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Thread: Billionaire Russian Hobbyist Busted For "Aggravated Procuring" In France

  1. #1
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    Billionaire Russian Hobbyist Busted For "Aggravated Procuring" In France

    Russian Billionaire Detained in France
    By THIERRY BOINET, Associated Press Writer
    Thu Jan 11, 5:43 PM

    GRENOBLE, France - Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia's wealthiest men who made his billions in nickel and gold, was taken into custody by French police in a crackdown on a suspected prostitution ring at a swank Alpine ski resort, officials said Thursday.

    The athletic, 6-foot-7 Prokhorov is often described as Russia's most eligible bachelor. Even among Russia's big-spending business elite, he has a reputation for organizing lavish parties.

    Investigators suspect Russian call girls were brought to the resort in Courchevel, a favored playground of Russia's rich, to work during the winter holidays, prosecutor Xavier Richaud said. Clients allegedly paid the women with gifts from luxury boutiques.

    A total of 26 people were taken in for questioning Tuesday, Richaud said. As of Thursday, 15 _ including Prokhorov _ were still being held in the southeast city of Lyon, officials close to the investigation said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

    Among those detained, the officials said, was an Austrian who runs a travel agency and is suspected of helping the Russian women find their way to two luxury hotels at the ski resort.

    Some of the 15 could be placed under investigation _ a step short of being charged _ as early as Friday. They would face counts of "aggravated procuring in an organized band" and "criminal association," the officials said.

    Martine Monteil, director of France's judicial police, said earlier that a Russian tycoon was in custody for allegedly offering young women to his guests. She did not identify Prokhorov by name.

    Prokhorov, the 41-year-old chief executive of a Russian mining giant, is ranked No. 89 on Forbes magazine's 2006 list of the world's richest people. He is worth $6.4 billion, according to Forbes, largely thanks to his holding in OAO Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer, and Polyus Gold, Russia's biggest gold miner.

    A keen basketball player, Prokhorov has used his wealth to acquire Euroleague basketball champions CSKA. Skiing, jet skiing and kickboxing are among his favorite sports. He divides his time between Norilsk, Moscow, Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, and Courchevel, where he owns a chalet.

    The arrests occurred in several hotels at fashionable Courchevel, which has its own airstrip that can accommodate private jets. Russian tycoons flock to the resort over the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.

    Investigators also seized $65,000 at two four-star hotels in Courchevel, an official working on the probe said. The official was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity. No drugs or weapons were found.

    Those questioned include seven Russian women about 20 years old, as well as people suspected of helping bring the women to France, the official said. It was unclear whether the women were among those still in custody.

    Police suspect the women involved worked only occasionally as prostitutes and that their pay likely came mainly in the form of expensive presents from luxury boutiques in the ski station, the investigating official said.

    That practice is also used by some prostitutes in the chic beach resorts of the French Riviera. The official said the giving of gifts could complicate efforts to prove the women were prostitutes and not simply friends.

    Police began the investigation last year after noticing suspicious trips by young Russian women heading through Geneva to the French Alps, with tickets booked through Austrian travel agencies, the official said. Investigators were on the lookout for two waves of prostitutes arriving in Courchevel during the 2006-07 holiday season.

    Sergei Chernitsyn, head of the press department with Norilsk Nickel, said the company had received no information about Prokhorov's arrest. He called the allegations "absurd."

    "We expect him back at work on Monday," Chernitsyn said. The spokesman added that the company was "operating to plan" and would not be affected by Prokhorov's detention.

    Based on Russia's Arctic edge in the Taimyr Peninsula, Norilsk Nickel also has the world's biggest reserves of palladium, and its mines were at one point worked by inmates of Josef Stalin's gulag.

  2. #2
    I thought prostitution was legal in France?

    Is France more conservative than Quebec?

  3. #3
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    Prostitution is legal in France but pimping is not, Robert De Niro got caught in a similar sting a few years back.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    Clients allegedly paid the women with gifts from luxury boutiques.
    I'm annoyed by this... granted the key word is 'allegedly' but if it turns out so, then how is giving a gift illegal and how is having sex illegal, and finally, how is having sex in exchange for gifts illegal. That's how, I imagine, the vast majority of marriages are set-up. Husband pays for wife's shoes; she sleeps with him.
    Amantes sunt amentes.

