Is Russian Organized Crime the link between the Danske Bank money laundering scandal and the Novichok poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal?

In little-noticed testimony before the US Senate last month, US Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, Marshall Billingslea told a Senate panel — “There’s an enormous amount of money that is still being exfiltrated from Russia by both Organized Crime and cronies surrounding Putin.”

Referencing illicit Russian financial transfers into Europe, Billingslea stated that “It is critical that they (European financial institutions) shore up their Anti-Money Laundering regimes and that they clamp down on how they regulate money coming out of Russia.”

The Wall St Journal published a piece on Friday, September 7, 2018, entitled ‘Russia Linked Money Laundering Probe Looks at $150 Billion in Transactions.’ This article specifically referenced transactions at Danske’s Estonia branch that highlight the growing concerns about illicit money flows from the former Soviet Union province.

Bloomberg elaborated on the above referenced WSJ piece, by quoting Denmark’s minister in charge of financial legislation, “ it now seems likely that illegal acts were committed in connection with laundering allegations.” The article goes on to note that the $150Bn was moved between 2007–2015 and that much of the $150Bn, which dwarfs Estonia’s total deposits, came from companies with ties to Russia and the former Soviet Union. Danske Bank offered until 2015, banking services at its Estonia branch to residents of other countries. Many of these non-resident clients were from so-called high-risk countries e.g. Russia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan.

Multiple media reports filed on September 19, 2018, have updated their figures with regard to the amount of questionable financial transactions flowing through Danske Bank’s Estonia branch now totaling 200 billion euros($234Bn). That figure would represent one-half the amount spent by the Russian Central Bank in 2015 as WSJ noted for a frame of reference. Danske Bank CEO Thomas Borgen submitted his resignation after an investigation commissioned by Danske Bank exposed control and compliance failings.

Danske’s Estonian branch used to be called SAMPO and was implicated in the movement of the so-called Magnitsky funds. Bill Browder, the past CEO of Hermitage who employed Sergei Magnitsky to trace the $260M of Hermitage funds stolen by a Russian Organized Crime(ROC) group, filed suit requesting a criminal investigation of the twenty-six member Estonian staff of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank(DBE) headed by the CEO of DBE, Aivar Rehe. Browder has pinpointed 190 accounts at DBE that he alleges, were opened for shell corporations, where transactions were approved by DBE staff, who were aware of the criminal origins of the money transacted through these accounts.

Danish investigators are examining end-uses for money laundered through DBE. One inquiry referenced by Defense News includes shipment by aircraft of thirty-five tons of missiles, grenades, and other military materials between North Korea and Iran in December 2009. The investigators suspect that the deal was funded from cash laundered through DBE by Russian state officials working with organized crime groups.

While investigators are still poring through internal audit reports and whistleblower reports pertaining to the $230Bn money laundering transactions recently highlighted by the media, it should be noted that the Organized Crime & Corruption Reporting Project(OCCRP) has documented Danske’s involvement in several substantive international money laundering operations. Reference is made first to the Azerbaijani Laundromat, and second, what is commonly known as the Global or Russian Laundromat.

The Azerbaijani Laundromat took place for the most part between 2012–2014 and involved approximately $2.9Bn of funds laundered by the Aliyev family that rules Azerbaijan, for the purpose of establishing a secret slush fund that was used to bribe, and otherwise pay off European politicians, to look favorably upon President Aliyev’s reputation and his favored projects. Much of the $2.9Bn found its way through four anonymously owned shell companies registered in the UK, into Danske Bank, and then out to Swiss banks and other offshore financial institutions that cloaked further financial transactions in secrecy. The four shell companies are as follows: Polux Management LP; Hilux Services LP; Metastar Invest LLP and LCM Alliance.

The Global Laundromat aka Russian Laundromat essentially was used by ROC groups, kleptocrats, corrupt government officials, and oligarchs in Russia in the early 2000s, to move illicit wealth out of Russia via small Russian banks on to Moldindconbank in Moldova. From there, money would transfer to banks in Latvia e.g. Trasta Komercbanka, or DBE in Estonia, before being processed on to offshore entities located in Cyprus, BVI, Seychelles, etc., often through western correspondent banks e.g. Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank has been the subject of substantial fines in the UK and New York state for their involvement in the $10Bn ‘mirror trades’ money laundering activity of their Moscow branch. This scheme converted rubles to dollars while moving the money out of Russia via simultaneous stock trades of Russian blue-chip stocks by related stockholders in Moscow and London.

