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Moscow court seizes elite London mansion of former owner of Vneshprombank

Christian Fernsby |
The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow has attached one of the most luxurious real estate objects in London belonging to Georgy Bedzhamov, the former owner of Vneshprombank.

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Topics: MOSCOW    LONDON    VNESHPROMBANK    

The mansion is located at Belgrave Square. The freeze was put upon the application of the Russian police authority who leads a criminal case against Bedzhamov and his sister Larisa Markus.

The court held that the seizure was necessary in order to ensure the execution of sentence against Bedzhamov. According to the Russian law, a prosecutor will forward this order to the UK criminal authorities via the official channels to preserve this property.

Georgy Bedzhamov who fled Russia to London a few years ago after Vneshprombank went bankrupt and was closed by the state authorities, is the legal owner of a luxury estate on Belgrave Square (17 Belgrave Square and 17 Belgrave Mews West), Mayfair London, which he purchased in January 2015.

In Russia, Georgy Bedzhamov is charged with embezzlement from Vneshprombank between 2009 and December 2015, when the banking license was revoked. His sister Larisa Markus served as President of the Bank at all times and after having fully admitted to the crime is now serving a custodial sentence in Russia.

However, Bedzhamov is believed to be the main beneficiary of the Bank and the key mastermind behind embezzlement. He is now defending a GBP 1bn plus claim in the English courts and all of his assets have been subject to a worldwide freezing order.

Once the crime was uncovered and the Bank’s license was revoked, Bedzhamov moved to Monaco and then to London.

As soon as he arrived in London in 2016 it is alleged that he orchestrated a scheme to protect this assets from any potential creditors by creating a fictitious charge over the property in the name of Clement Glory Limited (a BVI company which continues to provide consultancy services to Bedzhamov in London). The Bank is in the process of challenging this charge, which it considers to be sham.

The victim in this case, the Bank, as well as thousands of its customers and depositors, both Russian and foreign-based, believe that Bedzhamov is the main beneficiary of the fraud, as he funded his lifestyle, acquisition of two yachts (called Ester I and Ester II), private jets and luxury real estate in London, Moscow, France, Italy, Switzerland with the proceeds of this embezzlement.

The authorities believe that the money which Bedzhamov used to purchase Belgrave Square property was previously stolen from the Bank and its customers.

The legitimacy of the funds used to acquire this property will be subject to a thorough investigation by the English court. However, no doubt, the solicitors who assisted the former banker with the acquisition of this property in 2015 (Rokeby Johnson Baars LLP), duly carried out all their checks and compliance perspective.

“The distress levied by the court is an indication that the Russian prosecution is taking the criminal case against Bedzhamov seriously, using all the legal instruments they have at their disposal to pursue him both locally in Russian, as well as internationally”, Andrey Guryev, Chief Legal Officer at Lex Consulting, said.


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