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Business activities of fugitive Russian billionaire Vardanyan should be studied by international investigators and law enforcement

15 December 2022 15:36 (UTC+04:00)
Business activities of fugitive Russian billionaire Vardanyan should be studied by international investigators and law enforcement

By Trend

The fugitive Russian billionaire of Armenian origin, Ruben Vardanyan, has long gained notoriety in the West. As western media reported for decades, Vardanyan was in fact a hub for laundering and withdrawing the money of Russian oligarchs to the West.

Speaking about the criminal schemes of Vardanyan, one cannot fail to mention the investigation published in March 2019. Then the OCCRP (Corruption and Organized Crime Investigation Project) released an investigation into the Troika Dialog offshore company system, through which, according to Russian media, money was secretly transferred to the most powerful people in Russia. From 2006-2013, more than $4.5 billion passed through the accounts of these companies. Money was withdrawn from Russia through Vardanyan's companies, including through the use of "criminal schemes". According to the investigation, the network operated from 2006 to 2013, and during this time, about $ 9 billion was laundered and withdrawn from Russia. The investigation was called "Troika Laundromat".

Then the journalists had about 60,000 financial documents in their hands, which "leaked" from the Lithuanian bank Ukio, which was closed in 2013. The study of these documents sheds light on numerous schemes and financial tricks. Thus, the network created by Troika Dialog included at least 75 interconnected offshore firms, some of which opened accounts with Ukio. The "directors" of many of these firms turned out to be ordinary seasonal workers from Armenia. The authors of the investigation found one of them in Vanadzor. The signature of 34-year-old Armen Ustyan, who lives in extremely difficult social and living conditions, is on the financial documents of one of Troika's offshore companies for $50 million (!). The authors of the investigation found several citizens of Armenia, whose passport data ended up in the hands of the organizers of the Laundromat, and their signatures were simply falsified.

Ruben Vardanyan did not just use some schemes and structures - he built them himself! In 2022, Vardanyan escaped Western sanctions against Russia by theatrically renouncing his citizenship and moving to Karabakh, under the wing of Russian peacekeepers. There, Vardanyan engaged in another illegal business: the extraction and further export of Azerbaijani gold.

And here an important question arises. Vardanyan exports this gold and sells it. Where is the Russian billionaire is sending this money, using such a cover?

Vardanyan's illegal activities should become the object of close scrutiny by international journalists, investigators and law enforcement officers.

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