2021-11-18 Kommersant - Pyramid Scheme Entranced by Prima - Anastasia Volochkova fell victim to fraudsters from QBF by Oleg Rubnikovich
18 November 2021
Pyramid Scheme Entranced by Prima (Published by Kommersant on 18.11.2021):
Renowned ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has been identified as a victim in the criminal case against the QBF financial pyramid. The company owes her 1.7 million rubles. The total number of officially registered victims is around 500, and the suspected stolen amount is between 5-7 billion rubles.
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.