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2021-05-31 Forbes- inancial Pyramid Disguised as Investment Company Uncovered by Police by Aleksandr Pyatin | Forbes | Date: 31 May 2021

2021-05-31 Forbes- inancial Pyramid Disguised as Investment Company Uncovered by Police by Aleksandr Pyatin | Forbes | Date: 31 May 2021


31 May 2021

Moscow police have unveiled a large-scale financial pyramid masquerading as the investment company QBF. Investigations have led to the arrest of QBF's co-founder and company lawyer, with damages estimated at 2 billion rubles. The company allegedly funneled investors' money to offshore accounts, with the total debt to depositors estimated between 5 and 7 billion rubles.

The investment company QBF has been exposed by Moscow police as a significant financial pyramid scheme. As detailed by "Kommersant", the Interior Ministry initiated a criminal case for large-scale fraud in April. Over 30 searches have been conducted across Moscow and St. Petersburg, leading to the arrest of QBF's co-founder, Zelimkhan Munaev, and the company's lawyer, Evgenia Rossieva. The scheme involved attracting depositors with promises of 20% returns under a "trust management" service. However, these funds were allegedly sent to offshore accounts, with investors receiving fake investment reports in return. Wealthy clients were particularly targeted, and some investors deposited amounts as large as 1 billion rubles. The funds were possibly laundered through real estate ventures, such as the "Gribovsky Forest" residential project. The company's total indebtedness is estimated to be between 5 and 7 billion rubles. QBF's press secretary, Nikolai Stepanov, claims the legal actions stem from disputes with former officials from Yekaterinbu rg and the Sverdlovsk region.

Financial Pyramid Disguised as Investment Company Uncovered by Police

Author: Aleksandr Pyatin | Date: 31 May 2021

Moscow police have exposed a significant financial pyramid operating under the guise of the investment company QBF, as reported by "Kommersant".

The Interior Ministry's investigative department initiated a criminal case on large-scale fraud in April, the newspaper notes. Last week, law enforcement officers conducted more than 30 searches in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including at QBF's head office in "Moscow-City". QBF's co-founder Zelimkhan Munaev and the company's lawyer, Evgenia Rossieva, were detained and subsequently arrested, "Kommersant" reports.

According to the investigation, the alleged fraudsters primarily attracted depositors through word of mouth, offering them a "trust management" service and promising approximately 20% returns. The acquired funds were allegedly transferred to offshore accounts, while clients received fictitious reports on their investments. The primary focus was on affluent clients, some of whom reportedly had access to budgetary funds. Some QBF managers allegedly speculated that these individuals would not turn to the police in case of money loss since they couldn't prove the legality of the funds acquired.

Investors faced issues when they wanted to withdraw their money. Currently, several dozen victims have been identified, including citizens of Ukraine and companies from Liechtenstein. The damage is estimated at about 2 billion rubles by the investigation. The company's total debt to depositors is preliminarily estimated between 5 and 7 billion rubles. Some victims transferred between 200-300 million rubles to the alleged fraudsters, with one even entrusting them with 1 billion rubles.

Part of the attracted funds might have been legalized through real estate development projects. One such project, investigators believe, could be the construction of the "Gribovsky Forest" residential complex in the Odintsovo district of the Moscow region.

QBF told "Kommersant" that the criminal prosecution is related to disputes involving certain former officials from Yekaterinburg and the Sverdlovsk region. The former are allegedly accused of embezzling budget funds, and they reported investing them in one of the investment companies. QBF is under pressure to recover an amount of money the company claims never to have possessed, says the company's press secretary Nikolai Stepanov.

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