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Welcome Home, Comrade

The Washington Post.

March 17, 2004
Meanwhile, the effort continues to outsource former Russian banker Alex Konanykhin to the welcoming arms of former KGB thug... Konanykhin, one of the first Russian millionaires after the fall of the commies, left in 1992 and built a thriving Weh4 advertising business in New York City...

In the Loop

The Washington Post.

February 13, 2004
So imagine Konanykhin's surprise when he got a breathless fax from the National Republican Congressional Committee saying he had been chosen "New York Businessman of the Year." "As such, you will be honored and presented with your award," NRCC chairman Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) said, at a "special ceremony" April 1. " President Bush and Governor [ Arnold] Schwarzenegger are our special invited guests ..," the Reynolds invite said.

The Konanykhine Case

The New American Magazine. February 1, 2004

Alexander Konanykhine is a wildly successful 37-year-old Russian expatriate entrepreneur. ... He is a man who blew the whistle on the KGB's continuing stranglehold on Russia, particularly its banking industry. For this, the government of KGB veteran Vladimir Putin wants Konanykhine dead -- and our Department of Homeland Security has done its best to give Moscow a helping hand.

Deportation Threat Lifted

Decisions Allow Russian to Stay in U.S. Indefinitely

The Washington Post.

January 30, 2004
A jet-setting Russian businessman and political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin has won two rounds in his battle against the U.S. government's efforts to send him back to his native land.

U.S. Rethinks Konanykhin Case

The Moscow Times.

January 29, 2004
The decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals is an unexpected about-face from its Nov. 20 ruling, which found no basis for Konanykhin's asylum status in the United States and ordered his deportation. The board said at the time that there was no evidence the Russian justice system was corrupt or could be used as an instrument of political persecution.

Immigration Panel Backs Off Effort to Deport Russian Banker
Appeals board raises questions about fairness of Russian justice system

The Baltimore Sun.

January 28, 2004
An immigration appeals panel reversed yesterday its decision to send former Russian banker Alex Konanykhin back to Russia, ending a deportation effort that was sharply criticized by a federal judge this week. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III had expressed dismay with the Department of Homeland Security for its insistence that Konanykhin be sent back to Russia. One of the first post-Soviet Russian millionaires, he fled to the United States in 1992, saying his life was in danger from ex-KGB officers and Russian mobsters.

Judge Rules U.S. Erred In Arresting Russian
Emigre May Be Freed During Deportation Appeal

The Washington Post.

January 27, 2004
A federal judge ruled yesterday that homeland security agents should not have arrested a jet-setting Russian businessman… Judge T.S. Ellis III … took the action as he blasted the government's long-standing effort to deport Konanykhine, who has had close dealings with opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin... He added yesterday: "Not a lot of this makes me proud of my government."

Judge Says U.S. Can't Deport Banker to Russia Yet


January 26, 2004
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, who has repeatedly accused the U.S. government of wanting to deport Alexander Konanykhin just to carry out a special deal with Moscow, said the banker could stay in the country..

INS Says Court's Decision Irrelevant

The Moscow Times.

January 19, 2004
On Thursday a senior officer for the INS conceded that the service had "a special interest" in sending Konanykhin back to Moscow. "Konanykhin was of special interest to the U.S. government," Lisa Hoechst, acting chief for the INS team charged with the businessman's "removal" to Russia, said in testimony. "… they wanted us to remove him before any additional suits could be filed," she said.

U.S. Judge Questions Russian's Detention

The Moscow Times.

January 16, 2004
Court hearings on the arrest and attempted deportation to Moscow of banker-turned-software magnate Alexander Konanykhin, who says he fears death if returned, went into a second day Thursday. Even though the presiding judge on Wednesday accused the U.S. government of entering into a special pact with Russian authorities to speed up Konanykhin's deportation to Russia, the outcome was still unclear by press time.

Judge Says U.S. Has Deal with Russia to Deport Banker


January 14, 2004
A federal judge on Wednesday accused the U.S. government of having a special deal with Moscow to deport a former Russian banker and prevent him from exhausting an effort to seek asylum in the United States. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis rebuked the government..

Banker Linked to Jailed Russian Fighting to Stay in U.S.

The New York Times.

January 10, 2004
A week before Christmas, a green BMW rolled up to the Canadian border near Buffalo. As the driver, Alexandre Konanykhine, a Russian seeking political asylum in Canada, paid a bridge toll to leave the United States about a dozen armed federal agents surrounded his car and arrested him.. Mr. Konanykhine left Menatep in 1994, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation notified him a year later that Russian organized crime figures had paid to have him killed..

Couple, Tied to Putin Foes, Fights Deportation

The Washington Post.

January 9, 2004
Since arriving in the United States with his wife in 1993, Konanykhine has lived a life of extremes. He has gone from being a jet-setting Internet banker with an apartment in the Watergate and matching his-and-hers BMWs, to a prisoner, to a political refugee, to a successful businessman again and back to a prisoner, awaiting deportation. Along the way, he has made and lost millions of dollars and been the target of CIA and FBI investigators, a Russian military prosecutor and, according to court testimony, a Russian mafia hit man. At one point in his immigration proceedings, a frustrated judge threw up his hands, saying the entire case "is such a stretch that it might be a novel by Tom Clancy."

Ex-banker Ordered to Return to Russia

The Baltimore Sun.

November 25, 2003
In February 1999, after a tangled legal battle that featured testimony from FBI, CIA and KGB officers, a U.S. immigration judge granted political asylum to former Russian banker Alex Konanykhin, saying he faced persecution and possible death if he were returned to Russia to face embezzlement charges. Since then, Konanykhin and his wife, Elena Gratcheva, have built an Internet advertising business ... Their Manhattan company, KMGI Studios, has been featured on CNN, and has attracted an impressive client list including Volvo and American Airlines. But now a Justice Department appeals panel has reversed the ruling and ordered Konanykhin back to Russia. The three-member panel based its conclusion on a surprisingly rosy view of Russian justice. " ... we find no evidence to suggest that the Russian government employs corruption in its criminal justice system as a tool of political persecution," the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals ruled.

A Dot-COM With Cash Flow: What'll They Think of Next?

Profit Magazine. September 2000

Keep your eye on, Inc. In the risky world of cyberstartups built on hype and stock floats, this company is different. It actually has that "unique selling proposition" that advertising and marketing mavens always look for, and it pays its bills out of the money it receives for its services. What a novel concept on the Internet! … For this comprehensive look at a very hot company, Profit Magazine interviewed Chairman and CEO Konanykhine, an amazingly talented and determined entrepreneur, who at age 33- already has a resume that would be a credit to a man 20 or 30 years older. … Alexandre Konanykhine studied space research at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, then-beginning in 1986 founded, controlled and managed a group of over 100 companies and organizations engaged in banking, investment, finance, real estate, trade, import- export, construction, consulting and information technologies, publishing, law enforcement and philanthropy.

The Getaway

The Los Angeles Daily Journal.

September 2000
Back in Moscow, officials expelled Alexandre Konanykhine from the university for being too capitalistic. His solution then was simply to move 100 kilometer away and begin anew. By age 25, Konanykhine had amassed $300 million with his groundbreaking entry into the Soviet banking and brokerage business. He has a knack for starting over. … Konanykhine … not only won his immigration case, but the judge awarded him $100,000 toward paying his pro bono counsel and ordered an investigation of the Justice Department. The Russian entrepreneur subsequently won multimillion dollar libel judgments against two Russian newspapers. These days, safely ensconced in his 49th floor Empire State Building office, headquarters of Inc., Konanykhine reflects on his latest venture and the future he foresees for it...

The Cutting Edge


June 2000
And on the Cutting Edge today, The company is an interactive advertising agency. KMGI is hoping to revolutionize the Webmercial using high impact animation and graphics - backed by audio effects - that run smoothly and load almost instantly. We make it all sound so easy. This is the guy behind it though. The company's CEO is Alex Konanykhine. And he joins me now to talk about his company.

U.S. Court Finds Kommersant Guilty of Libel

The Moscow Times.

January 25, 2000
A court in Arlington, Virginia, has awarded $3 million to controversial Russian banker Alexander Konanykhine in a libel case against the newspaper Kommersant.

Jury Awards $35.5 Million to Russian in Libel Case

The Washington Post.

December 16, 1999
Clerk of Court David Bell said the verdict appears to be without precedent. "I've been here for 29 years, and I do not recall anything even close to that," he said.

Jury Awards Russian $33M Damage Ruling

The Arlington Journal.

