Gone in Sixty Seconds

Investigation of giant-scale cases of smuggling of luxury cars to Russia finished GUBOP(Office for Combating Organized Crime) staff and Investigations Committee in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russian Federation (SC). According to their material, a significant portion of Russia's elite - artists, politicians, directors, businessmen, tycoons and just wealthy people - are still driving, although new, but illegal, most of them openly stolen limousines. This is about hundreds of representational «Mercedes», «Lexus», «Lincoln», jeeps «Grand Cherokee», «Ford Ekspedishn», «Bentley», «Land Rover», «Jaguar», «Hammer» etc. that had been stolen in the United States in the style of the popular movie «steal in 60 seconds». People from Eastern Europe, like the heroes of the films, managed to abduct a leading U.S. showrooms in a few minutes before a dozen cars of prestigious brands, and then move them to the CIS(The Commonwealth of Independent States). Next, using his connections in the power structures, the Russian swindlers formalized cars in traffic police and offered them for sale all the wealthy citizens. Exit at the whole chain fraudsters detectives were able after lasting nearly two years investigating with FBI and secret services of Ukraine. And in those countries for their cooperation with smugglers their posts have lost a number of responsible officers.

Vadim Aleksandrov

Batches of the most prestigious and sometimes rare cars began to disappear from the largest automobile showrooms of America in 1998 - 1999 years, long before «Gone in 60 seconds» came out on screen, and it is possible that the events described in the current criminal case formed part of a movie script. The actual operation of take cars, like in the movie in less than 60 seconds. So, 27 September 1998 in the town of Scarborough (Maine), in one the company disappeared in one night, six «Land Rover». October 28, the company Prestige Lexus (Remsi, New Jersey) was stolen ten «Lexus». November 29, from the company «Berdik Lincoln-Mercury» (a suburb of New York) lost nine «Lincoln Navigator» and one «Lincoln Town Car» etc. etc. Similar cases of recurrent theft of prestigious cars lasted until August 1999. Later, most of the missing limos «emerged» in CIS countries.

Even now, when it became aware of the details of these truly virtuosic thefts, it became clear that they were professional hijackers of the Baltic states, Czech Republic, Slovakia and other Eastern European countries. They were armed with not only the electronic keys from expensive alarm systems, but also scanners that are configured on the police wave. The work has not brought trouble for the hijackers , and the foreign cars then were moved to other automobile showrooms controlled by mafia. Then the Russians took over the whole operation: Oleg Kulkov, Vadim Alexandrov, Yuri Pirogov, Alexander & Alexander Kamnev Hog (names changed in the interest of the investigation). They pay hijackers with cash brought from Moscow in briefcases , and their assistants moved cars to special parking. Other cars were moved on order Kulkov and his associates. Cars were abducted from ordinary Americans, obtained forged documents for the rental, lease, etc.Then began an operation to transfer them abroad.

To do this, they used multiple schemes. The first cars are loaded into containers on ships under the guise of a used automobile tires.Another way is, cars were loaded into containers on ships as actual cars but documents indicating of number of engines of other not stolen cars. Russian investigators suspect in all these cases, con artists did not work without the help of some representatives of the U.S. Customs Service.And on these facts the Americans now must lead separate investigation.

Then containers followed to the Ukraine in Ilyichevsk port where the goods meet the Kulkov from comrades. They conveyed the goods into the hands of drivers, and they moved the cars to Russia.In Moscow, cars were registered as stolen or borrowed at the time (for money) passports, whose holders and should by law to pay all customs duties, but, understandably, did not. For example, one old lady was official owner ten prestigious cars, including several «Lexus», «Hummer», «Lincoln» and «Mercedes-600». Despite the apparent doubtfulness accompanying paper machines and even lack of punch on the payment of customs duties, some units of traffic police registered limos in the shortest possible time. And sometimes this is done even before as cars hit in Russia. As soon as the cars were officially registered, Kulkov and his partners then sold them at dumping prices.

Thus, on 21 July 1998 in Ilyichevsk of the United States on board «Suzanne Seth» arrived two containers with four jeeps «Grand Cherokee». Cars were flown to Moscow, registered and then sold. On 23 August the ship «Mandala» delivered on the same port three containers with three «Lexus». September 2, on the same path traveled another two «Lexus», and after 20 days - two «Lincoln Navigator». September 2, on the same path traveled another two «Lexus», and after 20 days - two «Lincoln Navigator». October 12, from the United States in Moscow transit through Ilyichevsk to submit two «Hammer» etc. A list of delivery to take several volumes and all were a few hundred, most «Land Rover», «Lexus», «Lincoln Navigator», etc. arrived in Russia is usually exactly one month after hijacking shipments of similar machines from American showrooms.

When the stolen cars in the United States have become increasingly apparent in Moscow, registration department began, understandably, refuse swindlers in their registration. However, the smugglers quickly find exit. Under Russian law, if the stolen car was found by police, but it was refused formally to bring this fact a criminal case, the cars can be registered for the new owner. Therefore, Kulkov and his comrades were sent in "special" police in Moscow and even long before the announcement limousines in the international search was requested give them a certificate that, about discovery of stolen «Lexus»,«Hammer» etc. in instituting proceedings is denied. Obzavedyas such documents, swindlers easily register their foreign cars in the same MREO on stolen or bought the passport. With such documents, swindlers can easily register their cars in the same registration department on stolen or bought passports. But later, this option has become impossible: from the Ministry of Internal Affairs arrived at the order of such inquiries not extradite.

Swindlers are not going to give up and use a loophole in the law. They began to bring in registration department ready solutions courts which obliged the traffic police to register the car.There are already police officers were powerless, and limousines from «Kulkov and associates» obediently put on record. When special services interested in such practices, some workers of the two courts retired, and the swindlers had to switch to a forgery.At the time, burned down a building Timiryazevskaya Court of Moscow, and it was his decision to register a limo of fraudsters. At first check the authenticity of the documents is not possible - the entire archive of the court destroyed the fire. But recent examination showed that they were forgery.

Owners of dubious cars by cause entanglement cases remain on the sidelines.While investigators do not conceal that, among them many well-known throughout the country people. In search of customers Kulkov communicated with friends with many celebrities, and - as if by cronyism - always invite them to buy new foreign cars slightly cheaper than its real prices. Normally people are not interested in the causes of such «discount» for exclusive cars and their origins.

Now from five swindlers managed to arrest three: Borov, Pirogov and Kamnev. The investigation against them is over, and they are already preparing for trial. Alexandrov and Kulkov is still wanted. The FBI in this story still continuing the investigation. And in the Ukraine because of the machinations with cars at the port Ilyichevsk at the end of last year, was a big scandal.They caught the next batch of smuggled cars from «Kulkov and partners»,, after which positions have lost a number of customs officers - not only local but also from Kiev.

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