Danske Bank has been found by investigators to have account holders at DBE who did the same mirror trade type activities as Deutsche, but used Russian bonds in lieu of stocks, and processed through Citibank’s Moscow branch instead of Deutsche Bank. What is stunning, however, is the discovery that the same shell companies registered in the UK were involved in both schemes!

Danish authorities according to The Guardian, have established that twenty shell companies held accounts in DBE that moved billions of dollars. OCCRP cites a whistleblower report that relates the above referenced twenty shell companies to one company as central to the scheme. This company is called Lantana Trade LLP. Lantana falsely represented itself as dormant and having a low turnover with the UK Companies House, the entity in the UK which registers corporations. This so-called dormant company passed huge sums of money through an account at DBE.

Danske Bank did not establish who controlled Lantana while the company was making “suspicious payments just under control limits,” the report stated. OCCRP disclosed that just under $10M could have been laundered through the scheme on a daily basis for years.

While it is still unclear who the real money was behind Lantana various reports have established that Juri Kidyayev was the Private & Foreign Banking department head for Danske Estonia who answered only to CEO Aivar Rehe.

The Danske Estonia management official who handled the day to day Lantana account activity was Olga Chetverikova.

Four other UK shell companies used in the scheme related to Lantana, and are in fact referenced as the Lantana group and have also been implicated in the Russian mirror trading Money laundering scheme conducted through Deutsche Bank. They are identified as Chadborg Trade LLP, Cherryfield Management, IC Financial Bridge, and Ergoinvest.

Ergoinvest has been closely associated with the Rotenberg brothers — boyhood friends and judo partners of Vladimir Putin. The recently published FinCEN Files denote multiple instances of Deutsche Bank officials identifying irregularities in the Ergoinvest accounts but neglecting to file Suspicious Activity Reports(SARs).

Ed Cesar took note in an article in the New Yorker, that Alexander Perepilichnyy appeared on official Russian documentation of Financial Bridge as a major shareholder of Financial Bridge. According to Wikipedia, in 2010, Perepilichny handed over documents to Swiss prosecutors detailing the involvement of senior Russian officials in the fraud of $220M from the Russian Treasury through Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management firm. Wikipedia further notes in 2017, it was reported that a US intelligence report to Congress asserted with “high confidence,” that Perepilichny was assassinated on the orders of Russian officials. Speculation centered around a Chinese poison called heart glass that triggers heart attacks as the weapon of choice.

Ultimate owners of Lantana and related limited partnerships were known to be Russian. Their identities were hidden behind a series of offshore management firms based in the Marshall Islands and Seychelles.

The Guardian has reported that an ex Danske employee has disclosed that Lantana was controlled by Promsberbank, a small Russian bank located in Podolsk, which is just outside of Moscow. The three prominent executives or shareholders of Promsberbank linked to Lantana are Alexander Grigoriev, Igor Putin, and Alexei Kulikov.

Alexander Grigoriev — OCCRP disclosed that according to intelligence reports cited by Kommersant, Grigoriev, a St. Petersburg businessman, was one of the leaders of the largest organized crime operation in Russia. Its operations involved 60 Russian banks, including those managing the accounts of public companies. The annual turnover for the alleged criminal group is said to have been about 1 trillion rubles(U.S. $ 15.7 billion). High-level sources told OCCRP that Grigoriev is connected to the FSB, but the Federal Security Service replied to an OCCRP request for information by saying he never worked there. Besides Grigoriev’s involvement in Promsberbank, Grigoriev came to the Russian Land Bank(RZB) in 2012, wherein he appointed Igor Putin to the RZB board of directors until 2014.

