If evil cannot be punished in #Russia, can it be punished abroad?

| July 3, 2020

Russian oligarchs who made fortunes through fraud, corporate raids and corruption are undermining the Western world, claims billionaire Shalva Chigirinsky.  In an exclusive interview with the EU Reporter the businessman says that only now the West is waking up to the influence of Russian money. He says London has welcomed the cash without checking its true origins and “trusting” Russian legal paperwork.

Shalva Chigirinsky

Shalva Chigirinsky

Mr Chigirinsky said:

“Such a silent invasion achieved terrific results which cannot be obtained by an open war.

“The Western world is being effectively undermined, and its institutions are damaged.

“And a great army of the best Western lawyers are working to protect the laundered money from Russia.

“Unfortunately, only a few comprehend that huge monies obtained through Russian corruption and misdeeds – and the people who bring them to the West  – are part of terrorism; a new form of terrorism achieves results which cannot be gained by traditional terrorism or wars.

“Gradually and very slowly that understanding has come to the minds of Western society.”

In a far-ranging interview Mr Chigirinsky, 71, took an example of Russia’s wealthiest woman, billionaire Elena Baturina.

For more than three years Viktor Baturin has been searching for justice in a lawsuit against his sister Elena Baturina, trying to obtain an unbiased and correct verdict from the Austrian court. Viktor claims that his sister falsified documents related to 25% of the huge Inteco company, a share that he claims should be his. Proceedings are all about the settlement agreement and its annex that the siblings signed in 2007-2008.

He explained why he was helping Viktor Baturin take on his sister Elena in a court case in Austria.

The EU Reporter caught up with Mr Chigirinsky who currently stays in Europe.

Firstly, we asked why he was backing Viktor against Elena – both former close friends.

He said: “You are right – I was a close business partner of Elena Baturina and I was close to her husband Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow.

“I respected and loved him very much and deeply regret his death.

“And I knew her brother Viktor.

“Since 1994 I’d talk almost daily to Elena and Viktor about business and personal matters.

“We had offices in the same building which I’d built in the centre of Moscow.

“Since 1999 we were in joint businesses with Elena Baturina in the oil industry and real estate.

“This partnership was built on a 50/50 parity basis and it was agreed that all profits and losses were divided equally between the parties.

“According to the agreements, I had to provide financing for certain major projects related to real estate and oil.

Elena Baturina

Elena Baturina

“And, Elena Baturina had to ensure through her husband Yuri the elimination of any bureaucratic issues during business development.

“Considering her social status, Baturina at first insisted that our partnership was not formalized.

“But in 2003 she wanted to register our business relations and we flew to Switzerland.

“Through a law firm we set two companies on a 50/50 basis – Rossini Trade Ltd and Salvini Trading Corp.

“In favour of the same companies, I transferred half of the companies Bennfield Ltd and Kea Enterprises Ltd.

“Bennfield owned a stake in Sibir Energy PLC, (UK listed company), and Kea had large real estate projects in Moscow.

“Our co-operation with Elena Baturina continued until the end of 2008 — when she, together with a number of individuals, carried out actions to seize my shares in the businesses.

“So, I know the ways and methods Elena used to make her fortune.

Viktor Baturin

Viktor Baturin

“About two years ago Viktor approached me and told me that he started litigation in Austria against Elena.

“He said he wanted to protect his honour, dignity and business reputation.

“Recently he asked me to provide the Austrian Court with information known to me on the subject matter.

“Frankly speaking, if I had to give evidence for a Russian court, I would still consider whether to do it or not.

“Now the situation is quite different.

“The facts are being considered in an Austrian court, and there is such a ‘little thing’ as the examination of the authenticity of documents.

“I hope Viktor will be able to prove his case.

“In an Austrian court I know that the case will be considered transparently.

“The examinations will be correct.

“You can’t bribe a judge, an expert or a notary, and there will be no fraud.

“So, why do I think Viktor’s legal point is stronger and fairer?

