2023-10-06 Kommersant - 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 Copy Copy
6 October 2023
QBF Financial Group Turned Out to Be a Criminal Organisation (Published by Kommersant on 06.10.2023):
On October 6, 2023, the Prosecutor General's Office has moved a criminal case to court against members of an organised crime group linked to the QBF financial pyramid, which allegedly defrauded over 2 billion rubles from investors. The accused includes Stanislav Matyukhin, the grandson of a former Russian Central Bank head. The mastermind, Roman Shpakov, beneficiary of the QBF financial group, has fled the country and is on the international wanted list. Linda Athanasiadou, the company's finance manager from Cyprus, is also a primary suspect and remains at large.
QBF Financial Group Turned Out to Be a Criminal Organisation (Published on 06.10.2023):
Indictment and Court Proceedings:
The Prosecutor General's Office has forwarded a criminal case to the Presnensky District Court of Moscow against four primary members of the QBF investment company, including the ex-CEO Stanislav Matyukhin, the grandson of the former chairman of the Central Bank, Georgy Matyukhin. The group is accused of being part of an organized criminal group (OCG) that ran a financial pyramid, deceiving investors by misdirecting over 2 billion rubles.
The OCG operated from 2012 to 2021, with headquarters in Moscow's "City of Capitals" complex and branches across various Russian regions.
QBF attracted funds from citizens promising to invest in significant financial portfolios. However, these funds were channeled to offshore accounts and subsequently transferred to other non-resident company accounts affiliated with the OCG members. The group used these funds for personal benefits, including purchasing shares, real estate, and luxury cars.
Victims and Discrepancies:
Although official records indicate losses amounting to more than 2 billion rubles, documents seized suggest that actual losses might range between 5 to 7 billion rubles. The discrepancy arises because many high-profile clients, including clergymen, generals, ministers, and directors of large state and commercial entities, did not publicize their losses due to potential legal implications regarding the origin of their funds.
Attempts to Salvage the Company:
After the primary beneficiary, Roman Shpakov, fled abroad in 2021, Stanislav Matyukhin tried to salvage the situation. However, he has maintained that his association with QBF brought him only problems. Notably, it was revealed during the investigation that Matyukhin acquired a luxury apartment near the company's office during his tenure at QBF.
Verdict for Other Members:
Zelimkhan Munaev, the founder of QBF LLC who previously headed the company's Cypriot branch, admitted his guilt and was sentenced to eight years in a general regime colony in September 2023.
On the Run:
The mastermind behind the alleged criminal activities of QBF, Roman Shpakov, along with the company's finance manager, Linda Atanasiadou of Cyprus, managed to evade arrest. They have both fled abroad and are currently on the international wanted list. Their cases have been separated for further judicial procedures, and authorities are making efforts to track them down and hold them accountable for their actions.
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
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 (Part 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 procedure.
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, 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 totaling 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, 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.