Igor Putin is a cousin to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and was on the Board of Directors of Promsberbank. Igor also served on the board of the Russian Land Bank(RZB) which was heavily associated with the heretofore referenced Russian Laundromat. Putin also was employed as a VP at one point, and then served on the Board of Directors of Master Bank. This shadowy bank was alleged to engage in obnal or dark money, heavily associated with the FSB. Master Bank was ultimately shut down by the authorities for involvement in large-scale fraud. Igor Putin will be further discussed later on in this article

Alexi Kulikov was a major shareholder in Promsberbank who interacted regularly with Deutsche Bank’s Moscow branch and was held responsible by the Russian authorities for Promsberbank’s demise. Kulikov feels that he has been scapegoated and when asked who he holds responsible points his finger to Ivan Myazin, an investment partner in Promsberbank that Kulikov recruited. Bloomberg interviewed Kulikov and Myazin to corroborate the above and Myazin did not deny any association with notorious ROC figure Yaponchik(Little Japanese) — Vyacheslav Ivankov, acknowledging that their respective families celebrated New Year’s Eve together. Yaponchik was maneuvered out of a Russian gulag by infamous ROC Vor Semion Mogilevich, who then directed Ivankov to NYC. Ivankov, in short order, set up ROC operations in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn before moving into the swank environs of Trump Tower across the East River in Manhattan. Yaponchik was gunned down in Moscow in 2009 due to a conflict between ROC gangs.

Russian Organized Crime(ROC)

It has been well documented ROC filled the government void upon the fall of communism in Russia. The rule of law was replaced by “Siloviki” — structured force commanded by rich oligarchs who were themselves protected by powerful “Krysha” — roof or Protection of high-level government officials. Many crime gangs worked free across the Russian landscape during the ’90s and aughts, but this article will focus on two — Solntsevskaya Bratva and the Tambovskaya Bratva.

The Solntsevskaya Bratva or brotherhood is the biggest and most powerful organized crime syndicate in Russia according to Oxford University expert on ROC Federico Varese. This group was founded in the late ’80s by Sergei Mikhailov and was at first concentrated in the Solntsevo District in Moscow which contained the main highway to Ukraine. Semion Mogilevich “the brainy don” took over this fearsome group in 1996 after Mikhailov was arrested in Switzerland according to Robert Friedman — The Red Mafiya.

The Ukrainian born Mogilevich had a degree in economics and quickly took advantage of weak money laundering laws in Europe, Canada, and the US, as well as offshore, to move enormous amounts of ill-gotten gains out of Russia. His favored henchman in this regard was Grigori Loutchansky, who was heavily involved in a company called Nordex, that he allegedly used to launder massive funds through Moldova and Latvia.

Loutchansky was believed to have been relied upon by the so-called Tashkent business tentacles of the ROC to include Iskander Makhmudov, Lev Leviev, Mikhail Cherney, Gafur Rakhimov, Salim Abduvaliev, Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, Jakov Goldovsky, et al.

Federico Varese broke down the Solntsevskaya Bratva as a highly decentralized structure composed of 12 separate quasi-autonomous brigades that operate more or less independently of each other but occasionally pool its resources. The money is overseen by a 12 person council thought to be called “the Syndicate.” Their money comes from assassinations, money laundering, drug trafficking, prostitution, and arms trafficking. The group is believed to bring in more than 9 Billion Euros annually. The Syndicate regularly meets in different parts of the world often disguising their meetings as festive occasions. One such meeting was reported as being held in Tel Aviv in October 1995 hosted by Boris Birshtein of Seabeco Metals money laundering fame and attended by Semion Mogilevich, wherein it is alleged that Ukraine was divided up.

Spanish Money Laundering Investigation

Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda Gonzalez has prosecuted several members of the Solntsevskaya Brava as part of his long-term investigation of Russian money laundering and racketeering in Spain. Most notably he has indicted Alexander Grinberg and Arnold Arnolovich Spivakovksy-Tamm aka Arnosha. Grinda has indicated recently that he has placed Ukraine oligarch Dmitro Firtash under investigation for suspected money laundering. Firtash has acknowledged that he has worked with Mogilevich in the past. Firtash is known to be close to Vladimir Putin and friendly with Putin boyhood judo friends, the Rotenberg brothers.