  5. #5
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    Agrippa-

    Very good questions. I don't know much about French law but the whole thing sounds very BS to me and will likely be resolved in part with a large charitable contribution by Prokhorov to the prosecutor's favorite charity. It's a political shakedown. The French prosecutors don't give a rat's ass about those young Russian girls.

  6. #6
    GUYS!!!!!!Wrong! Prostitution is tolerated in France but not legal. Prostitution as a private act between two person is not considered as organized procuring....but, here is the story: until 1946 prostitution was legal...after world war II, Marthe Richard wrote a law to close all the 'maisons closes-bordel' and consider prostitution and procuring as a crime. In 1949 most of occidental countries signed the United Nations convention against prostitution except France....10 year later the moratory was about to end & France finally signed the document, since that Sollicitating and procuring are punished.
    Last edited by Jou; 01-13-2007 at 09:37 PM.

  7. #7
    A poor corrupt official
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    In the last 5 years the French have cracked down hard on all forms of prostitution--from streetwalkers to high-class escorts. To understand how bad the situation is for clients and girls, read the main French review site Escortfr.net. Most French guys are so discouraged by the situation that they don't even try to find girls in France anymore. Instead they go to Germany, Holland, and Belgium.

    These Russians thought they were outsmarting French LE, but they were asking for trouble given the current climate in France. It's very similar to what's been going on in the US--there's an alliance of left-wing and right-wing opponents of prostitution who are setting the agenda, passing new laws and stepping up enforcement. France is still a wonderful country to visit as a tourist but don't plan on getting laid there unless you bring or can find your own girlfriend there.
    Strasser: By the way, the murder of the couriers, what has been done?
    Renault: Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.
    Heinze: We already know who the murderer is.
    Strasser: Good. Is he in custody?
    Renault: Oh, there's no hurry. Tonight he'll be at Rick's. Everybody comes to Rick's.

  8. #8
    fuck me...

    If i was Prokhorov, i'd say fuck you France, i'm taking my 6.4billion elsewhere to spend, and all my rich buddies are coming along with me.

    Hehehe.. I can only imagine if one of us merbites were the President of a country how we'd treat prostitution and how we would handle situations in this area...

    I for one... would probably have a big "sexy party" (stuey from family guy) and have some of the finest women in the country come to a chalet or Mansion in Mont tremblanc or Whistler and invite some of the richest and horniest men to come and enjoy a week long stay. And with this idea... I would probably cover for all their expense at the place and all the fucking and eating and drinking they want for the week.. in hopes that they bring their time and money and ppl and invest it into Canada...

    I mean.. what's investing a few mil, to make friends with a nice handful of billionaire friends and making them happy and then make them wanting to come back to Canada more and maybe do business with us...

    But thats just me and my imagination of being the prime minister of Canada... for now... I'll just stare at my computer for 10 hours a day...

  9. #9
    What was the story with Robert De Niro???

  10. #10
    A poor corrupt official
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    According to a report in today's Wall Street Journal, the French have released Russian billionaire Prokhorov, but not because they believed his story about his Russian "girlfriends." The real reason is that the hotel and boutique owners in the ski town of Courchevel have become addicted to the extravagant spending of rich Russians like Prokhorov and they pressured French prosecutors not to make a case against him. You can always count on the French to change their minds for financial reasons.


    Alpine Haven
    For Rich Russians
    Gets Quite a Scare
    When Billionaire Prokhorov
    Is Detained, French Town
    Frets About Big Spenders
    January 17, 2007

    COURCHEVEL, France -- "Here's to Mikhail!"

    At Piggys' Bar in this ski resort Friday night, Patrick Vincent raised his flute of Luxor champagne with 23-karat gold flakes to toast the release of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

    "It's such a relief that he was freed," said Mr. Vincent, a nightclub owner here. "To me, he's Sir Mikhail."

    French police had detained the 41-year-old chief executive officer of Russian mining giant OAO Norilsk Nickel and several of his friends for four days last week as part of an investigation into an alleged prostitution ring. Prosecutors ended up not pressing charges.

