in London and 3.45 million pounds for a second. One is a newly renovated four-story house in the city, and the other is a luxury apartment with fewer stairs, more building amenities and better infrastructure. It seems to be that Russian home buyers in London—formerly a cornerstone of the city’s ultra-luxury sales—have renewed their activity.
According to Russian media, Surkov acquired Greek citizenship before his escape from Russia, on the grounds of real-estate ownership: a small apartment in the Greek town of Haladrion. Oddly enough, his Greek passport expired in 2016 and the grounds, on which he currently resides and travels within the EU, are unknown to the public. He had two passports with different places of Birth – Moscow, Russia and Shymkent, Republic of Kazakhstan.
According to the Times of Geneva, Swiss administration has extended its full support to its Russian counterpart in dealing with this case in every possible way. Switzerland has always held a steadfast commitment of adhering to International laws and conventions and in line with that same commitment, it has agreed to negotiate the extradition of Ilya Surkov with authorized Russian bodies.
There are claims that the National Crime Agency is considering issuing a number of unexplained wealth orders to Russians living in the UK, a new form of sanction that could result in some of them having their assets seized.
There is no London-Russia extradition agreement. But now Russian companies are no longer relying on the authorities, instead, preferring to look for fraudsters themselves. A1 company promises a reward for information on foreign assets of the co-owner of the collapsed Vneshprombank, Georgy Bedzhamov and his sister – the former president of the bank Larisa Marcus. The Russian Central Bank revoked the license from Vneshprombank in January 2016. A year later, Marcus was sentenced to 9 years in prison for the theft of more than 114 billion rubles. Bedzhamov left Russia in December 2015, and in March 2016,was placed on the international wanted list.
In March this year, the High Court of London decided to recover Bejamov’s assets to the amount of $ 1.75 billion. But so far, less has been discovered, so A1 continues to search for the remaining assets.
The company launched an advertising campaign at airports: remuneration announcements are broadcast on giant screens and billboards at Sheremetyevo Airport. A1 also plans to place ads in London’s Heathrow.
Video: Switzerland’s Law paving way to raise the veil of Russian Fraud Ilya Surkov https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=EF8LO7S8cPc