KYIV (FNI) - Norvik Banka, where Former Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was recently appointed as a council’s Deputy Chairman, was involved in fraud. The editorial office of Front News International has come across the information that proves that Denis Balashov, the assistant of the People's Deputy of Ukraine Vladimir Ariev, withdrew almost half a million dollars from Ukraine to Switzerland. It turned out that Balashov had taken the money of Oleg Savchuk, his father-in-law, assuring him that he would do everything in accordance with the license of the National Bank of Ukraine, which would make it an absolutely legal transaction. Balashov, transferred the money to the Latvian AS Norvik Banka, and then to Switzerland through a Panamanian company, with the help of the Cyprus Midland Consult. Then the funds inexplicably disappeared. Oleg Savchuk gave an interview to Front News International telling about how Denis Balashov had stolen his money and then threatened him with People's Deputy Ariev, elected vice-president of PACE in January.
Front News International: How long have You known Balashov?
Oleg Savchuk: Denis was married to my daughter. He used to know about my business, used to know that I had the disposable income on my account, telling me that money cannot be stored in our country due to unstable economic and political situation. I saw that he was engaged in withdrawing money to other countries. Balashov told me that people tend to have accounts in more reliable banks abroad. I worked as a representative of a large company having no problems with taxes. Actually, I am one of the largest taxpayers in the Kyiv region. But he used to press me saying that money should be kept in Switzerland and that’s what other respected people do. He assured me that my funds would be absolutely legally transferred to Switzerland in accordance with the license of the National Bank of Ukraine. It would not cost me a problem. Only later did I understand the reason for him being so persistent - he initially planned the embezzlement of our family money.
FNI: Why did You decide to put money into a Swiss bank account?
OS: In 2008, my company lost funds due to global financial crisis when banks prohibited advance working bills pays off then and hryvnia was depreciated. As a result, it was next to impossible to buy currency. I put my funds in Aval Bank’s hryvnia deposit. And then Denis Balashov managed to convince me that money should not be stored in Ukraine. I trusted him and saw no need to go into details. In 2009, Denis issued all the documents for Panama’s company, but it was not involved. I simply paid 2 thousand dollars a year for its registration. Then Denis asked: "Why did I open it to you if it does not seem to work?"
FNI: When did You trust Bashalov with Your money?
OS: In 2011, I cashed out my bank account and gave money to Denis. This was my personal account, my personal money, savings on all taxes paid including profit tax and dividends. Overall, I withdrew 3.5 million hryvnias [at the rate of 2011 - 437 000 dollars]. I was convinced that I was using this money for later investments, including ones in Ukraine. There were also his money and ones he owed me for buying a car.
FNI: How about the process of a transaction?
OS: Balashov, registered Food Industrial in Panama using the services of the Cyprus company Midland Consult, which have its offices in Kiev. It helped him to open an account in the Latvian AS Norvik Banka, making a transfer of nearly half a million dollars there.
FNI: How much money was there?
OS: There was nearly $ 520 000 transferred to Norvik Banka. In the Swiss bank Pictet, where we opened the account in the fall of 2012, the transfer was $ 490,000 because Igor Yakovlev, an employee of Midland Consult, said that Norvik was not trusted there and he could not keep that amount in Latvia. After Pictet account opening, I met with their representative Allan Held, who regularly came to Kyiv and was interested in how the business was going here. Bank Pictet even sent documents, confirming that Balashov was Igor Yakovlev's client.
FNI: Was Igor Yakovlev a co-signer of a Swiss bank account?
OS: Yes, Yakovlev was a co-signer in a Swiss bank. All the handwritten signatures of Denis Balashov were on the documents. It was stated In the same place where he formalized these documents that Allan Held is the bank manager responsible for documents acceptance.
In 2013, the daughter of Oleg Savchuk and Denis Balashov got a divorce. Savchuk spoke to Igor Yakovlev at Midland Consult on the Museum Lane in Kiev.
FNI: Was it when You started worrying about Your money?