Firtash is partners with Ivan Fursin in several fuel company ventures as well as ownership in multiple Banks. Fursin is known to be a major shareholder in the notorious Latvian bank Trasta Komercbanka that has been documented in money laundering in the Global Laundromat, as well as the Deutsche Bank Mirror Trades episode. Fursin is perhaps best known for making a $9.9M loan to Paul Manafort via offshore shell companies highlighted in Manafort’s U.S. indictments.

It should be noted that Trasta Komercbanka was a spinoff founded by an individual associated with Parex Banka, itself closely associated with the notorious Russian oligarch Oleg Boiko. Donald Trump personally sold a luxury condo in his Manhattan Trump Tower to Boiko(also spelled Boyko) around 1994. Boiko turned around and sold that condo to the Russian racketeer Trincher who along with the mobster Golubchik, both of whom were aligned with Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov(Japonchik) who was associated with a massive gambling ring from those cozy environs before moving on to associate with various Italian mafia in Europe.

Grinda has led a long-term Spanish law enforcement investigation into Russian money laundering in Spain going back to 2006 when he picked up an ongoing investigation started by his cohort David Martinez Madero, who initiated the investigation years prior based on viable intelligence on Russian mafia infiltration of Spain dating back to the 1990s. Grinda aka the Spanish Robert Mueller — inherited a wealth of information from Martinez who relied on a low-key commander in the small organized crime unit of the national police by the name Juan Rueda. Grinda and Rueda established multiple wiretaps on telephones maintained by notable Russian mafia expatriates and obtained evidence leading to dozens of indictments, arrests, and seizures that targeted such notable figures as Gennady Petrov and Vladislav Reznik.

Grinda’s investigation has been so productive and informative over the years, that it garnered the attention of the FBI who reportedly directed years ago that an FBI agent was to be embedded into the Spanish investigation to obtain further information with regard to ROC and corruption. Many of the indicted crooks referenced above were affiliated with the St. Petersburg Mafia gang known locally as Tambovskaya.

The Tambovskaya Bratva according to Wikipedia, is named after their region(Tambov) of origin and locates in St. Petersburg where it was first organized in 1988 by two men from Tamba Oblast — Vladimir Kumarin & Valery Ledovskikh. In 1989, the gang clashed with Malyshev’s gang in a bloody armed conflict. Some gang members including Kumarin were jailed for racketeering in 1990. An internal war developed among various Tambov factions during 1993–1995 and Kumarin was severely wounded.

In 1995, Kumarin was formally named Deputy President of the St. Petersburg Fuel Company(PTK), the top fuel trading company in the city. In the mid-nineties, PTK was administered by the St. Petersburg city administration according to Wikipedia. The Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg at the time was a guy by the name of Vladimir Putin.

In 1999 the Tambov gang experienced further conflict and Kumarin left his position with PTK after not so coincidentally losing his power struggle with Sergei Vasiliev. Vasiliev and Ilya Traber took over the supervision of St. Petersburg Terminal according to Russian investigative journalist Anastasis Kirilenko’s in-depth article — Putin’s 4 Percent: How criminal kingpins with Kremlin Connections launder oil money in Monaco.

By 2000 the Tambov gang included several hundred active members and was headed up at least nominally, by Gennady Petrov. This conclusion was arrived at by Spanish authorities listening in to multiple wiretaps on the many Tambov figures who had moved to Costa del Sol and thereabouts with their ill-gotten gains derived from ROC activities in Russia. In August 2001, Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said that the Tambov gang, controlled up to 100 industrial enterprises in St. Petersburg including PTK, as well as four main seaports of Northwestern Russia — St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Arkhangelsk, and Murmansk.

Concurrent with the rise of the Tambov control of the St. Petersburg business sector was the rise of Vladimir Putin, who in short order, went from Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg in 1995 to Director of the Federal Security services(FSB) on July 25, 1998; Acting Prime Minister of Russia on August 9, 1999; inaugurated as President of Russia on May 7, 2000.

