Court to hear Global Gaming Expo vs. Bank24.ru

Sverdlovsk Region Arbitration Court is going to look into the claim laid by Global Gaming Expo (GGE) against Bank24.ru. The plaintiff insists on the defendant paying them 186,649,428.64 RUR. The court hearing was scheduled for September 9, 2009.

Now GGE was actually founded by Bank24.ru’s former BOD member Alexei Kalinichenko.

During the preliminary hearing on August 12, 2009, the bank’s representative declared the company did not accept GGE’s claims. The executive explained the bank had never written off any sums mentioned in the plaintiff’s application. All the transactions were carried out within the framework of the bank account agreement signed by Bank24.ru and Global Gaming Expo, the representative said.

Nevertheless, the defendant failed to provide any documented proof thereof, namely, the bank account agreement or the papers that could confirm the above-mentioned transactions.

The plaintiff’s representative did not show up at the preliminary meeting at all.

Alexei Kalinichenko’s business activity involved handling transactions on Forex foreign exchange market, with the ROI declared at 30% to 200% a year. The money needed for the trading process was borrowed from private investors through an ad hoc Saint-Petersburg-based United FX — Traders Group (UTG). UTG collected the private money through a number of daughter enterprises, including Global Gaming Expo.

Forex trading was done through the offshore Livingston Investment as well as through Bank24.ru. According to Kommersant, the bank got 6% of profits yielded by each transaction Kalinichenko carried out. The businessman later obtained a 20% shareholding in Bank24.ru and became one of the BOD members.

The company stopped paying money to its investors in August 2006. A letter written on Kalinichenko’s behalf stated that this was due to Bank24.ru managers and his business partners’ actions. These executives were accused of stealing Kalinichenko’s investors’ money. The bank, in its turn, declared the trader had set up a financial pyramid scheme and claimed all the money kept in the bank’s deposits was blown on Forex.

Alexei Kalinichenko, who is now hiding abroad, is to face a criminal lawsuit with accusations of large-scale fraud (Article 159 (part 4) of the Russian Federation Criminal Code). The Russian public prosecution authorities insisted on the court’s default judgment as to arresting the suspect. The man is also involved in over a dozen criminal suits with charges based on Article 174.1 (part 2) of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (large-scale money-laundering), which could result in up to eight years in prison.

The Russian law-enforcement agencies keep trying to get the Italian authorities to extradite Kalinichenko to his home country.

Meanwhile, Bank24.ru was acquired by Probusinessbank, Life Group’s head bank in October 2008. Life Group also comprises VUZ-Bank, another Yekaterinburg-based business.


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