QBF Financial Group Turned Out to Be a Criminal Organisation- Grandson of ex-head of the Russian Central Bank will be tried for embezzling billions by Oleg Rubnikovich
06 October 2023
The Prosecutor General's Office has approved the indictment and sent a criminal case to court against four members of an organized criminal group (OCG), which included, among others, the grandson of the former chairman of the Central Bank, Georgy Matyukhin, Stanislav Matyukhin. According to the investigation, the financial pyramid, operating under the sign of the investment company QBF, stole more than 2 billion rubles from hundreds of depositors who believed that their funds were invested in serious financial portfolios. Law enforcement authorities consider the organizer of the crime to be Roman Shpakov, the beneficiary of the QBF financial group, who managed to flee abroad and has been put on the international wanted list.
The Presnensky District Court of Moscow has received materials concerning the former CEO of QBF, Stanislav Matyukhin, the head of the company's branch network, Vladimir Pakhomov, the director of the St. Petersburg office of QBF LLC, Alexey Golubev, and the lawyer of this structure, Evgenia Rossieva. They are all accused of organizing and participating in a criminal community, as well as large-scale fraud (Parts 2 and 3, Article 210, and Part 4, Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Cases concerning the alleged crime organizer, QBF beneficiary Roman Shpakov, and the company's finance manager, a citizen of Cyprus, Linda Atanasiadou, who are both on the run, have been separated into a different procedures.
The investigation found that the OCG operated from 2012 to 2021. The company's head office occupied several floors in the "City of Capitals" complex (Presnenskaya Embankment, 8, building 1) "Moscow-City" and also had many branches in different regions of Russia.
According to the investigation, the company attracted citizens' funds under the guise of investing in serious financial portfolios in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, and Murmansk regions, as well as in Bashkiria and Tatarstan. However, instead, the money ended up in offshore accounts, from where they were subsequently transferred to the current accounts of other non-resident companies allegedly affiliated with the group members. The supposed organizers of the pyramid used these funds at their discretion, investing in the purchase of shares, real estate, expensive cars, and so on.
Meanwhile, almost everyone who trusted Roman Shpakov's team was confident that their money was working and generating profit, as managers sent them fabricated monthly and quarterly reports via email.
Investors started facing problems when trying to withdraw their money from QBF (whose license was revoked on July 8, 2021). From the case materials, it is clear that several hundred investors suffered losses totalling more than 2 billion rubles. However, from the documents seized during the searches, it seems that the depositors might have been robbed of about 5-7 billion rubles. This discrepancy in figures is explained by the fact that among QBF clients, there were many VIP persons, including clergymen, generals, ministers, and directors of various large state and commercial structures. However, none of those who allegedly gave the supposed fraudsters 200-300 million rubles, and one who supposedly invested 1 billion, due to the inability to prove the legality of the money's origin, did not want to publicize their losses and, accordingly, did not make it to the official list of victims.
After Mr. Shpakov fled abroad in January 2021, Stanislav Matyukhin, the CEO of QBF and the grandson of the former chairman of the Central Bank, Georgy Matyukhin, tried to "save the sinking ship," as he put it. However, during interrogations, he claimed that his involvement in QBF brought him nothing but problems. Nevertheless, operatives of the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Enforcement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who provided operational support for the investigation of this case, found out that the defendant Matyukhin acquired his apartment on Kutuzovsky Prospekt, 22 (a ten-minute walk from the company's office in "Moscow-City" on Presnenskaya Embankment) while being an employee of QBF.
It should also be noted that another defendant in this case, the founder of QBF LLC, who previously headed the Cypriot branch of the company, Zelimkhan Munaev, fully admitted his guilt. On September 21, 2023, he was sentenced to eight years in a general regime colony in a special procedure.
Zelimkhan Munayev was sentenced for fraud committed by an organised criminal group, on a particularly large scale.
21 September 2023
Presnensky District Court of the city of Moscow issued a guilty verdict in a criminal case against a 32-year-old resident of the capital, Zelimkhan Munayev. He was convicted under Part 2 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (participation in a criminal association (criminal organisation) and Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud committed by an organised group on a particularly large scale).