The FSB link was critical. Commander Rueda noted that “if you are someone important in the mafia in Russia, you don’t work on your own.” There is always the shadow of intelligence services behind them. The author Karen Dawisha, in her book Putin’s Kleptocracy, has documented Putin’s connection to Spain back to the late 90’s when he allegedly took no fewer than 37 secret boat rides to meet several well known Russian Mafia leaders living in southern Spain while Putin was head of the FSB. Putin reportedly entered Spain illegally by bypassing Spanish passport control by entering through Gibraltar.

A new group of oligarchs took their place at the top of the Russian hierarchy with Putin’s ascent, protected by Putin’s krysha and fortified by the Siloviki known as the Tambovskaya Bratva. This group included businessmen from the St. Petersburg area who had been close to Putin through an entity called the Ozero Cooperative e.g. Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, Yury Kovalchuk, and Sergei Chemezov.

On June 13, 2008, Spanish police, directed by prosecutor Jose Grinda, arrested 20 members of the Tambov organization located in Spain as part of Operation Troika. The indictment included Kumarin and Ilya Traber who managed to escape. A Business Insider article dated 6/30/2015 took note of another indictment filed by Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda of 27 Tambov gang-related individuals for money laundering and other fraud in what came to be known as the Petrov probe.

“This so-called Petrov probe could change the narrative of Putin in the West — from being a Stalinist tyrant defending the interests of his country to being a product of gangster Petersburg who united authorities with organized crime,” said Stanislav Belkovsky a Kremlin adviser during Putin’s first term, who consults at Moscow’s Institute for National Strategy. “The network of Russian authorities with alleged ties to Gennady Petrov is vast: from the former prime minister and current chairman of Gazprom, Viktor Zubhov, and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Russia Railways honcho Yakunin and longtime communications minister Leonid Reiman.”

Despite all the arrests, the question does arise as to whether Grinda really understands what he has latched onto? Grinda has revealed that he does believe that organized crime is deeply entangled in Russia’s government. Other experts are more emphatic. “It started,” says mafia expert Walter Kego of the Institute for Security & Development Policy in Stockholm, “when Putin was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg and used mafia groups to buy property and launder money.” And in the years since Putin rose to President of Russia, he says it continued.

Kego believes that the majority of the mafias’ money-making activities take place in Russia and Eastern Europe, but they turn to “Spain, US, Israel, the UK, and the rest of Europe to invest it and clean it up. We’re talking a lot of money and a lot of billions,” he adds.

But Grinda’s problem as a prosecutor is he must document the connecting of dots with evidence that can stand up in court. While he had a hard-working dedicated group of agents working with him on a multitude of wiretaps recording hundreds, if not thousands, of telephone calls between disparate Russians in Spain and Russia, he needed someone with special expertise to make the connections between Mafia and government and private industry corruption and crime.

According to various media reports including the NY Times piece on Sept. 6, 2018, by Michael Schwirtz and Jose Bautista, Spanish prosecutors first turned to Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence operative and expert in ROC in 2006 to fill the void. Litvinenko fled to England after publicly falling out with Vladimir Putin when Putin was the head of FSB. “From the beginning, we had a big problem,” said a retired Spanish police chief, who spoke to the NY Times on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential investigations. “We ignored the Russian phenomenon and its organized crime. We didn’t know how they operated.”

Apparently, Litvinenko filled in enough blanks for the Spanish authorities that he was invited to come to Spain in 2006 to testify as an expert witness. A week before his scheduled departure from London, Litvinenko was poisoned by a radioactive isotope, polonium 210, and died.

Before his death by poisoning, ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko recorded a tape. In it, he claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “good relationship” with one of the most notorious mobsters in the world, a Ukrainian man named Semion Mogilevich.

The NY Times draws a striking parallel between Litvinenko and Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian spy poisoned in Britain with a powerful nerve agent called Novichok, who appears to have been working in recent years with intelligence officers in Spain. The Times notes that Skripal had a long history in Spain. He was posted to Madrid in the mid-’90s, working as a military attache at the Russian embassy which provided him cover for his real job as a colonel in the Russian military intelligence agency known as GRU. Skripal was recruited by the Brits in 2004 while he was in Madrid. He was arrested in Russia in 2004, released in an exchange with the US in 2010, which then led to his resettlement in the UK later that year.

