Investigators head to Harrods for information on Russian billionaire fugitive

Investigators hunting for the assets of a Russian billionaire fugitive wanted over the collapse of one of Moscow’s largest banks have offered a bounty for information.

Recovery experts A1 pitched up outside Harrods and the £45 million home in Belgrave Square said to be owned by Georgy Bedzhamov.

He is wanted in Russia over the collapse of Vneshprombank in 2016 and has a £1.34 billion freezing order against his assets.

Georgy Bedzhamov wanted
Investigators targeted Harrods shoppers in Knightsbridge for information (David Parry/PA)

Andrei Elinson, managing partner of A1, explained the decision to launch the appeal.

He said: “After a successful campaign conducted in Moscow’s international airports earlier this year, A1 is expanding this approach, to target regions abroad where alleged fraudsters and their accomplices reside.

“London is no longer a safe haven for individuals seeking to hide stolen assets.”

Mr Bedzhamov is alleged to have used money siphoned from Vneshprombank, which collapsed with a £2.5 billion black hole. He denies any wrongdoing.

He initially fled to Monaco but was spared extradition following an intervention by the principality’s Prince Albert.

Georgy Bedzhamov wanted
Georgy Bedzhamov is said to own the empty £45m townhouse in Belgrave Square (David Parry/PA)

Mr Bedzhamov’s sister, Larisa Markus, was the bank’s chief executive and was jailed for nine years in Russia over loans to 286 shell companies which were never returned.

Creditors who lost money are now hoping to recover some of the assets, if they can be found, but due to secrecy laws in off-shore tax havens, linking an individual to a shell company can be extremely difficult.

The value of the bounty would depend on the information provided, according to reports.

Mr Bedzhamov, who had homes in France, Israel and the UK, recently challenged an order which capped his monthly spending at £80,000.

He successfully managed to increase this to £161,000, claiming it was not enough to cover rent, medical expenses, school fees and security teams in London and Monaco.

The businessman also used the Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal in Salisbury to argue he could face a similar attack, revealing the police “expressed concerns about his security in April 2019”.

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