OS: Yes, considering the fact I was quite poorly versed in these issues, I was constantly writing down our conversation and giving warnings to Igor Yakovlev and Allen Held while meeting with them. I consulted with Yakovlev, suggesting that he should limit Denis access to the account, but he replied that there were no reasons for that and everything would be alright. I even showed him a letter from Denis, where he threatened me and my family after hitting my daughter. Denis was constantly blackmailing us. Igor Yakovlev told me that "we have business relations with Denis. I have leverage and influence щтhim. A person who can steal money will not be in good standing here. He has money, he will give everything, he brings me clients from the United States. "
FNI: Did you pay for your Pictet bank account by yourself?
OS: Yes, I paid by myself. Every year when the money was in Switzerland I was paying the bills. There were no chances to invest in Ukraine at that time, plus I had no idea how to transfer them back to Ukrainian banks. Denis Balashov and Igor Yakovlev were doing everything to avoid this conversation.
FNI: When did you finally decide to withdraw money from that bank?
OS: I contacted the manager saying that I wanted to take my money back. I met with Allen Held. He arrived in Kyiv. I told him that I needed money for development of my business. It was then when he answered that there was no money left while Denis Balashov had already cashed everything out. Later Held called the bank and they confirmed that Balashov withdrew money to the account of Foriya Business LLP in December 2015, and the account itself was closed a long time ago.
FNI: When did you contact Balashov to find everything out?
OS: I immediately called Igor Yakovlev. He said that he had no idea about money withdrawal. Then he advised to wait for Balashov in Kyiv and discuss everything at the meeting. Then we met, and Yakovlev repeated that he had leverage on Balashov, and Denis would give everything back. He also said that the firm Midland Consult and he personally worked for 25 years in this direction and assured that everything would be fine and the money would return, but asked not to contact the bank again. The next day Yakovlev met with Balashov then told me that he could do nothing to get my money back.
FNI: Did you meet Balashov personally?
OS: The very next day, right after Igor Yakovlev said he could not help me get my money back. We met with Balashov in my daughter's house. I told him that I wanted to return my honestly earned money, which I gave him from Aval Bank and which he, as I understand now, illegally withdrew from Ukraine, deceiving me. He said that he did not understand what I was talking about. I suggested that he should meet with the manager of the bank Pictet and a representative of Midland Consult but Balashov refused.
FNI: Balashov threatened you earlier. Did it continue after the conversation?
OS: Yes, he started to threaten my family again. He said that if I tried to get my money back, they would ‘put us all jail’, ‘expel from Kiev’ and close my daughter's restaurant. Later Balashov threatened to connect with the people's deputy, but we had no idea then that he was Vladimir Ariev’s assistance.
FNI: Was there anything else besides the threats?
OS: The unknown have recently started following me. The same cars have been constantly following mine.
FNI: Have you tried to contact the Pictet bank again?
OS: Yes, my lawyer sent a request to the bank on my behalf about the bank account and funds existence. Pictet employees answered that there was never a depositor with my name.
On January 31st Denis Balashov, the assistant of Volodymyr Ariev, the People's Deputy of Ukraine, moved half million dollars offshore from Ukraine with the help of Cyprus company. His office reported that it knew nothing about that. In his turn, Ariev answered that he had nothing to do with the business of Denis Balashov. However, Front News International has documented, proving the contrary.
In early 2017 AS Norvik Banka tried to buy out the Ukrainian sub-company of the Russian Sberbank, but the National Bank of Ukraine declined the offer while Russia’s banker Grigory Guselnikov turned out to be the head of Norvik Banka.
Front News International found out that Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Secretary General of NATO and external advisor to Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, was appointed to the post of Deputy Chairman of the independent Council of Latvian AS Norvik Banka, owned by Russian banker Grigory Guselnikov, bank’s press service reports. AS Norvik Banka Council consists of 5 members. Its majority shareholder, Grigory Guselnikov being the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman – Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Council members – Igor Smolin, Dr. August Gustav Paul Hanning, and Peter Michael Odintsov.