A court in Cyprus has issued a $16.8 million worldwide freezing order against convicted fraudster Valentin Vinogradov.
The District Court of Nicosia issued the freezing order on November 1st as part of legal efforts by Vinogradov’s victims to recover their stolen money.
The injunction against Vinogradov is thought to be the first case in which the Cypriot courts have issued a freezing order in support of a Russian conviction.
Freezing orders are injunctions issued by courts to prevent criminals from hiding their assets and are typically issued when victims of a crime are seeking restitution.
The Nicosia court ruled that Vinogradov and companies associated with him are banned from transferring, selling, or disposing of assets worth up to $16.8 million.
According to the court: “Neglect to obey IMMEDIATELY following service of this order to you, you who are by law responsible will be subject to arrest and your property to attachment.”
Vinogradov was granted the right to appeal but his petition was rejected at a hearing on November 26th.
Vinogradov was found guilty of fraud by the District Court of Moscow in December 2020 and the businessman was sentenced to four years in jail. His Russian assets have also been seized, including an Aston Martin, a Porsche Panamera, and several properties.
Vinogradov fled Russia in 2017 and lived as a fugitive in Cyprus, Germany, and eventually Slovakia. The Russian government issued an international arrest warrant and sought the fraudster’s extradition from Slovakia in 2018. The extradition request was turned down by the Slovakian government after Vinogradov claimed political asylum. It is unusual for EU member states to turn down extradition requests in purely commercial fraud cases.
According to the case brought against Vinogradov, the businessman was general manager of Midland Developments when he identified a shopping mall in Moscow for acquisition. The mall was to be purchased by Midland’s Cyprus subsidiary Daybela Development Ltd, which is registered in Larnaca.
The Moscow court found that Vinogradov had falsified documents to convince his bosses at Midland that the mall was worth $89 million and was being sold by a company called Rosinternet Consulting in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). In reality, Vinogradov was the owner of Rosinternet Consulting and he was found to have stolen at least $15 million by inflating the value of the transaction.
Since fleeing to Slovakia, Vinogradov has attempted to rebuild his business career by becoming the owner of a Bratislava-based manufacturing company. Vinogradov is described as a “partner” in a company called Itterra while Victoria Valentinova Vinogradova, who is believed to be the fraudster’s daughter, is chairwoman. Other family members also hold seats on the board of directors, including Vinogradov’s wife, Elena, and Alexandra Vinogradova, who is thought to be another daughter.
Itterra makes recyclable paper products such as plates, cups, and other food containers and distributes its products throughout Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and other European countries, including Cyprus and Greece.