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11 Feb, 2008 19:14

Russian perfume king denied bail

The owner of Russian cosmetics giant, Arbat Prestige, has been denied bail on tax evasion charges. Vladimir Nekrasov, along with his consultant and alleged crime lord Semyon Mogilevich, face up to six years in jail if found guilty.

For Mogilevich it’s just the tip of a very large iceberg. For decades he’s allegedly defrauded, extorted and laundered billions of dollars around the world. In Israel, he’s accused of illegally selling weapons to Iran. He has been persona non-grata in the UK since 1995 and in 2003 he appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list. 

U.S. authorities want to question him over his involvement with YBM Magnex, a billion-dollar company that collapsed overnight in 1998, and suspect him of laundering $US 10 billion through the Bank of New York.

For 15 years he had slipped under the radar until January 23, when Moscow authorities finally arrested him. Police picked up Nekrasov, the boss of perfume chain Arbat Pretige, at the same time, accusing him of working with Mogilevich to defraud the state. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, his lawyers have denied any link between them. Mogilevich’s lawyers are still campaigning to get their man out of jail, saying he has underage children to support and is not a flight risk.

However, it seems an optimistic defence for someone who has several different passports and up to 17 different aliases. The man who is currently going under the name Sergey Shneider faces the possibility of further charges to come.