“Because I have the information that Victor never granted his sister shares in their multibillion-worth company – as she claims he did.

“I know how Elena managed to run the Moscow development and construction market with the help of others.

“I do have the information how she has made her fortune.

“In my opinion, the business that Viktor Baturin founded, and in which he played a large role, was taken away from him by fraud.

“And, of course, he wants to restore justice, clear his name, and his reputation.

“Viktor is a normal person; a normal guy and he deserves justice.

“And I do hope that the information I can give to the Austrian Court will help justice to prevail.

EU Reporter asked former medical student Mr Chigirinsky who closely worked with the Inteco business empire run by Viktor and Elena.

He said: “The joint business of Elena and Viktor, organized on a parity basis, started with the production of plastics.

“But radical changes occurred after Inecto decided to enter the construction business.

“Large-scale growth occurred in Moscow in the early 2000s, when, on Viktor Baturin’s initiative, controlling stakes of ‘House-Building Plant -3’ and the cement plant ‘Oskolcement’ were purchased.

“Entering the Moscow construction market, using an unparalleled level of administrative support from all Moscow government departments and other support, allowed Inecto to multiply its profitability.

“Viktor was voluntarily giving his sister the lead in their company.

“At the same time, Viktor himself performed a large amount of routine, day-to-day work, without which no success in business is possible.

“No doubt his role in the company was especially important.

“However, Elena attributed the success of the company to her own ‘talents’.

“And, the more the company was growing, the more she was convinced in her unique gifts.

“But her only gift was to influence the decisions of her husband – the mayor of Moscow.”

The EU Reporter asked if the flow of accusations in both Russian and Western media means  that Elena’s influence was waning back in Moscow.

Mr Chigirinsky said:

“To a certain extent it may be so – but not in my case.

“I agreed to give my first interview regarding this Austrian case after the death of Baturina’s husband Yuri.

“I sincerely respected that man and I would not have done anything against Elena if he was alive, for the simple reason that Yuri Luzhkov was fanatically convinced of the genius of his wife and of her sinlessness.

“He held a unique feeling of love, respect and faith in her.

“And if I started a prosecution against Elena, it would have upset him very much.

“But I think that the real reason for the West’s interest in some Russians is because dirty money, and corruption from Russia erodes the basics of Western civilization.

“Only now have some representatives of the Western establishment begun to understand what a dramatic blunder has been committed by opening the doors for money coming from Russia without checking its true origins, and trusting the validity of papers produced by Russian tax authorities.

“The West was turned into a huge money laundromat.

“People from Russia who made fortunes from fraud, theft, corporate raiding, and corruption were welcomed to high society and became a part of establishment.

“Such a silent invasion achieved terrific results which cannot be obtained by an open war.

“The Western world is being effectively undermined, and its institutions are damaged.

“And a great army of the very best Western lawyers are working to protect the laundered money.

“Unfortunately, only a few comprehend that huge monies obtained through Russian corruption and misdeeds – and the people who bring them to the West  – are part of terrorism; a new form of terrorism that achieves results which cannot be gained by traditional terrorism or wars.

“Gradually, and very slowly, that understanding has come to the minds of Western society and that is why I think there is an interest to such topics in the West.

“As for the Russian media – there was always interest in Elena Baturina’s activities

“They’ve been the subject of discussion for a long time with no results.

“So today for many people in Russia there is one question – if evil cannot be punished in Russia, can it be punished abroad?

“Or, is there a category of untouchables who cannot be dealt with even in the West?

Finally, Mr Chigirinsky was asked if he was based in Europe because he felt threatened by Elena’s still strong influence in Russia?

He said: “Actually, I’m stuck in Europe because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“I left Russia in 2009 after my businesses were seized with active participation of Elena Baturina.

“Since then I never returned to Russia and, speaking frankly, do not see any interest to develop a business there.”

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Category: A Frontpage, Austria, Russia

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