The indictment in the criminal case was approved by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation.
It was established that in the period from June 2012 to May 2021, Munayev, together with his accomplices, whose criminal case was separated into separate proceedings, was part of a criminal association organised on the basis of the KBB group of companies.
Munayev, together with other members of the criminal association, organised the signing of agreements with victims on behalf of affiliated foreign legal entities on direct access to the securities market. At the same time, the attackers misled citizens about the legality of activities related to securities transactions, as they did not have a mandatory license issued by the relevant authorised body.
Uninformed victims, believing that they invested their money for profit, concluded trust management contracts and deposited money in cash and non-cash methods.
Munayev, together with his accomplices, having the opportunity to dispose of the funds of the victims, used them not for the purposes specified in the contract but were kidnapped.
As a result of the criminal activities of Munayev and his accomplices, depositors' money in the amount of over 1 billion 238 million rubles were stolen.
The criminal case against the organiser of the criminal association has been separated into separate proceedings in connection with his being on the international wanted list.
Taking into account the position of the state prosecutor of the Presnenskaya inter-district prosecutors office, the court sentenced Munayev to 8 years of imprisonment in a general-regime correctional colony.
Articles bu Kommersant
Covering the QBF & NOA CIRCLE Scam
Kommersant is a nationally distributed daily newspaper published in Russia mostly devoted to politics and business.
"Investor's Nightmare: The Hunt for QBF Scheme Members" discusses the investigation into the QBF financial pyramid scheme and the individuals involved. The QBF scheme, which has led to substantial financial losses for investors, operated by offering investment opportunities that promised high returns.
The scheme utilized multiple companies, often with similar names to legitimate, regulated entities, to confuse investors. The article details the involvement of various individuals, including Roman Shpakov, who was initially presented as the head of QBF, and Apollon Athanasiades, who had a significant role in structuring the scheme. The investigation reveals that the scheme's organizers used aggressive tactics to silence investors who raised concerns or tried to withdraw their investments.
Law enforcement agencies in different countries have been investigating the QBF scheme, and several individuals have been arrested. The article mentions the challenges in tracing the flow of funds due to the complex structure of the scheme. Authorities are working to recover funds for the victims, and investigators are focusing on identifying the true beneficiaries of the scheme.
The article highlights the importance of thorough due diligence by investors and the need for better regulation to prevent such schemes from operating in the future. It also discusses the legal battles that have arisen in the wake of the scheme's collapse as investors seek to recover their losses and hold those responsible accountable.
Financial Pyramid Unveiled: QBF Accused of Large-Scale Fraud
Russian police have reportedly arrested top executives and a lawyer linked to a major financial pyramid scheme operating under the guise of the investment company QBF. The alleged scammers transferred funds to offshore accounts while providing clients with fake reports that their investments were being placed into substantial financial portfolios. Initial estimates suggest the scale of the fraud could be around 5 to 7 billion rubles. Authorities suspect that part of the stolen funds was potentially laundered through real estate projects.
The Moscow Tverskoy District Court ordered the detention of the 30-year-old co-founder of QBF, Zelimkhan Munaev, who previously headed the Cyprus branch of the company, and the 47-year-old lawyer of the structure, Yevgeniya Rossieva. Both are defendants in a criminal case of particularly large-scale fraud under Article 159.4 of the Russian Criminal Code.
According to reports, law enforcement agencies have been investigating QBF's unlawful activities for over a year. As part of the investigation, more than 30 searches were carried out in Moscow and St. Petersburg with the support of special forces. The investigation alleges that the company's management transferred funds to offshore accounts through a complex network of companies while clients were provided with falsified reports.
The authorities also found instructions for company managers on how to behave in case of visits from law enforcement agencies. The same address on the Presnenskaya embankment in Moscow is associated with several companies under the QBF abbreviation, all of which are featured in the investigation materials.
Parallel operations in St. Petersburg led to the arrest of Vladimir Pakhomov, the director of QBF's branch network. While charges of fraud have been brought against him, his arrest was not pursued by investigators.
