VIM Airlines co-owner arrested in absentia in fraud case – court
MOSCOW, November 27 (RAPSI) – The Moscow Basmanny District Court has arrested co-owner of VIM Airlines company Svetlana Mursekayeva in absentia in a case over credit fraud, the court’s press service informs RAPSI on Friday.
The court ruled that Mursekayeva is to be placed in pretrial detention. As the defendant has been put on the international wanted list, the detention term is to make two months since the date she is apprehended within the territory of the Russian Federation, or since the date she is extradited to the national territory from abroad, the statement reads.
Mursekayeva stays charged with large scale credit fraud.
Late in 2017, the Moscow Basmanny District Court arrested in absentia yet another co-owner of VIM Airlines, Rashid Mursekayev (husband of Svetlana Mursekayeva) on abuse of office charges.
Other defendants in this criminal case are VIM Airlines ex-first deputy CEO and chief financial officer Alevtina Kalashnikova, former CEO Alexander Kochnev and chief accountant Yekaterina Panteleyeva; two latter figures were put under house arrest by a court decision. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, Kalashnikova and Mursekayev fled Russia and are on the international wanted list.
Investigators allege that in 2015 through 2017 the defendants in abuse of their offices purchased aircraft fuel from companies controlled by Mursekayev at an inflated price.
According to investigators, VIM Airlines headed by Mursekayev was in fact a Ponzi scheme as the company top managers thoroughly concealed losses entering knowingly false profit figures in the accounting reports. The false data were used to get bank loans and mislead the air transport regulator, the Federal Air Transport Agency. Well aware of the distressful situation their company was in, the spouses got over 162 million rubles (about $2 million at the current exchange rate) as salaries and dividends. By September 2017 the company losses made 2.5 billion rubles (about $33 million).
The Investigative Committee says that according to the data available to it, the damages suffered by VIM Airlines partner companies as a result of the defendants’ actions made over 782 million rubles ($10.3 million); currently, four companies are on the list of victims in the case.