A search in the headquarters of the Swiss bank Julius Baer in Frankfurt am Main. Criminal case “on preliminary suspicion of money laundering”. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on October 14, 2011.
On this day 12 years ago, on October 14, 2011, the German newspaper “Die Süddeutsche Zeitung” published an extremely interesting story – in the course of the examination of clients’ data of the affiliate of the Swiss bank "Julius Baer" in the town Münster in the west of Germany, investigators, who were searching for tax violations in Germany, found in passing financial traces of Mikhail Khodorkovsky (See the article “Ermittler entdecken Konto Chodorkowskijs”).
According to the newspaper, in the course of the searches in the headquarters of the bank in Frankfurt am Main investigators came across documents of one of the bank's clients – Mikhail Khodorkovsky. It was announced – however not that intelligibly, sort of – that Khodorkovsky, probably, is a defendant in a criminal case. “To all appearances”, pointed out the German publication, “criminal cases have been already opened on preliminary suspicion of money laundering”.
The newspaper reported that Khodorkovsky "had invested in that bank from 15 to 20 million euros – on his name and names of his relatives".
The German publication, naturally, recalled that “Khodorkovsky had been sentenced in his country for various economic crimes and had been in prison since 2003”. There were no other details regarding Khodorkovsky and other Russian citizens, and it was only said that just another leak of bank data was a serious reason for numerous inquiries with those who in every possible way tried to "optimize" their taxes, and police were carrying out such work.
“IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND THE PUBLISHED DATA”
In Russia, they reacted to this sensation with puzzlement and skepticism. For instance, the newspaper “Novaya Gazeta” which had demanded in 1999 from the Prosecutor General “to activate work” on machinations of the bank “Menatep” with promissory notes, after criminal cases with regard to the whole company of “the main shareholders” headed by Khodorkovsky, decided to treat them as “victims of the regime” instead of using its international connections to dig out more details and limited itself to commentaries of lawyers. “It’s impossible to understand the published materials, information is indistinct – there are no official sources in the newspaper at all, no its own information. There is nothing here to comment", told the newspaper the lawyer Vadim Klyugvant.
Anyway, the lawyers of the swindlers from Yukos reacted in such a way to all reports about Khodorkovsky’s dubious bank accounts.
THEY WERE GOING TO TRANSFER THE MONEY TO AN OFFSHORE ACCOUNT
“The Irish authorities have frozen 65 million euro in accounts of which the beneficiary is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oligarch and founder of Yukos Oil, who is in prison for tax evasion and fraud in Moscow”, reported the British newspaper “The Times” on April 3, 2011. “Another 36 million euro held in Irish accounts are also being examined by Garda investigators. It is suspected this money also belongs to Khodorkovsky but he may be not the sole beneficiary. Security and financial sources believe the Russian businessman could have used intermediaries to deposit as much as 200 million euros in Irish banks while disguising its true ownership”, pointed out the newspaper adding that “the money was frozen as it was about to be transferred to an offshore account”.
“The Irish police”, reported the British newspaper, “has been monitoring the suspicious accounts for a long time”. “The intelligence prompted an investigation by the fraud squad, which initially suspected it representing the proceeds of drug trafficking or terrorism”, said a source of The Times. “The discovery that it belonged to Khodorkovsky was a surprise”, pointed out the British newspaper.
Obviously, the lawyers of the “transparent” Yukos were also to some extend perplexed. Perhaps, machinations of their clients sometimes came as a surprise for them. “Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant calls the information about the owners of these accounts “rumors". "I don't comment rumors", he said. Yuri Schmidt, another Khodorkovsky's lawyer, also said that he was not ready to comment as he "does not know the details". In Information Center of Khodorkovsky and the former head of the International Financial Institution “Menatep” Platon Lebedev they could not present an operative commentary”, said the news outlet “Gazeta.ru” collided with a wall of silence from the part of usually garrulous commentators of Yukos. "Bank of Ireland", where, actually, the oil criminal set up their transit hub, gave no commentaries relating to clients.
APPARITION OF THE BENEFICIARY BEFORE AN IRISH COURT
Five years later, the “rumors” about the Irish accounts of Khodorkovsky became facts – the beneficiary had served his term and had quickly appeared. There was, of course, a question about “the cleanness of the provenance” of the monetary assets, but the Khodorkovsky's side when considering the claim to unfrozen 100 million euro, found, apparently, a well-argued approach to the court, the more so because the interested party – the Russian Federation – was not informed in a proper way about this case and did not take part in the proceedings. It turned out to be as in a funny story, where a tax fraud and criminal in a one-way fashion said that he was a good man, and the money he, by chance, collected for “promotion of civil society”. And it was like that.
The ruling of Judge Timothy Luce holds that “the money on the accounts in Ireland is not the proceeds of criminal activity, - reported the newspaper “Kommersant”. An interesting conclusion of the court, as, based on the verdicts on two large-scale criminal cases, Khodorkovsky, obviously, did not pursue any other activity allowing to have such an income.
CAPACITY TO GET INTO A MESS
As to the Khodorkovsky's accounts in the Swiss bank "Julius Baer", it is possible that the money was moved to the "main assets" of Yukos in Miami, where Matthias Krull, a former asset manager of the bank “Julius Baer Group Ltd”, pulled off his “laundering” deals with real estate.
He was, by all means, involved in another case connected with oilmen of Venezuela. But, taking into account the pathological capacity of the "oil robbers" from Yukos to get into various semi-criminal affairs, the company “Julius Bear Group Ltd” could well carry out a couple of some murky joint operations on “cleaning” of their dubious assets.
The bank, as it turned out, had sins not only with regard to Venezuelan accounts. All the more so, as one of the schemes imputed to the former manager from “Julius Baer” was conducted in the period from 2014 to 2015, when the “figures” from Yukos had been hiding their names in documents emerged in the registry of the Miami Administration”, noted the website Prigivir.ru.
(See also the previous article "On this day, Khodorkovsky unjustifiably delayed clearing his back taxes”. Yukos had to pay to the budget around 3.73 billion U.S. dollars of the confirmed tax claims”. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on October 13, 2004.