The investigation revealed that the alleged scammers attracted funds from citizens under the guise of investing in financial portfolios, not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg but also across various regions and even internationally. The main focus was on well-off clients who had access to budgetary funds.
Clients believed they were investing in foreign jurisdictions for maximum profitability. A portion of the funds reportedly went through the process of legalization within Russia through real estate projects. The investigation points to Roman Shpakov, a founder of several QBF-affiliated companies, as a beneficiary of these operations.
QBF's criminal prosecution is linked to disputes involving former officials from Yekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk Region. The officials are alleged to have embezzled budgetary funds, which they claimed to have invested in one of the investment companies.
The QBF case follows the recent closure of another investment platform, "Shumakov and Partners," by the police. The co-founders of this platform, Georgiy Gats and Denis Shumakov, are currently under arrest for similar financial manipulations.
Ural Residents Received an Investment Bill QBF clients have reported problems with fund withdrawal
As "Ъ-Ural" learned, over a hundred Ural residents, including quite well-known businessmen, are trying to retrieve their investments from the investment company QBF, whose licenses have been revoked by the Central Bank. Specifically, they have joined a collective appeal to the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the FSB (the document is available to the editorial board) with a request to initiate a criminal case for fraud against the company's leader, Roman Shpakov. QBF is not commenting on the situation. The Central Bank noted that the company's clients were aware of the risks and the lack of guarantees on its part.
Ural clients of QBF have been unable to retrieve funds since May
Local clients told "Ъ-Ural" about problems with the return of funds entrusted to the investment company QBF. According to their estimates, over 500 investors from all over Russia have been unable to retrieve their money since May, of which about 100 are residents of the Urals.
The QBF Portfolio Management financial group has been operating since 2008. It includes three companies: IK "QBF", "QBF Asset Management", and "Q.Broker". The owner of the financial group is Roman Shpakov. At the end of 2020, the company served over 2,000 clients and had branches in six Russian cities. On July 8th, the Central Bank revoked its professional securities market participant licenses. Among the violations were non-compliance with the Central Bank's orders, breach of securities management requirements, and breach of risk management system requirements. The license activity ceases from January 20, 2022, and QBF is obligated to ensure the return of client assets by January 19.
According to one of the investors, Alena Tkachuk, QBF offered investors the purchase of options through its sister company, LLC "Q.Broker", justifying their actions by maximum convenience for clients, the reliability of the entire financial group, and a significant charter capital. "However, it turned out that the company did not purchase IPO shares related to the options with the funds attracted from investors. Part of the funds was invested in development projects of the group's beneficiary, and a significant portion of client funds was transferred abroad," said the investor.
One of the investors, a businessman from Yekaterinburg, Ilya Borzenkov, was unable to return assets transferred to QBF amounting to 974 million rubles, as reported by another QBF client, Igor Ptitsa. The Borzenkov family entrusted their savings to QBF's trust management between 2016 and 2018. After the entrepreneur failed to withdraw the deposit, his son Maxim Borzenkov turned to law enforcement agencies. Ilya Borzenkov told "Ъ-Ural" that "he has given enough interviews on this topic; let other investors share their sad story."
More than 250 QBF investors submitted a collective appeal to the heads of the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the FSB, asking for assistance in retrieving their deposits and initiating a criminal case against the company's leader, Roman Shpakov, under articles 159 (Fraud) and 210 (Organization of a Criminal Association) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. To coordinate their actions, clients created a chat in Telegram, which currently has 662 subscribers. QBF's press service declined to comment on the situation.
Previously, "Ъ" reported on the arrest of QBF employees Zelimkhan Munaev and Evgeniya Rossieva in Moscow, who were charged with fraud. The total damage from the actions of the alleged fraudsters is estimated at 5–7 billion rubles.
According to the investigation, the company provided its clients with false reports about investing their money, while the funds themselves were transferred to offshore accounts and invested in development projects in the Moscow region.
The Central Bank clarified that "transactions with over-the-counter derivative financial instruments on behalf of individual clients (mainly qualified investors) were concluded with a counterparty that does not have a Bank of Russia license to conduct professional securities market activity." "At the same time, clients were informed about the risks related to these contracts, as well as about the lack of guarantees from LLC IK "QBF" to fulfill these obligations," the regulator's press service explained.
