In the criminal world, there is a notion of "confidence thief" – it’s a person who, first, ingratiates himself with an unworldly man and then bereave him of his property. This notion can be modified and made more modern – “thief on trust”, or, in particular, “top manager of Yukos on trust”. The love of the swindler Mikhail Khodorkovsky for trusts and various methods to camouflage his assets has been long familiar. Even from the time of Yukos, the shares of this oil company had been divided between Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky and his partners through a very complicated system of trusts. From materials of criminal cases and data exposed before a listing on the stock exchange was known that the company Yukos, before the criminal case was opened, had been in possession of several trusts and offshores.
(See Russian version at: «Британская роскошь Ходорковского»)
So, the nominal stockholder of “Group Menatep” were trust companies registered on The British Virgin Islands: Pavo Nominees – 9.49% (equal to Khodorkovsky’s package), Pictor Nominees – 8.23% (Nevzlin’s package), Auriga Nominees – 6.96% (Platon Lebedev), Draco Nominees – 6.96% (Vladimir Dubov), Tucana Nominees – 6.96 (Mikhail Brudno) and Mensa Nominees – 6.96% (Vassily Shakhnovsky). And also Carina Nominees – 4.43% (equally distributed between Sergei Muravlenko, Yuri Golubev, Viktor Ivanenko, Viktor Kazakov, and Alexey Golubovich). The rest 50% of the shares of "Group Menatep” was managed by Palmus Trust Company.
If a rich man wants to buy himself a house or a firm, but, for some reason, does not want to register his property in his name, he reaches out to special companies or trusts that are entrusted to possess and manage real estate objects or a company on his behalf. A deed of trust is concluded between them – the sole thread connecting a house or a firm with a specific person. There are many variants of deeds of trust, but the main principle is – the property rights are attached not to the rich man himself. He only becomes a beneficiary, and all actions with a property are performed in his interests.
That is why it’s easy to imagine that Khodorkovsky contacted a Bermuda trust in order to entrust it with buying and managing his mansion in Great Britain.
SHOVED IN VARIOUS BERMUDA-LIKE PLACES
The website Prigovor.ru/Verdict has found out that, at present, Mikhail Khodorkovsky owes a country estate worth 4,675,000 British pounds in the county of West Sussex near a little town Wadhurst, 60 kilometers away from London. The ownership is administered through the Bermuda Meritus Trust, or, as a variant, Khodorkovsky rents this premises from this trust, thus hiding his property.
This estate was bought for 4,675,000 British pounds in April 2015 by the company Hera Investment Holdings Limited (The British Virgin Islands) acting in the interests of Meritus Trust Company (Bermuda).
There is the full address of the estate: Best Beech Place, Tidebrook Road, Wadhurst, index TN5 6LH, United Kingdom. The positioning of the house on the map:
The type of property of the estate: full (freehold land), buildings with the ground are fully in possession of the owner, the term of possession is not limited and the owner carries full responsibility for upkeep and repair of the real estate.
The living place of the main house is 8170 square feet or 759 square meters (because of the peculiarities of cadastral registration, it has been not possible to know the whole flooe space of the house including terrace, greenhouse and swimming pool adjoining one of the walls). The ground is about 3.69 hectares.
The plan of the real estate “Best Beech Place”
“Splendid gardens, covered and open pools… additional household outbuildings”, is pointed out in the promotional brochure. The house takes up the upland on the south slope of the hill Best Beech, from where open a vista with a long perspective.
In the mansion, there are 11 bedrooms, 6 drawing rooms, and 5 bathrooms. Several studies. Garage. Movie theater. Covered sunny porch. Tennis court. On the west border of the estate there is a technical building (such an architectural form is often used for stables).
This three-storied mansion was built more than 100 years ago. William Baldwin, a wealthy farmer, had been constructed it for 29 years in the period from 1900 to 1929. This real estate is an example of restrained British luxury – walls of half a meter width made of whole bricks, a porch-belvedere with a view to the garden and fountain. From the porch opens a pacifying vista on the wide green meadow (is included in the territory of the estate).
The style of the estate – neoclassicism, copying houses of the late 15th century with high furnace tubes. One cannot exclude that to the original draft had put hand to the foremost representative of the British neoclassicism, the architect Edwin Lutyens. Hints on that are in the description of the house in the advertising flyer.
And the garden, which the escaped from Russia tax swindler is now looking at through the window of his study, a hundred years ago was drawn by the landscape designer of global fame Gertrude Jekyll. This house, without exaggeration, is imbued with the spirit of the old England.
The house is about a mile from Wandhurst – a small community situated in West Sussex. This county in the south borders on the English Channel. A quiet rural area with fields and mostly plain landscapes. As a rule, houses here buy very wealthy citizens – an average price tag is about 2.29 million British pounds. The former owner has made a full reconstruction of the house, "paying considerable attention to the interior and exterior". So, now in the house, where Khodorkovsky lives, there are old oak beams in the front hallway that go together with the right-angled kitchen of "American" type, and several inappropriate here bar stools in Art Nouveau style.
In March 2020 Khodorkovsky had to accord with the local city council the building of a vitrified conservatory, which will also be used as a pool.
The answer of the cities officials moderated a bit architectural daring of Mikhail Borisovich. “The is no objection against using it as a pool, but the parish council will be concerned if this space will be used for other purposes as the result of the increase of glazing, and, consequently, of the influence on the dark sky”.
