The convicted fraudster Valentin Vinogradov has had assets worth more than $16 million frozen by a court in Cyprus.
The freezing order is the latest development in a long-running legal campaign by Vinogradov’s former employer, the Midland Group, to recover money stolen by the Russian businessman.
The freezing order means that if Vinogradov tries to move or spend money anywhere in the world he can be arrested and the assets seized. The order also means that banks and other financial institutions are liable if they help the fraudster move any money.
This escalation in the legal fight appears to have encouraged Vinogradov to seek a settlement with Midland’s founders, Eduard Shyfrin and Alex Shnaider.
It is understood that Sergey Kvashuk, a former Midland employee and Vinogradov’s associate, was seen delivering a letter to Shyfrin’s home. The letter said: “Let’s meet in Dubai to resolve the problems with you (me) and Alex.”
According to court documents, Vinogradov was the general manager of Midland Development, a real estate business that was part of the Midland Group, when he committed his crimes.
In 2007, Vinogradov identified a shopping mall in Moscow as a target for acquisition. Vinogradov told his employers at Midland that the mall was to be purchased from a company called Rosinternet Consulting in the British Virgin Islands for $89 million.
The court heard that Rosinternet was actually owned by Vinogradov and he had stolen at least $16 million by inflating the value of the transaction.
Midland is seeking the return of this money and has already seized Vinogradov’s assets in Russia, which included property and several luxury cars.
The District Court of Nicosia issued the worldwide freezing order against Vinogradov on 1st November 2021. Vinogradov was granted an appeal but this was rejected on 26th November 2021.
The court ruled that Vinogradov and companies associated with him are not permitted to transfer, sell or dispose of assets worth up to $16,878,894.
Vinogradov, who is a well-known showjumper, sought asylum in Slovakia after fleeing Russia and he has remained there. The Russian government’s attempts to extradite Vinogradov have so far failed, which has prompted anger that the fraudster has been able to evade justice for so long.
The veteran Russian investigative reporter Andrey Karalov said: “A question arises for the Slovakian authorities: who is Valentin Vinogradov to you? Why did he receive political asylum in Slovakia? A thief, by court ruling, a criminal, a fraudster who stole RUB 250 million and with another case ongoing for RUB 100 million. Why Slovakia? “