Radik Akhmetshin, Director of the Ural branch of the National Association of Stock Market Participants (NAUFOR), believes that the company will still fulfill some of its obligations. He explains the closure of the Ural branch, which investors perceived as a sign of a financial pyramid, as the company's cost minimization. "There are certain problems, but some people get their money, and others get reassurances that everything will be fine. QBF has been deprived of all licenses, but they still operate in terms of returning money to clients. The situation is indeed complicated, but I'm not yet ready to say that no one will receive anything. I hope that the Central Bank will keep the issue of payments under control," emphasized Mr. Akhmetshin.
Economist Konstantin Selyanin believes that QBF initially misled investors about its type of activity. "Some companies, effectively engaged in investment activity, obtain a license for something else and conclude fictitious deals. A loan agreement is concluded, but in fact, people are offered to give their savings so that they are then invested somewhere, and this is already another activity. This is asset management activity, which requires a separate license," the expert explained. Konstantin Selyanin added that returning funds would be difficult: "Law enforcement agencies need to spend a lot of effort to find some assets, arrest, sell, and pay money to depositors. But in practice, a person receives almost nothing."
In total, the market value of the seized assets is around 1 billion rubles.
The businessman's lawyer declined to comment on both the absentia arrest of her client and the circumstances of the crime he is charged with.
As "Ъ" previously reported, a criminal case involving 33-year-old Roman Shpakov was initiated in April 2021. The first to be arrested in Moscow as part of the investigation were 30-year-old co-founder of QBF LLC, who previously headed the Cypriot office of the company, Zelimkhan Munaev, and 47-year-old lawyer of this structure, Evgeniya Rossieva, and in St. Petersburg - the director of the company's branch network, Vladimir Pakhomov. The first two were sent to pre-trial detention by the Tverskoy District Court at the request of the investigation, while it was decided to restrict the accused Pakhomov with a non-departure agreement. During a search at the QBF head office, occupying several floors in the "City of Capitals" complex in "Moscow City" (Presnenskaya embankment, 8, building 1), operatives from the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Corruption Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs seized documentation and electronic data carriers.
During the investigation, it was found that the company attracted citizens' funds for investment in financial portfolios not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg but also through a branch network in the Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Murmansk regions, as well as Bashkiria and Tatarstan. The main focus was on wealthy clients who had access to budget money. Pyramid participants believed that the latter would hardly turn to law enforcement agencies in the event of losing money due to the impossibility of proving the legality of their origin. Among QBF's clients were people who transferred 200-300 million rubles to the company, and one of the former Yekaterinburg officials even handed over 1 billion rubles to the alleged fraudsters for "trust management."
QBF managers lured clients with the opportunity to earn about 20% from investing. Some of them were indeed paid dividends, but only at the expense of subsequent depositors.
However, almost everyone who trusted Roman Shpakov's team was confident that their money was working and generating profit because managers sent them fictitious monthly and quarterly reports via email.
Problems arose for almost everyone who decided to withdraw invested funds from QBF. Clients were denied for various reasons, and when the arguments ran out, they simply stopped answering phone calls.
The investigation found that all investors' funds ended up in the accounts of QCCI LTD (Cyprus), Simtelligence (Hong Kong), and White Lake ltd (Cayman Islands) companies, from where they were subsequently transferred to the accounts of other non-resident companies affiliated with group members. The alleged organizers of the pyramid managed these funds at their discretion, investing in the purchase of expensive cars and real estate, shares, and more.
Moreover, a significant portion of the funds was actively legalized in Russia through development projects.
One of them, as established by the investigation, could be, for example, the construction of the "Gribovsky Forest" residential complex in the Odintsovo region of the Moscow region. The housing is being built by the "Simon Jesso" company, but on the internet, you can find information about another developer of this facility - "M1 Development". However, the founder of both was the same person - Roman Shpakov. In December 2020, when law enforcement agencies became interested in his activities, Mr. Shpakov transferred control of both firms to another person. According to "Ъ", the issue of initiating a criminal case against members of this group under Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Organization of a Criminal Community or Participation in It) is also being resolved.