Skripal and his daughter were Novichoked this past March in his home in Britain. The findings of the British investigation, particularly the involvement of two GRU officers involved in the poisoning, suggest that the poisoning was carried out as an act of retribution by Skripal’s former colleagues according to the NY Times. But as the Times pointedly asked — “Retribution for what exactly?”

Skripal reportedly returned to Spain for several meetings in recent years with officers from its intelligence service CNI according to the Times. “He continued to come to Spain,” said Fernando Rueda the Spanish author. Former officials said that Mr. Skripal would have been especially useful in crackdowns on ROC.” We ignored the human phenomenon and organized crime. We didn’t know how they operated.” “Skripal, Litvinenko,” — “they gave a more accurate idea of the reality.”

Simple speculation and basic prurient curiosity compel us to want to know the answer to the obvious questions derived from the above narrative as to whether Skripal could fill in just whom Putin visited in Spain on any of his 37 secret trips, and what was discussed. Who doesn’t want to know whether Ukraine oligarch Firtash colluded with Paul Manafort? Or was involved in the Deutsche Bank mirror trades money laundering or the Global Laundromat? Did any monies from those nefarious activities end up with ROC in Spain? Did Putin know that the FBI had embedded an FBI agent with Grinda’s investigative team? Was he concerned that the FBI would be able to associate ROC activities with Putin’s puppet businessmen in St. Petersburg?

Lots of questions. Few answers. Best we deal with what we know. Grinda’s last indictment was a money-laundering indictment that centered on a Bulgarian financial services company — Optima Ca — that moved large amounts of money (media reports $1Bn)derived from ROC activities in Russia through the biggest Currency Exchange located in Tallinn, Estonia — AS Tavid. From there monies were moved either back to Russia or offshore.

Grinda has also unveiled evidence linking Iskander Makhmudov controlled companies moving vast sums through shell companies directed by the Bulgarian alleged money launderer Marin Marinov through Parex Banka and Swedbank branches in Estonia and Latvia.

The NY Times reported that Skripal had visited Estonian intelligence prior to the takedown and prior to being Novichoked. Is it possible that Skripal could shed light on Estonian financial institutional corruption that allowed for so much ROC money to move so easily through the largest Currency Exchange in Estonia? If Skripal could illuminate the financial activities of an Estonian Currency Exchange, what could he know about the 26 member staff of the Danske Bank(Sampo) branch in Tallinn?

It is likely that any financial institution connected with ROC money laundering has been penetrated by FSB agents who are facilitating the concealed movement of ROC associated monies. This assertion has been made with regard to Promsberbank, RZB, and Master Bank discussed above. Trasta Komercbanka has also seen its reputation besmirched. Are there any common threads or commonalities shared by the above?

How about Igor Putin, cousin to Vladimir Putin? His involvement in each of the above matters was delineated earlier in this narrative. While his association with Grigorievich the St. Petersburg businessman also associated with the above bank frauds is evident. How can we make a ROC connection with Igor?

Russian investigative journalist Anastasia Kirilenko, referenced above, will have to serve as our Skripal or expert witness here. Kirilenko delved through a bunch of Grinda’s wiretaps when exploring ROC money laundering through Monaco and Liechtenstein. She makes the following points:

  1. The de facto co-owners of the Petersburg Oil Terminal — Ilya Traber and Sergei Vasilyev, have attended Putin’s birthday parties and received a warm welcome there. No other crime bosses have been honored this way.
  2. Petrov(a central target of Grinda’s probe and the alleged leader of the Tambovskaya Brava) feared Vasilyev — from the wiretap — “the Vasilyev brothers are very powerful and have a lot of connections. We have to be careful around them because as soon as they take interest in a certain business there is no getting away from them.”

The Russian reform crusader Alexsei Navalny produced a video describing a secret Dacha built for Putin by Ilya Traber near the Finnish border close to Vyborg. The significance of this video clearly is the trust Putin places in Traber as a member of Putin’s inner circle.

