On 31 January 2019, the Austrian Meinl Bank (renamed into Anglo Austrian AAB Bank) reported one of its clients to the competent authorities on the basis of the reports of FinTelegram. The subject matter of this report was Keyring Holdings Ltd of the Russian Vladislav “Vlad” Smirnov (aka Vladislav Khokholkov). The competent authorities confirmed the suspicion against Smirnov and ordered the freezing of the account containing almost €2 million. Smirnov was also immediately included as a defendant in the criminal proceedings against the Israeli scam broker Gal Barak et al. Additionally, the Georgian-born Gery “Gabi” Shalon, a close partner of Barak and Smirnov, was included in the list of suspects in this case.
Without the reports of FinTelegram, this money-laundering would not have been uncovered. Subsequent investigations of law enforcement exposed that Meinl Bank had actually laundered hundreds of millions from Ukraine and Eastern Europe over the last couple of years. The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) subsequently withdrew the license of Meinl Bank at the beginning of February 2020. The criminal proceedings against Smirnov and his Keyring Holdings Ltd are in full swing. The almost €2 million deposited with Meinl Bank should be gone. This money had already been frozen by the Austrian authorities anyway.
The traces of Smirnov’s and Keyring Holdings‘ money lead to Lithuania, Georgia, and Russia directly to the former Georgian Member of Parliament, entrepreneur and allegedly billionaire Shota Shalelasvili, the father of Gery Shalon, who is accused of financial crimes in the USA.
They are all connected to the Binex Group which is also involved in the money-laundering scandal of the Montenegrin Atlas Banka of Dusko Knezevic. According to the information FinTelegram has received, Shota Shalelashvili and Gery Shalon have also been involved with the Atlas Banka.