Ilya Surkov, a thief and a beggar, what went wrong in his criminal scheme

Stealing millions of dollars in Russia, escaping from justice to London, and pretending to be a “bloody regime” victim has become a typical swindler’s scheme lately. All you have to do is stay low and enjoy a luxurious life spending stolen money because criminal cases opened in Russia will not bother you in the United Kingdom. After all, “there is no extradition from London.” The story of Ilya Surkov could have been the same, if not for one thing.

It’s unknown whether pathological greed or empty bank accounts made Ilya Surkov continue his scams in the UK, or if it’s just in his nature to lie and deceive. He used the story of some imaginary relatives, again this time. Blurry, but significantly implying his relation to Vyacheslav Surkov, former advisor of the Russian President. Ilya Surkov tried to use never-existing ties to con people. He attempted to enrich himself by promising British business investors shares in profitable real estate businesses and help in resolving some delicate issues at home for the Russian-speaking diaspora in London. 

A very risky move for a refugee, don’t you think? After all, such a relationship can make Ilya Surkov unwelcome in British society and lead to his extradition from the UK. London has strained relations with Moscow, and such actions of an “ambassador” of one of the former high-ranking Russian officials may not be appreciated by the British authorities.

Meanwhile in Russia

Back in his country land, Ilya Surkov is accused of committing crimes under Paragraph 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of RF – swindling committed on an especially large scale. As a president of a large construction company, he stole over 6 million euros from it. In 2013, the newspaper Kommersant stated that according to the investigation, these funds were stolen and transferred to the Panamanian firm Boulder Associated controlled by Surkov.

The case materials contain information received from the competent authorities of Panama and Switzerland, which confirmed the receipt of the funds by Boulder Associated and the fact that Ilya Surkov disposed of this money as its beneficial owner.

As follows from the investigation documents, Ilya Surkov transferred part of the funds from the accounts of Boulder Associated to Lilia Scheffler-Sennowa. When Surkov was charged for his crimes, his wife, a citizen of Russia and Switzerland, Lilia Sennowa, tried to withdraw the family property from arrest. Having issued a fictitious divorce, she filed a claim with the arbitration court to divide jointly gained property. However, based on the decision of the Moscow City Court, she was refused. Lilia’s and Ilya’s breakup was just a stunt. It was proven that they stay in close contact all these years and do not hesitate to post joint photos on the Internet showing their “sweet life”.

Escape story

On December 13, 2013, Ilya Surkov, being under house arrest, fled from the investigation, as stated in the case materials. His escape is like a thriller story – he pretended to be sick, went to a clinic, from where he drove straight to the airport to leave the country with fake documents. After one week, Ilya Surkov was put on the international wanted list in France, Greece and all the member states of Interpol.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs source, Surkov received Greek citizenship before he escaped from Russia by providing a fake birth certificate, which indicated Shymkent as his birthplace and implied that his mother is greek. Although, in fact, he was born in Moscow, and his real mother is a daughter of a famous Russian poet Aleksander Surkov.  

How to spend stolen millions

Surkov and Sennowa lived on a grand scale and spent the stolen money. They bought a villa in France in the small town called Mougins near Cannes. Also, the couple bought Chateau Diodato on the French Riviera not far from Monaco and lived there for a long time. 

Change the atmosphere of the warm coast of the French Riviera to the coolness of the Alps? Easily! Lilia Scheffler-Sennowa owns an apartment in Switzerland in a town called Zollikon near Zurich. But the social engagements in London turned out to be much more interesting than the silence of the Swiss countryside. The extraordinary talents of a financial fraudster allowed Surkov to shell out three and a half million pounds for an apartment in London and another three million pounds for another one, where the couple lives.

But something went wrong. It seems the stolen money was not enough for a sweet life. Surkov mortgaged his house in Mougins for $1.2 million. And since summer 2016, Villa Diodato has been available for booking by any tourist who can afford to pay €1000 per day for a room.

In the UK, Surkov and Sennowa pose as law-abiding bourgeois. So what is the reason for this new scam activity of Ilya Surkov in London? And where would he hide next?