Famous Burgundy château was bought in money laundering plot
A Ukrainian fraudster is on trial in France for allegedly purchasing a gorgeous château in the heart of Burgundy wine country with illicit funds.
40-year-old Dmitri Malinovsky is accused of purchasing 'La Rochepot' after faking his death in a traffic accident in the city of Luhansk.
Malinovsky is accused, together with his ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend, and three others, of laundering up to €12 million he allegedly stole in a Singapore fertiliser deal by purchasing the Chateau de Rochepot.
All of the suspects were seized when a prosecutor in Kyiv determined that he may have fabricated his 2014 vehicle accident and death certificate and discovered a cell phone video of him in a French chateau.
Prosecutors became aware of his existence in France when he appeared in Burgundy media regarding chateau owners who had failed to pay remodelling expenses totaling tens of thousands of euros at La Rochepot.
The Ukrainian and French police, working with Europol, stormed the chateau and seized goods and cash worth €4 million, including three Salvador Dal paintings and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
“It was established that the suspect was not only alive but was enjoying a lavish lifestyle in France,” Europol said. “He is thought to be behind a complex case of international fraud and money laundering.”
Malinovsky, who was based in Odessa, rejects all claims, as do his ex-wife Alla Tscherkasova and his ex-girlfriend Olga Kiselova.
The newspaper The Times reports that the hilltop fortification from the 12th century "was given a lavish makeover in the late 19th century by its owners, the family of French President Sadi Carnot, and was drawing 30,000 tourists annually until Malinovsky's arrest in 2018.
“Some of the region’s most hallowed vineyards, including Pommard, Puligny-Montrachet and Nuits-Saint-Georges, are nearby,” the paper added.
The chateau is presently owned by the French government.
“Its furniture was sold off a year ago to pay its debts. Prosecutors identified Malinovsky after unravelling a chain of shell companies behind a Luxembourg-based group called GACM, which bought the château. Lawyers for Kiselova said she was the real owner,” said The Times.
If convicted following what is anticipated to be a two-week trial, the accused could face ten-year prison terms and fines and damages in the seven figures.
Ukraine has requested Malinovsky's extradition in order to prosecute him for fraud.
By fLEXI tEAM