Two London bankers have been jailed for a total of 19 years after being convicted of defrauding Russian bank Otkritie of £141 million (€165.56 million).
At the culmination of a four-month trial at Southwark Crown Court earlier this week, Georgy Urumov and Vladimir Gersamia were found guilty of a range of offences.
The “audacious” and complex multimillion-pound scam began in 2011, when Urumov joined Otkritie Securities and convinced the firm to hand him £20 million on the understanding the money would be handed out to other workers joining the company. Instead of distributing the funds, Urumov kept the vast majority of the cash himself.
In a further offence, Urumov told his employer he had purchased Argentine debt products at four times the price he actually paid for them, squirrelling the difference away in personal bank accounts in Britain and other countries.
Threadneedle Asset Management employee Gersamia helped Urumov as he attempted to conceal the massive fraud.
The pair stood to benefit to the tune of £121 million by manipulating the trade in financial products in this manner.
Jailing the men this morning, Judge Deborah Taylor said Urumov was the driving force behind the scam, telling him he had created a “smoke screen of falsehoods” in an attempt to cover his tracks. “You were at the centre…, motivated yourself by greed you played on the greed of others,” she said.
Speaking after the men’s conviction on Wednesday, Alistair Dickson, Specialist Prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service’s Specialist Fraud Division, commented: “These men were successful traders, earning very generous salaries and large bonuses. But that was not enough for them.
“Motivated by greed, they went about committing a fraud involving eye-watering sums of money using a variety of sophisticated methods. Due to the international scale of this fraud the prosecution team considered millions of pieces of evidence and made arrangements to call witnesses from across the world in order to present a compelling case to the jury.”
Urumov was sentenced to 12 years in jail after being convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Gersamia was sentenced to seven years behind bars after being found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
A third man, Alessandro Gherzi, was acquitted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Yulia Balk, Urumov’s wife, was acquitted of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one of entering into an agreement to facilitate money laundering.