Paritate Bank victim of fowl scam

  • 2000-07-27
RIGA- Three men were indicted in New York last week after police there said they attempted to bilk a Riga bank out of $3.5 million using 10 million pounds of frozen chicken they didn't own as collateral.

Nickolai Kouznetsov, his son Serguei Kouznetsov of the United States and Igor Ilchenko of Estonia were indicted by grand jury in a Manhattan court on July 18 with grand larceny after fraudulently applying for millions of dollars in loans from Riga's Paritate Bank in 1998 and 1999.

Kouznetsov, 28, who recently moved from New York back to Russia, was apprehended July 21 while visiting his children in the United States, according to the Associated Press. He is being held without bail at the Rikers Island Jail, according to authorities in New York.

Nickolai Kouznetsov, 48, and Ilchenko, 38, remain at large, according to reports.

The trio are accused of presenting false bills of ownership to several banks including Paritate Bank that showed they owned a shipment of frozen chicken that was bound by ship to Estonia for distribution in Russia. Paritate Bank gave issued loans with the chicken as collateral in late 1998 and early 1999.

But the chicken had already been sold, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office alleges.

The FBI's attaché in Tallinn would not comment on the case. Paritate officials released a statement soon after the indictments stating that the bank expects to get the money back.

"Paritate Bank has no reason to consider the (loans) as lost," the statement read.

In addition to the alleged Paritate scam, Manhattan District officials believe the three men may have been involved in similar schemes that could total $35 million, AP reported.