2021-10-07 Kommerstant - Roman Shpakov Left, Leaving Assets Behind In the QBF fraud case, a shopping center was arrested By Oleg Rubnikovic
7 October 2021
Roman Shpakov Left, Leaving Assets Behind (Published by Kommersant on 07.10.2021):
Roman Shpakov, the beneficiary of the QBF financial group, who has been declared internationally wanted, is believed to be hiding in the UAE. He is suspected of organising a pyramid scheme that stole approximately 5-7 billion rubles from investors. Assets linked to Shpakov, including luxury cars, real estate, and shares in investment funds, worth around 1 billion rubles, have been seized.
Roman Shpakov Left, Leaving Assets Behind In the QBF Fraud Case (Published by Kommersant on 07.10.2021):
Roman Shpakov, the beneficiary of the QBF financial group, is declared internationally wanted by Interpol. He is suspected of masterminding a pyramid scheme that defrauded investors of approximately 5-7 billion rubles.
Hiding in the UAE:
Shpakov, believed to be hiding in the United Arab Emirates, has been charged with particularly large-scale fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). His name is expected to appear in Interpol's international wanted database soon.
Seizure of Assets:
The court ordered the seizure of multiple assets affiliated with Shpakov. These include several luxury cars (Mercedes and Porsche models), real estate properties in Moscow and its surrounding region, a shopping center in Zelenograd, and shares in closed-end investment funds. The total market value of these assets is estimated at 1 billion rubles.
Details of the Fraud:
The QBF financial group, under the guise of investing in financial portfolios, allegedly defrauded investors in multiple regions, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Murmansk, Bashkiria, and Tatarstan. The scheme primarily targeted wealthy clients, particularly those with access to budget funds. The company promised substantial returns on investments, luring clients with potential earnings of around 20%. Although some investors received dividends, these payouts were financed by new depositors. Most investors faced difficulties when trying to withdraw their funds, with QBF eventually ceasing communication.
Flow of Funds:
Investigators discovered that all the funds from investors were channeled into accounts of companies like QCCI LTD (Cyprus), Simtelligence (Hong Kong), and White Lake ltd (Cayman Islands) (opperated by NOA Circle and Apollon Athanasiades) The money was subsequently redirected to accounts of other non-resident companies affiliated with group members. These funds were utilized to buy luxury assets and real estate and were invested in various projects, including the construction of residential complexes.
QBF's Current Status:
QBF LLC terminated its operations on July 8, 2021, after its license was revoked. A temporary administration was set up on September 21, and the Central Bank mandated QBF to settle its debts with clients by January 19, 2022.
Roman Shpakov Left, Leaving Assets Behind In the QBF fraud case, a shopping center was arrested
By Oleg Rubnikovich, 07.10.2021, 00:20
As "Ъ" has learned, Roman Shpakov, the beneficiary of the QBF financial group who was arrested in absentia, has been declared internationally wanted. Investigators consider him the organizer of a pyramid scheme that, under the guise of investing depositors' money into serious financial portfolios, may have stolen approximately 5-7 billion rubles from them. Unlike his arrested accomplices, Mr. Shpakov managed to leave the country as soon as he learned of the interest of law enforcement agencies in his venture.
Interpol will be looking for Roman Shpakov
At the request of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow arrested in absentia the alleged organizer of a major financial pyramid, Roman Shpakov. Allegedly hiding in the United Arab Emirates, the founder of the QBF investment company is charged with particularly large-scale fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). He has been declared internationally wanted, and soon his name should appear in Interpol's wanted database.
In addition, by court decision, a number of expensive foreign cars, including several Mercedes and Porsche models, real estate in Moscow and the Moscow region, including a shopping center in Zelenograd, and shares in several closed-end investment funds belonging to organizations affiliated with group members, were seized.
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.