For further insights into the luxurious life and lifestyle of Tambov boss Sergey Vasiliev(name is spelled in various ways) and Putin birthday party attendee, one only needs to survey an in-depth article on Vasiliev prepared by the SuperYachtFan publication, which provides numerous glossy pics of the St. Petersburg vor’s impressive assets. A short summary describes Vasiliev as the owner of the yacht Shtandart and depicts him as the majority shareholder in the company Petersburg Oil Terminal, one of the biggest terminals for oil handling in Russia. SuperYacht goes on to say that “Petersburg Oil is also the biggest stevedoring company of the St. Petersburg port. The company handles more than 12 million tons of oil per year. President Vladimir Putin awarded Petersburg Oil the city’s lucrative gasoline concession in 1994 when he was a Petersburg deputy mayor.”

The article further notes that in 2006, Organized Crime in St. Petersburg tried to murder Sergey Vasiliev. His bodyguard was killed. The murderer was sentenced to 23 years in prison. (Note further research tied Vladimir Kumarin — one of the founders of the Tambovskaya Brava, to the attempted hit).

SuperYacht estimated Vasiliev’s net worth at $200M. Vasiliev owns a palace near St. Petersburg(see pics) which is a copy of Catherine Palace, a summer residence built for Russian Tsars in 1717. The article goes on to describe the private jet and helicopter owned by Vasiliev in detail.

Parlomedia Corporation — BVI shell company

One staple found in almost all money laundering investigations relative to ROC and Russian oligarchs is the consistent use of offshore shell companies to conceal the true ownership of the ill-gotten gains flowing through them. This article draws the reader’s attention to a British Virgin Island(BVI) shell company incorporated in 2008 called Parlomedia Corporation. Parlomedia can be found in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists(ICIJ) database containing shell companies disclosed to the public via the Panama Papers.

The graphic chart contained within the insert reflects how Parlomedia Corporation connects Igor Putin and Sergei Vasilyev. Both Putin and Vasilyev are listed as shareholders of Parlomedia Corporation. We can be sure that this is the same Igor Putin from our narrative due to the fact that another connect contained in the chart is one Evgeniy Pinsky, who was employed at Master Bank, referenced earlier, with Igor Putin. Alexander Putin also appears on the ICIJ chart. He is reported to be an uncle to Igor. While we cannot be certain this is our Sergei Vasilyev, it certainly makes sense that Igor Putin would be associated with a Vor of the ROC Tambovskaya Bratva, as well as a nefarious bank fraud(Master Bank), most likely involving FSB.

Would it not be enlightening if Sergei Skripal could confirm our suspicion? What more could Skripal tell us with regard to Vasilyev and his control of St. Petersburg Terminal? Could Skripal unveil the characters involved in the Global Laundromat? How about the Deutsche Bank mirror trades? Did Vasilyev launder Tambov illicit proceeds through Danske Bank Estonia(DBE) for himself and/or blacklisted oligarchs?

Finally, since we have associated Igor Putin with Promsberbank and Grigoriev, is it possible that Igor Putin was aiding and abetting the money laundering of ROC proceeds through Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia that is alleged to have laundered $234Bn?

A recent report from WhoWhatWhy is informative on the Danske laundry wherein it quotes Estonia’s Finance Minister Martin Helme. “There are two sorts of money that come from Russia — One is stolen money that wants to escape Russia, the remainder has been used by Russia’s security services to finance their operation abroad.”

If Sergei Skripal had knowledge about any of the above issues and demonstrated a willingness to share that information with law enforcement authorities in Spain, powerful forces in Moscow and St. Petersburg would have motive to remove this threat to their treasured plunder. These forces have vividly, and repeatedly demonstrated in a most toxic way, their grasp of the means and opportunities to enforce their powerful will when threatened.

Should Sergei Skripal follow through with his alleged planned assistance to the Spanish Prosecutor’s office investigation of ROC, it is strongly believed that neither Sergei Vasilyev nor Igor Putin will be invited to any more of Vladimir Putin’s birthday parties.

Martin J Sheil

Retired Supervisory Special Agent IRS Criminal Investigation

Retired Special Agent IRS Criminal Investigation; Federal Contractor Deloitte & DOJ OCDETF; Letters of Commendation from Directors FBI Louis Freeh & Comey