Monday, April 16, 2012

Lev Ponomarev's letter

Dear Sirs,

Today, the persecution of people for political reasons and/or in order to despoil their business to the benefit of corrupted officials and their friends is a usual thing in Russia.

One of the examples of such persecutions, accompanied by initiation of falsified criminal cases against the victim, is the case of a St Petersburg businessman Vitaly Arkhangelsky.

He managed to flee his country at a good moment and that saved him from a possible repetition of the fate of Sargey Magnitsky who had been murdered in prison. However, in the same way as with Sergey Magnitsky whose cynical murderers decided to sentence him post-mortem, Vitaly Arkhangelsky and his family, including three young children, is still subjected to despoliation while all his assets and his flourishing business in Russia has been already unlawfully withdrawn and he has been forced to go abroad to avoid arbitrary imprisonment and torture.  .

This is not a secret that, behind unlawful persecutions against Arkhangelsky, there stands one of the most important bankers of St Petersburg, and even of Russia, Alexandre Savelyev. The Bank St Petersburg of which he is the Chairman of the Board, counts among its shareholders Sergey Matvienko, the son of V.I. Matvienko, the current Chairperson of the Council of Federation of the State Douma who has been the ex-governor of St Petersburg during eight years.

The close link between V.Matvienko and A.Savelyev is well known. They started to work together at the time of komsomol dans l’ex-URSS, they continued in common business in 1990ies, and they developed common financial projects after Poutine’s arrival to power. Poutine appointed V. Matvieko as a governor of St Petersburg, and Matvienko made Savelyev’s bank one of the most important banks treating municipal funds as well as private business projects of numerous affiliated entities.

Just before that, in order to strengthen her friendship with Savelyev by official documents, V. Matvienko’s son became a shareholder of the Bank. After eight years of his mother’s government, the governor’s son became one of the richest persons in the country ; he owns numerous real estate objects in St Petersburg and abroad.

All these facts are publicly known and they prove that there is a well organized corruption system comprising government officials and their accomplices from commercial entities which are a necessary link for manipulating money of unknown origin and its further legalisation.

Vitaly Arkhangelsky is not a man who surrendered without resistance unlike many other victims who fell into the hands of organized criminal groups mainly consisting of Russian officials and agents of so-called forces of order. 

Actually, thousands of persons in Russia have been victims of raids, many of them have been imprisoned for their attempts to resist, many others have been ruined and thrown into the street, and some of them have been simply murdered. 

Behind each despoliation of a businessman, there are officials at all levels of administration and their affiliated merchants who use the law-enforcement authorities to terrify or imprison their victims.  In prison, the victim is subjected to real torture and, being broken, gives his business and assets to his persecutors.

Arkhangelsky have managed to save himself and his family. However, he has been despoiled of his business which was registered in the name of straw companies affiliated with his persecutors. One of these persons is the Chairman of the Bank St Petersburg A. Savelyev.

The Public Prosecutor’s services, used by Savelyev, made two attempts to get Arkhangelsky extradited from France, where he was obliged to establish his new residence in order to escape persecutions in Russia, where he was absolutely defenceless before the authorities and law-enforcement agencies.  

Among others, fraudulent methods have been used, specifically the use of forged documents in order to mislead the French justice. Actually, such methods are largely used by Russian corrupted law-enforcement authorities, but its use within the territory of a European State should strike a warning note to the international community. 

With regard to this matter, a trial has been initiated in France at Arkhangelsky’s request.  The human rights community is waiting for the results of this fair trial which may have material influence on the attitude to Russia, which is already quite negative.  

The fact that Arkhangelsky’s persecutors are using all means, including unlawful ones, to seize him, shows that Arkhangelsky became really dangerous for them.

On one hand, he is a direct witness of unlawful enrichment of persons who try, in the West, to appear as respectable ones, while these persons have robbed him in Russia and have unlawfully charged him with criminal charges in spite of the fact that was innocent.

On the other hand, the same persons led by Mr Savelyev use open fraud and forgery before the French justice.  Arkhangelsky has caught them and is now revealing their international criminal offence to the French court. 

Everyone could already see what may be the result of such disclosure. There are a lot of examples of other persons who were undesirable to Russian regime.   

This is a terrible death in prison of Sergey Magnitsky, who disclosed the truth about machinations with public funds; this is an also tragic death in London of Alexandre Litvinenko who made public the crimes of sadly known KGB-FSB ; this is a recent attempted murder, in London, of a banker G.Gorbuntsov, who, just before that, sent a letter to the Investigation Committee of Russia revealing the details of prepared murders of other persons which came to his knowledge.  

All these facts show that, at present, Arkhangelsky is in danger because of his struggle against Russian corrupted officials and raiders. Mr Savelyev, who organised persecutions against Arkhangelsky, is one of the key figures of Russian high society sodden in corruption and machinations with unlawfully obtained fortunes. Due to his close relationship with the first figures of the State, he has huge possibilities, including practically unlimited financial resources. This allows him to concentrate great forces to struggle against Akhangelsky.

By their criminal nature, Arkhangelsky’s persecutors can not stop. They need to annihilate the man or to ruin him by leaving him without any means of living. That is what Ssavelyev’s band is trying to do by trying to obtain favourable judgements of British courts and filing false information about Arkhangelsky in order to discredit him.

Unfortunately, this practice of annihilation or financial ruin of a person in order to break his/her resistance is frequent in Russia. This is not only a revenge against those who dared to oppose to corrupted officials and bandits in uniform, but also a sort of weapon allowing to terrify the rest of the society which they prefer to see as an obedient mass rather than as independent and free citizens who consider as their main right the possibility to do things honestly and to be protected by fair and independent justice.   

At present, this right does not exist in Russia, since the impunity of people like Savelyev, who is able to influence decisions of any court in Russia and to use law-enforcement authorities for his personal purposes, has transformed all governmental institutions into a servant for a small group of corrupted and unlawfully privileged persons..

I kindly ask the Honorable Court to pay special attention to the fact that all actions of the Bank of St Petersburg and Mr Savelyev are intended to completely deprive Mr Arkhangelsky and his family of all means of living in order to break his resistance and make it impossible for him to defend his rights.

For this, the Bank exercises pressure on financial institutions which continue, or, until recently, continued to cooperate with Arkhangelsky and to support him. The Bank even files, with foreign courts, Russian judgements based on the forged documents provided by the Bank and on the forged signatures of Arkhangelsky .

Mr Arkhangelsky has three young children and his spouse is a housewife. He has to defend himself in French, British and Bulgarian courts within the framework of legal proceedings initiated by the Bank St Petersburg and Mr Savelyev, one of the richest men in Russia. Mr Savelyev and his bank have robbed Mr Arkhangelsky’s business. They enjoy the unlimited support of the governmental authorities up to the highest level; they cynically continue, within the territory of European countries, to persecute innocent persons who dared not to enter into corrupted relationships with the authorities and who tried to do business in Russia according to civilized world laws and not to criminal customs and practices.   

I kindly ask the honourable court to consider my letter as an official petition on behalf of the human rights organisation, which I represent, in defence of the businessman Vitaly Arkhangelsky who is unlawfully persecuted by Russian authorities and the banker A. Savelyev, whose criminal intentions have become absolutely clear for me since I have took knowledge of all the details of his case.

Lev Ponomarev
Executive Director
Russian  Civic Movement « For Human Rights » 
Moscow Helsinki Group member

Russian Civic Movement
125009, Moscow, Maly Kislovsky Per.,   7  , b. 1, room 21                              
tel./fax (495)974-75-46, tel. (495)691-62-33     E-mail:;

13 APRIL 2012 г.

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