Note also that QBF LLC ceased its activities on July 8, 2021, after the regulator revoked its license. On September 21, a temporary administration was appointed in QBF, and no later than January 19, 2022, the Central Bank required the company to settle with clients for debts.
2021-11-18 Kommersant - Pyramid Scheme Entranced by Prima - Anastasia Volochkova fell victim to fraudsters from QBF by Oleg Rubnikovich
Pyramid Scheme Entranced by Prima - Anastasia Volochkova Fell Victim to Fraudsters from QBF (Published by Kommersant on 18.11.2021):
In the ongoing criminal investigation concerning the QBF financial pyramid, famous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova emerges as a significant victim. She invested 3 million rubles in the company and has yet to receive 1.7 million rubles back.
Volochkova's Experience with QBF:
Last year, a representative from QBF named Timur contacted Volochkova, initially proposing she recommend QBF to her associates. Although she declined, she was later convinced to invest. Anastasia visited QBF's office in Moscow in July 2020 and transferred 2 million rubles at a 10% annual rate. Persuaded by Timur again, she later transferred another 1 million rubles for a three-month term. However, she grew suspicious upon receiving empty payment orders. In August 2021, QBF did not promptly return her 2 million rubles. Although she managed to recover part of her money (500,000 rubles), the company still owes her 1.7 million rubles.
After the law enforcement's searches in May 2021, QBF nearly halted its operations. The company's CEO, Stanislav Matyukhin, promised to repay Volochkova in installments. However, subsequent communication ceased, and Matyukhin redirected her queries to the QBF financial group's beneficiary, Roman Shpakov, who remains elusive.
Roman Shpakov's Escape:
Shpakov, believed to be the scheme's main orchestrator, managed to leave Russia as soon as he became aware of law enforcement's interest in his venture. Current speculations place him in the UAE. He was recently arrested in absentia by the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow.
Scope of Fraud:
Law enforcement suspects that the QBF pyramid scheme could have defrauded investors of around 5-7 billion rubles. To recoup some of the alleged losses, assets affiliated with group members, including luxury cars, real estate, and shares in several closed-end investment funds, were seized, amounting to roughly 1 billion rubles in market value.
Currently, 500 individuals are officially recognized as victims. However, the real number could be double. Notably, several VIPs, including clergy, generals, ministers, and directors, invested with QBF. But unlike Volochkova, many do not want to disclose their losses or accept the status of a victim.
Pyramid Scheme Entranced by Prima - Anastasia Volochkova fell victim to fraudsters from QBF
By Oleg Rubnikovich, 18.11.2021, 20:39
As "Ъ" has learned, in the high-profile criminal case against members of a major financial pyramid operating under the QBF brand, a star victim has emerged. The renowned ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has been recognized as such. The alleged fraudsters owe her 1.7 million rubles. To date, there are officially about 500 registered victims in the case. The investigation believes that under the guise of investing depositors' money into serious financial portfolios, they could have stolen around 5-7 billion rubles from them.
Not waiting for the return of the money, Anastasia Volochkova turned to the police
Anastasia Volochkova approached the Police Department of the Tverskoy District of Moscow last Wednesday. In her statement, she reported that she invested 3 million rubles in the company last year, and to date, they have not returned 1.7 million rubles to her.
Anastasia Volochkova explained her interaction with QBF representatives to "Ъ". According to the ballerina, in mid-June of last year, a certain Timur, calling himself a representative of QBF, called her mobile. When asked where he got her phone number, the young man replied that it was "in the database."
"He then said he knew about my connections and straightforwardly suggested that I recommend their company to my friends for investments," says Anastasia Volochkova. "Of course, I declined. Then they offered me to become an investor."
On July 31, 2020, Anastasia Volochkova visited the QBF office located in the "City of Capitals" complex in "Moscow City" (Presnenskaya Embankment, 8, building 1). There, she signed a contract for one year, and a few days later transferred 2 million rubles to the company's account at 10% per annum. Some time later, Timur convinced Mrs. Volochkova to transfer another 1 million rubles for a three-month term. "For the next three months, I received empty payment orders from QBF on my email, without any sums or signatures, which somewhat alarmed me," says Anastasia Volochkova.
