On this day, swindlers from Yukos were included in the top-list of billionaire-tricksters

On this day, swindlers from Yukos were included in the top-list of billionaire-tricksters

It Khodorkovsky were tried in the United States he would become 45 years of incarceration for his affairs. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 29, 2010.

On this day 12 years ago, the business magazine “Forbes” known for its ratings of the biggest fortunes, published quite an usual list. The editorial board presented to its readers the list of top 11 of the richest men in the world, who had ended up behind bars or wanted by the police. A fortune numbered in billions doesn’t guarantee freedom to its owners, argued the media outlet.

In the list of persons that came to the attention of investigation or court, there were affluent dealers from various countries who, as of the moment of drawing the list, had problems with law enforcement agencies of their countries. On the run, according to the magazine, were the Mexican drug baron Joaquin  Guzman Loera, Turkish businessman Cemal Uzan (accusations pertaining to activities in economic sphere), and the former prime-minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra, accused of terrorism. These are persons who were on the wanted list at the moment of compiling it.

On the list of those who were already behind bars, was, for instance, the biggest seller of electronics from China by the name of Huang Guangyu. By the rather tough “undemocratic” system of government and Chinese laws, he had been sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment and penalty to the amount of $88 million on charges of bribing five officials to the total amount of 4.6 billions of yuan for using insider information while trading shares of his company and for illegal conversion of Chinese renminbi to Hong Kong dollars.


Agreed, in China everything it tough. Yet, in the United States, which counts as a “stronghold of democracy”, and “free business”, the laws, to be honest, have turned out to be merciless. The American billionaire Allen Stanford for creation of a pyramid to the tune of $7 billion, was sentenced by a court in Houston to 110 years of detention, and his personal responsibility for embezzlement of $5.9 billion was also confirmed. Double-crossed were 30 thousands of investors who suffered losses as they had put money in Stanford International Bank with a headquarters on Antigua.


Behind the bars ended up also the billionaire from Italy Callisto Tanzi (1938-2022). His conglomerate Parmalat collapsed in 2003 with a hole of 14 billion euros (20 billion U.S. dollars). In 2008, Tanzi was adjudged guilty of embezzling about 800 million euros from the company, was put in jail for fraud and received, on the aggregate, 18 years of imprisonment. He spent behind bars two years, and then was put under house arrest. He died in January 2022. The collapse of his milk company was often compared with the fall of the American energy corporation “Enron”. The fall of “Enron”, in its turn, in Russia was compared with affairs of Yukos.

(See also the article “The “Enron” affair, or Yukos American style)


“Forbes” remembered also the criminal prosecution of Martha Stuart. She was accused by the United Stated government on nine articles, including accusations of fraud with securities and obstruction of justice. Stuart was adjudged guilty in March 2004. She served five months for illegal used of insider information, and after what she had to make a compromise with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to settle various claims connected with civil suits.

At the mention of the vigilant U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, one can remember “Voyage”, a frozen project of Yukos. The situation has shown – to declare itself “the most transparent” oil company to the whole world in the press is one thing, but to prove one’ s transparency, in real, to the SEC to get to a new level of business – is not only difficult, but also risky. It’s SEC that Khodorkovsky and Nevzlin feared like the plague. For trying to cheat the Commission one can lose big sums of money and many years of freedom.

(See also the article “On this day, Khodorkovsky interrupted the operation "Voyage").


And, naturally, such a poignant list could not do without two Russian swindlers – Mikhail Khodorkovsky* and Platon Lebedev. Previously  they had been included in ratings of the journal “Forbes” in the capacity of billionaires, and that is why they were included in its prison top. At the moment of making this list in 2010, they were already serving their first eight years of imprisonment under the sentence of the Meschansky District Court of Moscow passed in May 2005. They were accused under seven articles of the Criminal Code for a series of interconnected crimes in the economic sphere, including tax evasion to the total amount exceeding $25 billion.

Moreover, lawyers regularly swore the Russian justice, like, it is unjust, “but in civilized countries everything is different”. Taking into account that that machinations in the sphere of securities and economy in numerous countries have common features and tricks, yet punishments for them are different in each country, so, such embellishments as “the court in civilized countries” are, to a greater extend, “figures of speech”, as favorable attitude towards economic wheeler-dealers. And if Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were charged under American rules, then an accusation under seven articles of the Criminal Code of Russia would mean for them 32 years in jail, by way of cumulative sentencing of each criminal charges. To these three decades another 14 years would be added – within the framework of the second case of embezzlement of oil and laundering property acquired by illegal means, - so it would be 46 years on the whole. And they would serve full term – as the court didn’t perceived any inclination to active repentance – neither in the position of Platon Lebedev, not in the attitude of Mikhail Khodorkovsky”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, cunning Sabine was pining for the swindler Khodorkovsky. The representative of PACE Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger came rushing to Moscow at the behest of “Menatep”. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 28, 2004).

*On May 20, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice, included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of physical persons executing functions of a foreign agent.

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