Mystery is abound as Russian authorities as of yet have not been able to deduce who is the owner of of billions left unclaimed at a Moscow airport. The stash, said to add up to 16 billion pounds ($27 billion USD) and left abandoned since 2007 is now thought to possibly belong to either former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein or Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
To date, the UK’s dailymail reports a handful of of people have tried to claim the cash, which was flown to Moscow in August of 2007 without a recipient listed on the shipping documents.
Nevertheless no one so far has been able to convince authorities that they are the rightful owners. Other possible explanations include the idea that the money belongs to the Russian mafia or corrupt politicians. Russian law enforcement agents haven’t seized the stash because they don’t have any grounds to at this point. Frustrated authorities have now demanded the legitimate owner of the booty to now step up and claim the money.
The stash, now under high security in a cargo depot, is said to be held in 200 wooden pallets each worth 100 million euros.
Told an an anonymous intelligence source told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.’It is possible that this is the money of Saddam Hussein.’
The stock pile of cashes all in 100 euro notes, was flown to Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow from Frankfurt on 7 August 2007 and it has remained frozen there ever since.
Observers have gone on to wonder why Saddam’s ill-gotten nest egg would have been sent from Germany to Russia four years after he was toppled, and eight months after his execution. Nevertheless observers have put this likely theory high on the list as to the potential owner of the bounty.
That said others are not convinced that the bounty necessarily belongs to that of the former dictator as it is claimed that had Saddam Hussein shifted £7.5 billion to Moscow in diplomatic bags before he was ousted, this would have been far short of the full wealth he had amassed. Yet one also wonders if the former tyrant may have simply chosen to carve up the bounty into various quadrants and sent the bounty off to a variety of hanger locations for safe keeping?
Other possible shufflers of ill acquired money are thought to also include Muammar Gaddafi who like Hussein is widely known to have privately profited from his nation’s activities and may have sought to hide his loot on the back door of Libya’s unrest which saw him eventually toppled and murdered.
Commentators have also posited that the money may belong to an illicit group but collecting on the loot has now become a dangerous act.
Told one source: ‘Another explanation is that this is Russian mafia money or the fortune of corrupt Russian officials but that has become too dangerous for anyone to claim. It is a gargantuan sum.’
The dailymail goes on to tell that a source has since suggested that the owner of the loot may be 45-year-old Farzin Koroorian Motlagh.
His passport details show him to be Iranian, but Russian customs and other agencies appear far from convinced that he is the ultimate owner. Nor has he appeared in Moscow to claim the loot.
Others have suggested that the cash was intended for an obscure foundation called The World of Kind People, yet its headquarters are Ukrainian and the final destination of the cash was Russia.
The organization’s chief, Alexander Shipilov, 53, is one of a number of people who have failed to convince the authorities to hand him cash.
Shipilov’s charitable organization is reported to have offered a two billion euro fee to lawyers to win the case, but Moscow’s legal experts show no desire to take it on.
Vadim Lyalin, a customs affairs expert, told: ‘The shipper didn’t specify a recipient. This is rather odd. It suggests that something is wrong with the cash.
‘Surely someone would have claimed the cargo from the very beginning. It remains unknown who exactly did so.
‘Probably, there was a certain plan how this cash was supposed to cross the Russian border since no-one with any sense would send such money to “nowhere”.
‘Something must have gone wrong, and “Mr X” failed to receive the cargo. After a number of failed attempts to collect the cash, it was decided to act via a foundation.
‘This is a common money laundering practice.’
The Russian government has so far not seized the money. Lyalin added: ‘It turns out that there are no reasonable grounds for seizing it.
‘The owner of the cash is named on paper. The cash is real and was transferred from a German bank.’
The bank has been named as Deutsche Bank Group, though this has not been confirmed.
Goes on to tell Lyalin: ‘Customs demanded the owner of the cargo to appear in person,’
‘The authorities had to make sure that the owner was alive and is not a fake.’
Another figure purported to be the potential mastermind includes Motlagh (also known as Farzin Ali Karoryan Mutlaq) – who in 2010 was accused of being the “mastermind” behind an attempt to steal $14billion from the Central Bank of Abu Dhabi using false documents.
It is said Motlagh has to date have avoided trial in the United Arab Emirates by fleeing to Iran.
From there the dailymail goes on to ponder if there is any link between the Abu Dhabi and Moscow cases, but does go on to note that Russian authorities have rejected Motlagh’s attempts to use intermediaries to claim the cash.
Interestingly another source familiar with the situation goes on to tell that a dozen groups have sought to claim the cash, all claiming to have Motlagh’s authority.
‘They include criminals, Chechen groups, and Ukrainian gangsters,’
Of course the question might be is the potential bounty of billions worth the fissure caused that would inevitably result in coming to claim the money? Which is to say sometimes one’s freedom is priceless…