In the end, unlike hundreds of other victims, the prima ballerina managed to get back not only her million but also the profit from the deposit - 150,000 rubles. But no one was in a hurry to return the 2 million rubles to Mrs. Volochkova in August 2021. After the searches conducted by the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Corruption Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in May of this year as part of the criminal case on particularly large-scale fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), QBF practically ceased its operations.
"Then I reached out to QBF's CEO Stanislav Matyukhin, who promised that the money would be returned to me in installments, and also asked me to use my connections to help them unblock the company's accounts in St. Petersburg and, I believe, also in Bashkiria. I didn't do that, but they still returned 500,000 rubles to me," Anastasia Volochkova concluded.
After that, QBF employees stopped contacting the client - Mr. Matyukhin simply advised further questions regarding the return of the remaining 1.7 million rubles to be addressed to the beneficiary of the QBF financial group, Roman Shpakov.
However, he was out of reach not only for Anastasia Volochkova but also for law enforcement agencies.
As "Ъ" previously reported, unlike the detained co-founder of QBF LLC, who previously headed the company's Cypriot office, Zelimkhan Munaev, the lawyer of this structure, Evgeniya Rossieva, and the director of the company's branch network, Vladimir Pakhomov, Mr. Shpakov managed to leave the country as soon as he learned of the interest of law enforcement agencies in his venture. He is currently believed to be in the United Arab Emirates.
A month ago, at the request of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow arrested Roman Shpakov in absentia, whom the investigation considers the organizer of the crime.
Law enforcement agencies believe that under the guise of investing depositors' money in serious financial portfolios, they could have stolen around 5-7 billion rubles from them.
To offset the alleged damage, the court also seized several luxury foreign cars, including several Mercedes and Porsche, real estate in Moscow and the Moscow region, including a shopping center in Zelenograd, as well as shares in several closed-end investment funds belonging to organizations affiliated with group members. In total, the market value of the seized assets is around 1 billion rubles.
To date, only about 500 people have been officially recognized as victims in this case. In reality, according to the investigation's estimates, there are at least twice as many.
According to "Ъ", among others, several dozens of VIP persons, including clergy, generals, ministers, and directors of various structures, gave their money to the alleged fraudsters. However, unlike Anastasia Volochkova, for various reasons, they
not only do not want to publicize their losses but also refuse the status of a victim.
01 Dec. 2021
Police Followed the Branch Network Top managers of QBF detained on suspicion of fraud
By Oleg Rubnikovich, 01.12.2021, 15:27
As "Ъ" has learned, in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the police detained two more former top managers of a major financial pyramid operating under the QBF brand. On Thursday, the court is set to consider the investigative department's petitions for the arrest of the company's branch network director, Vladimir Pakhomov, and the head of the Saint Petersburg office, Alexey Golubev. The number of victims and damages in this case is growing almost daily. QBF's beneficiary, Roman Shpakov, who is hiding abroad, is allegedly calling VIP clients, promising to return their money in exchange for not contacting law enforcement agencies.
Within the investigation of the high-profile criminal case regarding particularly large-scale fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Russian Criminal Code) involving QBF financial group depositors' funds, new arrests have taken place. In Saint Petersburg, on Nevsky Prospekt, an investigative team from Moscow detained the head of the local group office, 31-year-old Alexey Golubev. At the same time, in Moscow, in his apartment on Rublyovskoye Highway, officers from the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Corruption Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Western District Police arrested 33-year-old Vladimir Pakhomov, who was responsible for the entire QBF branch network. It's worth noting that the latter has been under a non-departure order since last spring when the criminal case was initiated. Back then, alongside him, 30-year-old co-founder of QBF LLC, who previously headed the company's Cypriot office, Zelimkhan Munaev, and the company's lawyer, Evgeniya Rossieva, became defendants. The latter two have been in pre-trial detention for eight months.
During the searches, documents and electronic data carriers related to QBF's activities were confiscated from both Golubev and Pakhomov. Both suspects were interrogated in the investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs until late evening.
