Journal of Russian Businessman: -40F
Lives can be changed when you least expect them to be and great jobs on the surface might be a camouflage for something else. Dmitry Pototskiy is the author of this outstanding memoir, Journal of a Russian Businessman:-40 degrees F. A true story told in his own words with actual events taking place across many continents: Russia, Europe and the United States are the prime locations. As a government employee working in Russia how could he resist a job as the president of a financial company. Added in is the fact that his immediate superior would be one of the riches developers in Moscow. Gennady Shulman was the man that roped him in. Boredom his reason for taking the bait. As the main or principal owner and president of the Keystone group this man was able to gain the contract or the rights to building an office complex on a small island in front of the Kremlin. But, as we listen to the deal being formed, the position described we later learn that his company or group’s financial standing was anything but solid or sound. In dire need of money in order to be able to finish this assignment or project what happens would create a chain of events that would take many people down and change their lives in the wrong direction forever. Learning more within the first two chapters of this intricate memoir we are introduced to the Sberbank, one of the biggest state owned savings banks in Russia. But dealing with this bank as I continued reading would be difficult to deal with and Shulman decided to look in another direction for help. The plot really thickens within the first few chapters as we learn that before Pototskiy joins the Keystone group and becomes president of Universal Investment and Finance Company he receives a letter earmarked for the mayor of Moscow. This letter is in the hands of Mervin Layton, an American businessman with a lot of power and clout with the Russian Federation. The letter proposes to combine or blend the huge international debt incurred by City Hall into U.S. T-bonds and notes. This would cause or change the problem with this debt into a sustainable source of money within five or no more than seven years. Trade Programs is what Layton called it. He inferred that he was representing a Trade Program where those who invested or put money into it would come out with quite a bit of money on their investments. He also stated that the U.S. Treasury was selling its bonds and notes to specifically chosen valued investors at a huge discount. The scam begins when these investors are informed that in order to become part of these Trade Programs this is a necessary step or requirement needed in order to help those nations that are struggling with poverty and also poor nations whose economy needed help and where terrorism ran high. So, why did he fall for this and what would make him say yes?
This is the true story of what happened to this businessman and his company in Moscow. As you hear the voices of those involved you yourself will begin to wonder just who can be trusted, which assets are real, which documents are authentic and why some things were taken at face value and what happens when one business deal with a bank falls through, documents are to be returned and than why would the bank show a change of heart? Why were there investigations in the U.S., Russia and Europe. Why didn’t any realize that this was one huge scam? Listening to the original players and hearing the voice3 of Layton, even a novice would suspect that there was something unsavory. Conditions were not crystal clear, these Americans helped to defraud many wealthy people in Russia, The United States and believe it or not the Russian Prime Minister? You have heard of hit men who are hired to take out someone for money? What about a hit man that was geared to take out your company, your integrity and your money? Across many oceans and continents Dmitry Pototskiy flies from Moscow, to Munich and other places to participate in what is called a Trade program. Defined as: A term for the participation in the buying and the selling of bank debentures. Debenture
a general debt obligation backed only by the integrity of the borrower, not by collateral. Depository Trust Corporation (DTC): A domestic custodial clearing facility owned by all of the major banks and securities firms which is monitored by various banking regulatory agencies and the Securities and Exchange commission. In order to fully understand what the author is saying let me explain it in his own words: Offered the job to head the Department of City Investment planning is to task was to create the first government agency that could function as an investment corporation in the residential building industry without public funding. He agreed. But, as I described the offering made by Mervin Leyton things were about to change. Transactions as Mervin explains have to be approved by a manager. There is a chain of events or transactions you might say in order to complete the deal. “not the bank but a program manager who is responsible for everything and is authorized by the Feds to select investors, prepare all documents and upon receipt of the proceeds, to use some part of them to buy a new portion of U.S. Debt to lock into an approved bank. To get into a trade Program, you have to be qualities or be able to comply with all of the requirements, which is to “provide a project and we capable of investing a minimum amount of funds. So, Layton, is what you would call a Trade manager. But, there are so many other players you will need a scorecard to follow them but the author is so methodical and meticulous in his descriptions that even someone like myself that has no background in this field can easily follow the events.
Pototskiy listening, heard and then decided to go into this venture where we meet Mark, who seems to be the strongest player along with him. Not fully versed in this field or if he had been would have been aware that these special programs outlined by a man named Mitchell, introduced to him by Mark, and others did not and never did exist. Now, you get it, this was one big fact SCAM that sent a chain of events across the ocean and back and billions not millions of dollars were lost by so many. Hiding behind banks, names that sounded real, government agencies that were made up and told that in order to be approved, as Layton claimed, you needed an approved manager, no one thought to look into the one man that started it all and no won ever saw the huge red flags that kept coming up every time there was a snag. Lies, betrayals, espionage, fraud, deceit, double talking and definitely some fancy financial footwork, our author was positive that Layton was a certified manager, bought he what he said, hook, line and singer, called in favors to get his visas renewed, spent tons on travel, gave upfront money and never bothered to look back. With Layton saying that he would be able to get the financing need to complete the real estate project that was given to them by the Russian Prime Minister. Told that the assets he needed to procure the deal were happily housed or deposited in a Swiss security house and insured by a reputable insurance company. Never trust the word of anyone and always triple check.
Journal of a Russian Businessman: -40°F takes readers inside the minds of those who aim to defraud. Hard to believe after reading this that the events are real, the maze of transactions quite extensive and the end result you have to read it for yourself. Just how far would you go to get rich? Before all is finally said and done you will not believe how many transactions were posed, those that actually might have done through, the money that changed hands and the events that finally awaked the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to what was going on. From the FBI to Interpol to other police agencies the investigation was worldwide and the traveling to try to get these deals done extensive. As a high- ranking government official why would he decide to go into business in order to find Trade Programs that hide behind the curtain you might say and hopefully will yield his new company millions. So, naïve yet so anxious to succeed he never realizes he is being blindsided by the very company he working for.
When the truth comes out and the final accounting occurs you just won’t believe how many links are in this fraudulent chain, how many people are involved and what happens when our author is brought into speak to the police and learns just who was behind the scam. According to the books from Keystone the money was spent on the original project or the Tsar’s Garden. But, checking into it they learned some harsh realities. When you read page 219 you will learn just how you gain government approval. Why the author left working for the government and Shulman’s difficulties in getting the loan. Sometimes someone right in front of you needs to be watched even closer. One shrewd woman would bring it all down but how: you will never guess. Banks playing by their own rules. Two men caught in the crossfire and So, when the person in charge or his old friend Vasiliev asked him to write down the events I guess I am reading it now. If you want it summed up read page 229.
This is one story that kept this reader glued to the printed page for every transaction, deal and the final result. What happens who thinks he/she can get away with it all? Find out when you read Journal of a Russian Businessman- 40degrees F equals -40C. Interesting to say the least.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer