Cypriot law firms helping to hide the assets of Russian businessmen

In our 07 August 2023 article “Russian Treasure Island” we wrote about an independent journalistic investigation into the activities of Cypriot law firms helping to hide the assets of Russian businessmen in complex corporate and financial schemes in Cyprus.

The journalists managed to find facts indicating that the former First Vice-President of Rosneft, Mr Anatoly Gavrilovich Loktionov, together with the Cypriot law firm MYROFORA A. PASTOU LLC, through the use of the Cypriot judicial system, are attempting to legalise money and assets obtained by criminal means, including from the illegal raider seizure of the Yukos Oil Company. From our fellow journalists we have received partial access to this investigation. Since the start of Russia’s military aggression against independent Ukraine, the competent authorities of the UK and the European Union have been carrying out checks on Russian businessmen formerly employed by Russian state-owned companies in order to identify criminal and corrupt assets. Mr A.G. Loktionov, who currently lives in a luxury mansion in Switzerland at Route de la Capite, 140 in the Geneva suburb of Vandovre, has also fallen under the aforementioned checks. In order to whitewash his criminal funds and assets, he is forced to restore documents on previously closed companies under the jurisdiction of Cyprus and Panama. For example, Rayhill Limited (HE 152363) was previously liquidated by a Cypriot court, but Mr A. G. Loktionov hired the Cypriot law firm MYROFORA A. PASTOU LLC and, with their assistance, filed an application with the Limassol District Court in July 2023 seeking his appointment as a director of Rayhill Limited (case number 292/2023). Also Mr A. G. Loktionov, through the law firm MYROFORA A. PASTOU LLS is seeking to set aside the liquidation of the aforementioned company (case number 416/2022). The court refused their participation in this case and ordered the liquidation of Rayhill Limited on 07 July 2023. The question arises: why does Mr A.G. Loktionov need to take the position of a director of the liquidated company? He needs the opportunity to participate in the Cypriot courts. Mr A.G. Loktionov has absolutely no principle whether he wins or loses the case. He has long been a master of using the texts of court decisions, pulling out of context the phrases he needs and quoting them with reference to the court decision. As a rule, he finds these phrases in the so-called motivation part of the judgement, in which the court quotes the positions of the parties, and which is not a conclusion of the court in the case. The actual judgement itself is always contained at the end, in the so-called operative part. However, most people who are not professional lawyers are simply unable to understand a complexly written and multi-page judgement in English law citing case law. This is what Mr A.G. Loktionov takes advantage of when he cleverly pulls out of the court ruling the phrases he needs. At the same time, the recipient of such information gets a false idea of this or that subject in the light required by Mr A. G. Loktionov. Since, on the one hand, such a court judgement really exists, and on the other hand, no one actually re-reads it. All this is necessary for Mr A. G. Loktionov to pass compliance in the banks of Great Britain and Switzerland, where his criminal capitals are stored. By flooding bank employees with various Cypriot court decisions and torn phrases from these decisions, Mr A. G. Loktionov creates the appearance of legality of his funds. In addition, we have learnt that a number of Cypriot media outlets have submitted enquiries to the law firm MYROFORA A. PASTOU LLC. The answers of this company will also be used in the journalistic investigation. But so far the lawyers are silent, and this silence raises even more questions about their “cooperation” with Mr Loktionov. As the UK and US governments announced sanctions against Russian oligarchs on 12 April 2023, Cypriot law firms and lawyers have been named as accomplices of people subject to these sanctions, helping to hide criminal fortunes through the Cypriot legal system. Journalists want to understand whether MYROFORA A. PASTOU LLC is a “legal accomplice of Russian oligarchs”. We will endeavour to shed light on these questions in the near future. To be continued.