According to "Ъ", Alexey Golubev responded with rehearsed templates specifically written for QBF management. Such notes were found on every desk during searches last spring in the "City of Capitals" complex in "Moscow City," where the company leased several floors.
Vladimir Pakhomov, according to "Ъ," basically reiterated to the investigator his previous statements about his responsibilities as the head of the branch network in the Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, and Murmansk regions, as well as in Bashkiria and Tatarstan. On Thursday, the investigation plans to appeal to the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow with a petition for the arrest of both suspects.
As "Ъ" previously reported, QBF managers lured clients with the opportunity to earn about 20% from investing. Some clients were indeed paid dividends, but solely from the funds of subsequent depositors.
Almost everyone who trusted this financial pyramid was convinced that their money was working and generating profit, as the managers sent them fictitious monthly and quarterly reports via email.
However, investors faced problems when they decided to withdraw their funds from QBF. Clients were denied for various reasons, and when the excuses ran out, they simply stopped answering phone calls.
The organizer of this massive scam, during which around 5-7 billion rubles could have been stolen from investors under the guise of serious financial portfolio investments, is considered by the investigation to be QBF founder Roman Shpakov, who is currently on the international wanted list. Before the criminal case was initiated, he managed to leave for the UAE. Allegedly, from there, after the publication in "Ъ" about the famous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova being recognized as a victim (QBF owes her 1.7 million rubles), Mr. Shpakov began to call other deceived VIP clients, who are not yet rushing to contact the police. In exchange for not turning to law enforcement agencies, the businessman allegedly promises to return their invested funds. However, this seems more like a PR stunt. At least that's the opinion of the average victims.
They believe that Roman Shpakov might indeed return the money to well-known clients in hopes that they will share this information with their friends and acquaintances.
Those, in turn, might invest in his new projects, as the management that remains free continues to collect money, but now in organizations under different names.
Moreover, even after July 8, 2021, when the Central Bank revoked QBF's license, there were still calls to clients a week ago with offers to profitably invest their funds.
London Hides a Guest from the "City of Capitals" - QBF Group's beneficiary, Roman Shpakov, is being sought worldwide.
By Oleg Rubnikovich, 19.01.2022, 00:43
As "Ъ" has learned, the name of the QBF financial group's beneficiary, Roman Shpakov, has appeared in Interpol's international database of wanted persons. Investigators believe he is the mastermind behind a pyramid scheme that, under the guise of investing depositors' money into serious financial portfolios, could have stolen about 5-7 billion rubles from them. Before the criminal case was initiated, Mr. Shpakov had moved to the United Arab Emirates, and since last October, he has allegedly settled in London.
Roman Shpakov becomes an international fugitive
33-year-old Roman Shpakov, the beneficiary of the investment company QBF, became a defendant in a criminal case regarding large-scale fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Russian Criminal Code) at the end of May 2021. At that time, as part of a large-scale special operation involving the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Corruption Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Moscow Federal Security Service, and special forces, over 30 searches were conducted in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, including at QBF's main office, which occupied several floors in the "City of Capitals" complex in "Moscow City" (Presnenskaya Embankment, 8, Building 1).
The first to be detained by operatives were 30-year-old co-founder of QBF LLC, who previously headed the company's Cypriot branch, Zelimkhan Munaev, and 47-year-old lawyer of this structure, Evgeniya Rossieva. Both were sent to pre-trial detention by the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow upon the request of the investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Another defendant, the company's branch network director Vladimir Pakhomov, was placed under house arrest. By that time, Roman Shpakov was already abroad, having relocated as soon as he learned of law enforcement's interest in his project.
On September 27th last year, the same Tverskoy District Court sanctioned the in-absentia arrest of the alleged organizer of the multi-billion scam. Recently, Roman Shpakov's name appeared in Interpol's international wanted persons database. It's worth noting that until recently, the founder of QBF, according to "Ъ", lived in the UAE. However, shortly after the in-absentia arrest, he moved to London, where he allegedly owns property.
It seems that the businessman is hoping that, unlike the Emirates, if he is arrested in the UK, the country initiating the search won't extradite him.
