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US Seizing Russian Assets in NYC

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The US prosecutors filed a civil complaint and are looking to seize luxury apartments and other property they allege Russian companies used to launder proceeds from a $230 million tax fraud in Russia. The alleged scheme was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer who died in a Russian prison. The complaint alleges the organization stole corporate identities belonging to the Hermitage Fund that was the scheme of Edmond Safra, an investment fund operating in Russia, and used them to make fraudulent claims for tax refunds.



To make this perfectly clear, this is the very fund that Republic National Bank organized and were soliciting me to bring over $10 billion from Japan to invest in. I had a meeting with the President of Republic Dov Schlien and sent an email with their proposal back to our Tokyo office. This is the same fund Safra then invited me to a IMF dinner he threw in Washington hiring the entire National Gallery to demonstrate how they had the IMF in their pocket and that the loans to Russia were secured. I warned them Russia would collapse. They would not listen. The London Financial Times attended a seminar I did in London. They then wrote I was warning about the collapse of Russia. When that took place, the first major bailout was required – Long Term Capital Management.

The government is now alleging that the Russians sought to launder some of its billions in ill-gotten in Russian rubles through the purchase of pricey Manhattan real estate. How exactly defrauding Russia out of taxes results in an action in New York I do not know. The organization included officials at two Russian tax offices, Olga Stepanova and Yelena Khimina, who approved the refunds of approximately $230 million, according to the complaint. Stepanova and Khimina could not be immediately reached for comment.

The US Attorney Office in New York said: “While New York is a world financial capital, it is not a safe haven for criminals seeking to hide their loot, no matter how and where their fraud took place.” The complaint said Magnitsky, who was hired by Hermitage to investigate, faced retaliatory criminal proceedings in Russia after uncovering the scheme and the involvement of Russian officials. He died on November 16, 2009, while in pretrial detention. They later put him on trial after his death and found him guilty in Russia.

The US Congress in turn passed the Magnitsky Act, which bars Russians believed to have been involved in his death or other severe human rights abuses from entering the United States. Obama actually signed the legislation in December. However, Magnitsky was involved with the Safra deals. 

The whole thing is anything but what it may seem.