ISSN 2330-717X

Montenegro Detains Russian Ex-Official Wanted For Massive Fraud

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By Samir Kajosevic

Montenegrin Higher Court in Podgorica on Friday ordered the former head of Russia’s Alcohol Market Regulation Federal Service, Igor Chuyan, into extradition custody after police arrested him in the coastal town of Tivat.

Police stated that the Russian businessman was arrested after searches lasting several weeks and that he is wanted in his home country for “the criminal offence of giving and receiving bribes in a for-profit organisation”.

“He is accused of committing the illegal and criminal acts of abusing his official position, as a result of which there were serious consequences,” the police stated.

In April 2018, the Russian State Prosecution opened a criminal case against Chuyan but he had already left the country.

According to the charge, Chuyan organised a fraudulent scheme in which the Russian OFK-Bank issued almost on 14.2 billion roubles (168 million euros) in non-secured loans to the companies under the control of one of the largest distributors of alcoholic products at that time, Status-Group LLC.

The Russian Investigative Committee claimed that loans were given to ghost companies controlled by staff of OFK-Bank and Status-group LCC, while Chuyan was a beneficiary of both companies.

In September 2019, the Russian Investigative Committee seized real estate from Chuyan worth nearly 260 million rubles (three million euros), including a country house in the Moscow area and a 270-square-metre apartment in the centre of the capital.

In a separate development on Friday, Montenegrin newsppaer Vijesti reported that police in Podgorica arrested Russian tycoon Telman Ismailov on a Moscow arrest warrant from 2017.

Ismailov was charged with being involved in a double homicide case, and could face life imprisonment if convicted.
The case against Ismailov is reportedly connected with the murder of businessman Vladimir Savkin and the founder of Lublino-Motors auto service centre, Yury Brylev, in May 2016.

The tycoon’s brother Rafik Ismailov and another man, Mekhman Kerimov, were also accused of being involved in the double homicide. Kerimov has pleaded guilty.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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