As "Ъ" has previously reported, during the investigation, it was established that citizens' funds were attracted by the company under the guise of investing in serious financial portfolios in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Murmansk regions, as well as Bashkiria and Tatarstan.
QBF managers lured clients with the opportunity to earn around 20% from investments. To maintain the company's reputation, some clients were indeed paid dividends, but exclusively from the funds of subsequent depositors. Almost all those who trusted Roman Shpakov's team were convinced that their money was working and generating profit, as the managers sent them fictitious monthly and quarterly reports via email.
Investors' problems began when they tried to withdraw their money from QBF. Clients were denied under various pretexts, and when the arguments ran out, they simply stopped answering phone calls.
Investigators found that all investors' funds ended up in the accounts of companies QCCI LTD (Cyprus), Simtelligence (Hong Kong), and White Lake ltd (Cayman Islands), from where they were later transferred to other non-resident companies affiliated with the group members. The alleged organizers of the pyramid scheme used these funds at their discretion, investing in the purchase of expensive cars, real estate, stocks, etc.
In total, investigators believe that the pyramid's organizers could have stolen around 5-7 billion rubles.
Such a range of figures might be due to the fact that among QBF's clients, there were many VIPs, including clergy, generals, ministers, and directors of various large state and commercial structures. Some gave the alleged fraudsters 200-300 million rubles, while others gave up to 1 billion rubles. However, for various reasons, they not only don't want to publicize their losses but also refuse the status of victims.
So far, the only celebrity known to have been affected in this case is the famous ballerina Anastasia Volochkova. Of the 3 million rubles she invested in QBF, the company still owes her 1.7 million rubles.
Note that QBF LLC ceased its operations on July 8, 2021, after its license was revoked by the regulator. By that time, some clients tried to get their money back through civil litigation. However, as practice shows, this proved to be quite problematic. For example, the CEO of a large online store specializing in the sale of IT and network equipment failed to win his case.
In March 2021, even before the criminal case was initiated, the businessman tried to claim over $550,000 from the defendants, including Roman Shpakov, in the Presnensky District Court of the capital. "During the case review, no evidence was found of the plaintiff transferring funds to any of the defendants," the court decision states. Yesterday, this decision was upheld by the appellate instance.
"OPS Emerges in Moscow City" "QBF Top Managers Accused of Severe Crimes" by Oleg Rubnikovich, May 13, 2022.
The investigation into a major financial pyramid operated under the guise of the investment company QBF has revealed that six individuals involved have been identified as members of an organized criminal group (OCG). Instead of investing the funds they received from clients into serious financial portfolios as promised, the suspected fraudsters transferred the money to offshore accounts. The damage inflicted on investors has reached over 2 billion rubles, and considering high-profile clients who have not yet declared themselves as victims, the total amount embezzled could rise to 5-7 billion rubles.
The investigation into the activities of the large investment company QBF has been ongoing for more than a year. Law enforcement has concluded that, in addition to charges of major fraud, the participants exhibited features of an OCG. Six individuals, including Roman Shpakov, who is presumed to be in London, are facing accusations, and the alleged mastermind has been internationally sought. Lindu Athanasiadou from Cyprus believed to be responsible for QBF's finances, is also expected to face similar charges soon.
Three of the accused have been detained, while charges have been filed against two others in absentia. QBF clients, who believed their funds were generating profits, were provided fabricated monthly and quarterly reports. However, issues arose when clients attempted to withdraw their funds; they were denied access, and communication ceased.
While QBF did pay dividends to some depositors to maintain its reputation, these payments were made using funds from new clients. Investigations have uncovered that the losses inflicted on clients of LLC QBF, which had its license revoked in July 2021, exceed 2 billion rubles, but documents seized during searches suggest the actual figure could be significantly higher, reaching 5-7 billion rubles. The divergence in these numbers can be attributed to high-profile clients, including officials and directors, who have yet to acknowledge their losses publicly. The pyramid scheme targeted affluent clients who possessed access to budgetary funds, and it is believed that fear of proving the legality of their funds' origin has deterred many victims from approaching law enforcement agencies.