    The incident gripped this tiny corner of the Alps and put a spotlight on how high-rolling Russian billionaires have transformed the place in recent years.

    During his January holiday here, Mr. Prokhorov flew in a Russian rock band called Zveri for an outdoor concert at the foot of the ski slopes, according to the band manager. At another event, guests danced as fireworks illuminated the valley below. Mr. Prokhorov dined at Le Tremplin restaurant, where a bottle of cognac sells for more than $23,000, and treated 80 friends to a private bowling tournament in the town's eight-lane alley, Courchevel officials said. He bought a $388,000 wristwatch, a French prosecutor said...

    ...Today, about 5,000 Russians flock to Courchevel during the first two weeks of January to celebrate their Christmas. In a period of days, the town makes more money than most of the neighboring French ski resorts, such as Méribel and Val Thorens, make in a year, according to the tourism office here...

    ...The town has built four new luxury hotels over the past three years, including Cheval Blanc, which is owned by Bernard Arnault, chairman of the big luxury goods group, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

    At Cheval Blanc, suites go for more than $20,000 a night during high season. From Jan. 14 onward, prices fall to about $12,000 a day, according to a hotel manager...

    ...Recently, as Russia's oil-fueled riches have spilled over to a widening class of wealthy executives, Courchevel's guests have included many Russian families willing to blow $40,000 to $80,000 a week on a chalet with nannies and chef, according to town officials.

    ...During his six-hour interrogation, Mr. Prokhorov said: "The parties, the girls are my philosophy of life," according to Mr. Richaud, the prosecutor. Judges looking into the case eventually released Mr. Prokhorov and his colleagues on Friday evening without pressing charges. A spokesman for Norilsk Nickel in Russia said the whole case was a "regrettable misunderstanding."

    For the small businesses of Courchevel, the release was a welcome move as many had already started fretting that Mr. Prokhorov -- and other Russians --might not come back.

    "What was the big idea -- to put us out of business?" asked Mr. Tournier, owner of Le Lana hotel.

    By midnight on Friday, the mood had brightened. At Les Caves nightclub, a group of young Russians took to the dance floor. One of them ordered a fourth bottle of Cristal champagne at more than $3,800.
    Strasser: By the way, the murder of the couriers, what has been done?
    Renault: Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.
    Heinze: We already know who the murderer is.
    Strasser: Good. Is he in custody?
    Renault: Oh, there's no hurry. Tonight he'll be at Rick's. Everybody comes to Rick's.

  11. #11
    A poor corrupt official
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack
    What was the story with Robert De Niro???
    During the filming in Paris of the 1998 movie Ronin (great movie with a great car chase scene), De Niro was questioned by French police about his supposed use of some high-class escorts. He wasn't charged, but he didn't like the way he was treated and vowed never to return to France...he probably got confused when he was in Paris and thought things worked the same as in Montreal.
    Strasser: By the way, the murder of the couriers, what has been done?
    Renault: Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.
    Heinze: We already know who the murderer is.
    Strasser: Good. Is he in custody?
    Renault: Oh, there's no hurry. Tonight he'll be at Rick's. Everybody comes to Rick's.

  12. #12
    I find it hard to believe that Robert de Niro has to pay girls to have sex with him. Wouldn't he have hot female fans just dying to be with him?

  13. #13
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    nOOb,

    First of all, DeNiro likes black girls, and second, going back to Errol Flynn, actors have traditionally been major hobbyists because they are always on location somewhere and it is not easy for most actors to have relationships, even fleeting ones with groupies. Just because there are groupies around does not mean you necessarily want to fuck one of them. In reality most of them are young, crazy and potential lawsuits waiting to happen and tell alls to the tabloids waiting to happen (not to mention average looking). Also, I seriously doubt DeNiro had a lot of attractive black female groupies when he was in France on that occasion.

    With an SP, you pay for silence, no lawsuit, and when it's over she leaves. As Flynn said, you pay for her to leave. Groupies don't leave, dude.

    There is not a lot to understand if you think about it.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 01-20-2007 at 07:45 PM.

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