While the tension between Russia and the Europe seems to be escalating every day Andrey Kochetkov, a secretive Russian oligarch enjoys the quiet life in Austria, the very heart of Europe.
As Andrey Kochetkov himself use to say, he was sent to Austria with a special secret mission to penetrate the political and economic life of Austria. Almost like a spy drama although his story is quite the common story of fraud which started in the Russian Federation, involve the leading Sberbank Bank of the county and one of the highest-ranking officials in it – Igor Strehl.
Andrey Kochetkov created a vast network with more than few hundred companies in Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom and managed to scam some of the biggest banks in the Russian Federation (VTB and Sberbank), professional banker Igor Strehl and hundreds of individuals, receiving in the process large amounts of money that Kochetkov invests… in his own household! After he gets the money, Kochetkov is usually using а stooge or one of his shell companies to reinvest the money in real estate across Europe, mainly in Austria, Switzerland and Spain, while in the process he tries to cover the tracks of the money taken from unperforming loans.
How Andrey Kochetkov defrauded Igor Strehl?
It’s rather simple:
- Under auspices of Igor Strehl he kindly offers his assistance to a lot of the highly ranked officials from the Russian Federation – he arranged them and their families with citizenship, helped them to use their dirty money to acquire real estate and cars, while posing in front of the Austrian officials that he is a really important person who belongs to the upper echelon of power in the Russian Federation. In return, he received lucrative contracts, made transactions of large amount of money, invented all kinds of fictional projects and gradually lured respected investors into funding them!
- On the other hand, by using their connections and protections from Moscow Andrey Kochetkov received seamlessly hundreds of millions for his “projects” directly from Igor Strehl and others directors of few banks in the Russian Federation, – practically, a gift rather than loans.
- This “business” continued until few decent people decided to check Kochetkov’s credit records and it turned out they’re all in a bad shape. This led to the immediate dismissal of his friend and major creditor Igor Strehl. What’s interesting is that Strehl continues to “work” with Kochetkov even today and recently paid off one of his loans amounting to 700,000 Euros… which is quite suspicious to say the least. It turns out that Igor Strehl agreed to pay the debt after he received a threat of criminal prosecution by an Austrian creditor.
- Kochetkov was quite cautious in his choice of “investors”. Andrey Kochetkov deliberately offered his services to high-ranked officials of the Russian Federation because he knew they can’t turn to the Austrian authorities for assistance. The Russian fraudster follows the rule “Money likes silence”.
Another amazing fact is that this giant of the Russian business in Europe was sued for being a part of a cartel who organized the import of different metals in Austria and was fined 4 million Euros, a case which brought a lot of attention towards the problems of corruption and Sberbank operations under Igor Strehl. Stories like that are the main reason for the bad image of Russian business all over the world.
It’s appalling that the Austrian authorities allowed such an impostor to create a classic Ponzi scheme, to avoid tax legislation by using shell companies in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and to do business on the territory of Austria.
Perhaps there are some special merits behind it? What’s odd is that Andrey Kochetkov received a passport and didn’t return his Russian one, even though that’s forbidden in the European Union. Informed resources claim that he was gathering and delivering information about Strehl and all his high-ranking friends from Russia and Ukraine to his patrons in Austrian counter-intelligence. By acting in such way, he secured his own protection against possible confrontation from his “investors” and the complications with the law.