How Ilya Surkov, a Russian businessman, escaped justice

Russian swindler Ilya Surkov, who hides in the United Kingdom, is on the international wanted list for stealing money from the development company.  He has been convicted to 8 years in prison. However, he feels safe and leads a luxurious life in a respected European country. In 2009-2010, Ilya Surkov stole 6 million euros and transferred them to his offshore accounts. When he decided to escape from Russia, he moved this money to his current ex-wife Lilia Scheffler-Sennowa.

Runaway from Russia

In December 2013, while under house arrest, Ilya Surkov developed a plan to escape from the country. Pretending to be sick, he disappeared from the hospital and left the country with a fraudulent Greek passport. 

As it turned out later, he had taken care of everything in advance. With the help of forged documents, he declared that he was an ethnic Greek. Even though Moscow is indicated as his birthplace in his original Russian passport, he managed to make documents stating that he was allegedly born in Kazakhstan in Shymkent city, where Greeks were exiled in the last century. However, after official inquiries, state bodies of Kazakhstan provided information that Ilya Surkov was not born and had never been in their country, as well as his relatives. 

Convicted but not punished

When the hearing on his case finally took place at the Nikulinsky court in Moscow in 2019, Ilya Surkov was sentenced to 5 years in prison for 3 charges of grand fraud. But, in 2020, his sentence was increased to 8 years on appeal. Unfortunately, even when hearings on his case were held in Russia, Ilya Surkov continued his con tricks, but this time in Europe.

Ex-wife or crime partner?

This whole story would not have happened or, perhaps, some frauds would have failed if not for the help of Ilya Surkov’s wife, Lilia Sheffler-Sennowa.

Ilya Surkov’s property in Russia (which accounts for a sum of 6 digits) has been put under arrest, so the couple developed a plan to return it. They filed for a fictitious divorce. Also, Ilya Surkov signed out a loan to Lilia Sheffler-Sennowa for $10.4 million that he supposedly gave her in cash. The origin of this money is still unknown. 

The idea behind the divorce was to remove the property’s seizure and transfer it to Sheffler-Sennowa to repay a fake debt. The scam would have succeeded if the spouses were more careful: despite their “divorce”, the couple continued to publish joint romantic photos on social networks. Hence, the judicial authorities denied Lilia Sheffler-Sennowa her request.

But this did not stop Ilya Surkov. He came up with another fraudulent plan and issued another fake loan to a wholly paralyzed man for $8.5 million. Based on this fact, he managed to declare himself bankrupt.

The luxurious social life of Russian fraudster

Despite the court’s decision in Russia, sentencing Ilya Surkov to 8 years in prison and his bankruptcy, the swindler leads a luxurious life in London together with his “ex”-wife spending time in the most expensive clubs and country houses. In addition, he bought two apartments in London and two more in France. What’s most interesting is that the financial authorities do not seem to be interested in the origins of the funds that pay for such a wealthy lifestyle.  

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