Now the estate “Best Beech Place” is the most expensive within the limits of the territorial index TN5 6LH. In six years, the price of the house has increased by 30%. The current market price, according to the estimates of local real estate agencies, varies from £5,423,000 to £6,686,000.
According to the extract from the ground registry, on March 5, 2021, the house was given on gage to the Swiss bank USB AG. Probably, it was made as a security to a certain loan, the volume and the purpose of which are still unknown. This circumstance may testify that either Khodorkovsky is short of money, or that this is a phony “gage trick” protecting the Russian fugitive ex-oligarch from possible property arrest.
CIRCUMSTANTIAL AND DIRECT PIECES OF EVIDENCE
Despite all the trust conspiracy of Khodorkovsky, the website Prigovor.ru has found a document, in which the address of the mansion “Best Beech Place” stands next to the name of the former oligarch and the creator of “Open Russia” (its destructive activity is banned in Russia). Khodorkovsky with his own hands indicated the address of the estate in the registration documents of his French firms "Open Press" and "European Choice". The appended documents contain copies of these documents with the signature of Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky.
It is impossible to disregard that Mikhail Khodorkovsky for many years, ever since the Yukos times, has been working with the Swiss bank UBS AG, to which in March 2021 the British estate was given on gage. In this very bank kept his money his partner Leonid Nevzlin, sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for contracting a series of murders. Moreover, in the 1990s, through this bank, several tranches were placed on the stock exchange of the "American" promissory notes (American depository receipts), issued by Yukos.
Apart from that, Russian media outlets also have written about the British real estate property of Khodorkovsky – although they did not indicate the precise address and the price of the mansion. “Khodorkovsky… has a suburban mansion near Wadhurst in West Sussex”, reported the Russian news agency RIA Novosti in May 2019 with reference to the Russian TN channel NTV.
Recently, the website Prigovor.ru published the investigation “Lithuanian family contract “Future of Russia” (See Russian version at: https://flb.ru/1/4426.html), in which is said that the tax swindler Khodorkovsky has registered in Lithuania an affiliate of this foundation as well as a shell firm. But it turned out that he has considerably more close ties with Lithuania.
In the course of this journalist investigation, we have run across an interesting fact – as it happens, Khodorkovsky engages attending personnel in Lithuania. For instance, he uses the services of a Lithuanian bodyguard – a veteran of special services and specialist in counterterror operations. Cooking and cleaning makes also a woman from Lithuania.
While studying the registries of British voters (they contain addresses of people, citizens of EU with the right to vote), we found out that at the address of the estate “Best Beech Place” are mentioned three Lithuanian names: Zivile Miceniene, Aethuras Beinorius, and Vaidas Sabaliauskas. The name of Khodorkovsky was not mentioned in the list of voters - probably, he either is registered as a voter at his London address, or he was not present in the mansion at the moment of collecting statistical data.
Having discovered that, we, at first, were upset – Khodorkovsky after 2018 (the date of the recording this address in the registry of the French legal persons), indeed ceased to use this house and his palazzo has been occupied by some wealthy Lithuanians? But the analysis of the social networks and public recordings has shown – two from the enumerated citizens of Lithuania work as bodyguards of the oligarch, and the third in the capacity of a maid.
So, for instance, Arturas Beinorius is a top-level bodyguard. From July 1993 to May 2013, he had worked in ARAS – anti-terror Department of the Lithuanian police. From 2012 to 2017 he had worked for ESC Global Security and dealt with the struggle against sea pirates, planned operations to guard vessels. And in June 2017, he moved to London – already as “self-employed”.
“Personal guard, counter-surveillance, itinerary planning, and driving" – so scantily Beinorius describes his present range of responsibilities in his profile on LinkedIn. In favor of his working for Khodorkovsky speaks not only the British registry but also the mentioned in the official form “knowledge of Russian language”.
Another Lithuanian by the name of Vaidas Sabaliauskas, according to the records in LinkedIn, is also a specialist in the field of security, though of IT security. In the sphere of interest is the "Lithuanian defense and security industry". He also is the founder of the Lithuanian company "Balistika”. It was registered in 2011, its profile is “to prepare sportsmen capable to worthily represent the Lithuanian Republic in competitions… as well as to organize and carry out specialized courses for agencies, entities, and organizations in the field of physical well-being”.
The third man from this list, Zivile Miceniene, according to Facebook, can work for Khodorkovsky as a housekeeper – cooking, cleaning, etc.
18-BILLION FINGER OF KHODORKOVSKY BEHIND THE TRUST’S BACK
One of the key positions in the complaint of the international stockholder complaint Yukos vs. Russia is to arrest Russian property abroad on account of compensations to Yukos stockholders. To put it simply, it implies the search of Russian state property in the EU countries, U.S., and other countries recognizing rulings of The Hague, its arresting and then selling it. And the received money is supposed to be directed as payments to the stockholders.
But the same procedure may be applied to Khodorkovsky himself. At present, his debt on account of the previously inflicted damage to the budget of the Russian Federation amounts to 18.61 billion rubles.
If it will be proved that Meritus Trust manages the estate "Best Beech Place" on behalf of Khodorkovsky, this property can and must be arrested on the international request of Russia.
By the way, it applies also to Khosorkovsky’s mansion in the Moscow region situated in the community "The Apple Orchard”. This property of the tax swindler the website Prigovor.ru found at the end of August. (See the investigation “Paradise not lost for Khodorkovsky and Nevzlin”).