How to avoid criminal prosecution after swindling more than half a million people and stealing tens of millions of dollars? Alexander Pan (Prochukhan), the infamous creator of the largest financial scam Questra World, knows the exact answer to this question. Having gained multi-million capital thanks to his creation, a corporation comprised of 4 financial pyramids – Questra World, QW Lianora Swiss, AGAM, FWAM, having laundered them through multi-level scams, and having left all the investors penniless, the Ukrainian fraudster Alexander Pan (Prochukhan) wants to dodge criminal responsibility for his actions and is doing whatever he can to stay out of prison. Moreover, the man is very afraid that, soon, everyone whom he has lied to over the past several years will finally learn he’s the actual scam organizer. In his attempts to protect himself, the scammer, along with his closest partner Cheslav Konyukh (Pestiuk), developed a strategy designed to ensure the criminals’ safety.
It’s well known that this crook never goes anywhere in Kiev without a team of bodyguards. Alexander Pan has handled his residence on a grand scale altogether. He is registered in an apartment owned by him in an elite residential complex in the Ukrainian capital, as documented in the form he filled when receiving his new passport with his newly changed last name (the scammer changed his last name to Pan in July 2018). Also, after closing withdrawals from Questra World and the other pyramids, the scammer hid behind the tall fence of the mansion he rents next to Poroshenko’s son’s residence in a village with a security gate, round-the-clock street patrol, and 24/7 video surveillance.
However, while the risk of being hurt by angry investors can be decreased with security measures, the issues of interest to law enforcement are much harder to resolve. Here is where Alexander Pan showed outstanding energy and creativity. As soon as the scammer and his partner Cheslav Konyukh (Pestiuk) realized it was time to withdraw the money from the pyramids, they began simultaneously designing a plan to divert the attention of law enforcement authorities and investors from themselves.
The men initially hid they true roles in the corporation behind top-leader masks, presenting individuals they had hired in advance as the fraudulent scheme’s managers. In addition, the scammers skillfully used to their advantage the fact that their target audience wasn’t very clear on the difference between the company’s founders and its directors, or, as they were called in Questra World, presidents. That way the criminals artificially created a confusion which made it hard for the investors to believe from the start that Alexander Pan (Prochukhan and Cheslav Konyuk (Pestiuk) are the founders of a four-pyramid chain – the men were persistently seen as ordinary investors who have succeeded in reaching the highest director positions in the structure.
Regardless of the investors’ refusal to believe the facts, the risk of being exposed remained very high for Alexander Pan and Cheslav Konyukh. The scammers decided, therefore, to launch a black PR campaign aimed at discrediting a third party. For the role of a lightning rod they chose the already infamous Pavel Gennadievich Krymov. Considering his far from stellar reputation, he was a perfect target – the man was known in the investment world for organizing and developing the Forex Trend investment fund which later went bankrupt. The Questra World scammers’ choice was influenced also by the fact that their victim was of Ukrainian descent – it guaranteed protection to the pyramid’s true creators who were certain that with a correctly planned information attack, all suspicions will definitely fall directly on their compatriot.
The work for creating an information smoke screen aimed to convince everyone that Pavel Krymov was the pyramid’s organizer was carried in several directions.
1. Fake Krymov
Even though Pavel Krymov had been involved in some suspicious financial projects, he had never had any relationship with Questra World. This created some problems for the pyramid’s organizers because their purpose was to convince people that this man had created the corporation. For that reason, Alexander Pan (Prochukhan) and Cheslav Konyukh (Pestiuk) requested that Tatyana Grushko, manager of Questra World’s PR Department, find an actor who’s a Krymov look-alike to play his role. The search took place in the spring of 2017. When payouts were stopped to Germany, Kazakhstan, and several other countries, the bogus Pavel Krymov’s transformation was in full swing. The actor had to lose weight and undergo dental work and cosmetic surgery. As a result, he became an almost identical image of the scammers’ chosen target.
After transforming Pavel Krymov’s double, they took him to one of the pyramid’s events, had him sit in the first row, and took a couple of pictures of him which were later used as direct proof of the man’s involvement with Questra World. So far nobody has asked themselves the question why there are only blurry pictures from a single angle, taken in a single evening, even though the pyramid held events on a regular basis – if Pavel Krymov was involved in the scam, he would’ve probably appeared on presentations, leadership seminars, and other gatherings more often. The double was used for other things, too. The actor was engaged in a video in which he, playing Pavel Krymov, admitted to organizing scams and gave whole interviews on the topic. The fraudsters disseminated the video online, and the users started believing the lies concocted to protect the pyramid’s true creators Alexander Pan and Cheslav Konuykh.
2. Stopkrymov.com and the Internet mass media
On the specially created site stopkrymov.com, Alexander Pan (Prochukhan) and Chesav Komuykh (Pestiuk) regularly post information which exposes the alleged Questra World owners. Each article is meant to persuade the readers that Pavel Krymov is behind the pyramid’s creation and is guilty of causing half a million investors to lose their money. If we put emotions aside and critically evaluate everything discussed on the portal, it becomes clear that the site administrators have no compelling arguments proving Krymov’s guilt. Moreover, about half a year ago, some facts appeared online, confirming that stopkrymov.com is handled by the same people who manage the official website of the Questra World financial pyramid.
The lack of evidence didn’t stop Questra World’s real managers Alexander Pan and Cheslav Konyukh from paying for a whole set of publications in various media. At that time, withdrawals from the pyramid were closed everywhere. As a result, at one point the web was overrun with eye-catching titles like “Pavel Krymov – Creator of Questra World”. The journalists just strengthened the investor’s belief that Krymov is to blame for their troubles, even though ample proof had made its way online that Alexander Pan (then still Prochukhan) and Cheslav Konyukh (known to everyone as Pestiuk) had stolen the investors’ money from the accounts of the pyramids they themselves created.
3. Fictitious criminal charge
The subsequent action took place in the country which was paying the greatest attention to the pyramid’s activities – Kazakhstan. When Questra World’s inevitable collapse began, and the scammers’ accomplices Fanis Dzhuraev and Stanislav Kravtsov, also serving as the project’s supervisors and coordinators in the CIS, fell out of the swindled investors’ sight, Alexander Pan and Cheslav Konyukh assessed the situation and developed a complete strategy for concealing the crime evidence, which went way beyond the Internet and fake videos. To avoid being charged with organizing financial pyramids, tax evasion, fraud on an especially large scale, and other activities, the scammers exerted pressure on a member of Kazakhstan’s investigative authorities, following which fictitious criminal charges were brought against Pavel Krymov.
In February 2018, Pavel Gennadievich Krymov was arrested at the Moscow Airport and held at the capital city’s pretrial detention unit. According to our information, the man has never been in Kazakhstan, and he stated so before the court at the time the preventive measure for him was determined. The arrest of the scammers’ target caused a stir among the public – the news instantly flew around the press (with the true pyramid creators’ assistance).
Let us point out right away that Pavel Krymov wasn’t the criminals’ only target. The smear campaign impacted the Czech payment system Worldcore which is fighting the scammers’ attacks to this day.This topic deserves a separate discussion; we will talk about how the fraudsters are trying to frame Worldcore in one of our upcoming materials.
All of this pointed the investigation at a false trail, thus helping Questra World’s main ideologist Alexander Pan (Prochukhan) and the other members of the organized crime group he created disappear from the investors’ and law enforcement authorities’ sight.
As a result, the scammers’ and Questra World creators’ track record has grown to include a number of additional Penal Code articles such as defamation and knowingly making a false accusation. And in total, this will yield more than ten years of confinement inside the charitable organization – the minimum-security one.