Ilya Surkov, a political refugee or a scammer?

Ilya Surkov, a Russian fraudster who stole funds from a company he headed. He is one of the clear-cut examples of false political refugees that the United Kingdom has hosted. He was prosecuted in Russia for his crimes, but he doesn’t worry about it while staying in the UK.

In 2009-2010 Ilya Surkov stole 6 million euros from a development firm he worked for and transferred them to the accounts of Boulder Associated company controlled by him. When Ilya Surkov was under investigation for his crimes in Russia, he developed a plan on how to escape justice. First, he moved the money to his current ex-wife Lilia Scheffler-Sennowa.

Then, in December 2013, while under investigation, Ilya Surkov was put under house arrest, but he pretended to be sick to go to the hospital. From there, he escaped and went straight to the airport. The plan was well thought out. He prepared fake documents in advance and received a Greek passport, thanks to which he managed to leave the country.

Ilya Surkov obtained Greek citizenship by forging documents of his birthplace. He pretended to be an ethnic Greek, indicating Shymkent city in Kazakhstan as his place of birth. Many Greeks were forcibly resettled there in the 50s of the last century. And even though Ilya Surkov’s Russian passport indicates Moscow as his birthplace, he still managed to fool the authorities and obtain Greek citizenship.

Later, the authoritative bodies of Kazakhstan provided documents stating that neither Ilya Surkov nor his relatives had ever been in their country, which completely refutes the assertion of the former Russian businessman about his origins.

Russian scammer hiding in the UK

Ilya Surkov appealed to the British authorities to grant him asylum, claiming that he was subjected to political harassment in Russia. In 2016, he was given shelter in the UK. However, Ilya Surokov deceived the British authorities and concealed the fact that he had a Greek passport. Otherwise, he would have been denied political asylum.

In the meantime, a hearing of his case was held in Russia, and in 2019 Ilya Surkov was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2020, following an appeal, the court changed his sentence to eight years in prison for his crimes.

The fraudulent actions of Ilya Surkov didn’t end. To release his arrested property, he and his current ex-wife Lilia Scheffler-Sennowa developed a plan to return it because its cost was enormous. They filed a fictitious divorce, and Ilya Surkov even made documents in advance that he supposedly received $10.4 million in cash from Lilia Sheffler-Sennowa. However, their attempt was unsuccessful since the court found joint romantic photos that they continued to publish on the pages of their social networks.

Failure did not stop them, and Ilya Surkov developed a new plan. He issued a fictitious bill of exchange for 8.5 million dollars to a completely paralysed person. Based on it, he announced his bankruptcy in Russia.

But despite their bankruptcy, the couple leads a luxurious life in London. They have acquired several apartments in both the UK and France, not bad for a bankrupt.

Thus, Ilya Surkov managed to deceive the British authorities, escape justice in Russia and now leads an extraordinary and rich life in Europe. Unfortunately, this example is not the only one. Therefore, we sincerely hope that the authorities will conduct more careful checks of those who seek asylum in the future and will not mistakenly hide fraudsters from fair justice.

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