December 15, 1999
During a trial that included the testimony of a former American spy, an Arlington County Circuit Court jury has awarded a Russian entrepreneur and former Arlington County resident $33.5 million in damages, finding that two well-known Russian newspapers published defamatory articles about him. The compensation recommended by the six-member jury is the highest Clerk of the Court David A. Bell said he has encountered in his tenure.

Alexandre's Revolution

European Internet Network.

October 15, 1999
By all standards Alexandre Konanykhine was a entrepreneurial wunderkind in his teens. By his mid twenties he'd taken Russia's emerging market economy by storm and made himself a cool $300 million. He even had enough spare cash to donate $10 million to Boris Yeltsin's campaign to win the presidency. That was while Alexandre was still a favoured son of mother Russia and had faith in the Yeltsin establishment. Before dark forces in Russia, including corrupt KGB officers, drummed up charges alleging the young banking and property tycoon was guilty of a whole bagful of wrong doings...

Banker Tells of Kidnap by Russian Mafia

The Times.

September 6, 1999
BY THE time he was 25 he was one of the most important figures in post-Communist Russia . He had made a fortune after setting up one of Russia 's first commercial banks and lived with his wife in a 50-acre residence that was once the home of Mikhail Gorbachev. But in 1992, while on a business trip to Hungary , Alexandre Konanykhine, then chairman of the All- Russian Exchange Bank, was kidnapped by members of the "Solnetsevo" mafia group controlled by Semyon Mogilevich - the gangster allegedly linked to the laundering of billions of dollars through the Bank of New York.

The Bear on the Web

Icon Magazine.

August 1999
Alexandre Konanykhine, 32, looks nothing like a man who has been kidnapped by the KGB, robbed of his possessions, and informed by FBI special agents that there are two contracts on his life. He looks nothing like a man who has lost everything - maybe because he thinks he's just a couple of deals away from getting it all back in spades.

Russian Banker Wins Political Asylum

The Legal Times.

March 1, 1999
Branded a criminal by Russian military prosecutors and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, former Russian banker Alexandre Konanykhine won political asylum last week from the same judge who had ordered him deported more than two years ago. … The judge found that the Russian prosecutor's case against Konanykhine had been engineered in order to secure his return to Russia and punish him for exposing corruption among Russian government and business officials.

Federal Judge Grants Russian Banker Political Asylum

The Baltimore Sun.

February 23, 1999
Konanykhine apparently is the first Russian to be granted refuge from political persecution by the post-Communist government of Russia. … An internal Justice Department probe of the INS lawyers' conduct is continuing.

Konanykhine Wins U.S. Court Battle


February 23, 1999
Having taken full advantage of Gorbachev'sperestroyka in the early 1990s, Konanykhine became one of the first Russian entrepreneurs, amassing tremendous personal wealth. By age 25, he owned dozens of commercial enterprises including commodity and currency exchanges and one of Russian first privately owned commercial banks, a so called Pan-Russian Exchange Bank. He became one of the most influential people in Russia, enjoying intimately friendly relationship with top members of the Russian government and was part of Boris Yeltsin's entourage during the Russian president's 1992 visit to Washington. However, exactly at that time the trouble in paradise had begun

Russia Goes On Trial In Immigration Case

The Baltimore Sun.

December 24, 1998
In this penthouse courtroom above a gourmet deli and a Metro stop, the name on the case is that of Alexandre Konanykhine, a post-Soviet business whiz kid U.S. immigration authorities want to deport. But, in the battle of the experts weighing in on the immigration judge's excruciating dilemma, Russia itself is on trial. From a seemingly routine accusation of a false statement on a visa application more than two years ago, the Konanykhine case has blown up into a major issue in law-enforcement relations between Russia and the United States. It has spawned a Justice Department investigation of possible misconduct by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Lawsuit Charges DOJ Collusion With Russian Mafia

The Washington Weekly.

November 3, 1997
A $100 million lawsuit filed in federal court today charges the Department of Justice with collusion with the Russian Mafia. The lawsuit alleges perjury, fraud, torture, and witness tampering by named officers of the U.S. government on behalf of the Russian Mafia. The lawsuit stems from the case of Alexandre Konanykhine, a Russian banker who blew the whistle on a grand KGB scheme to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Soviet Union at the time of its collapse.

Cozy With The KGB

The New American.

September 29, 1997
Three days earlier the judge had ordered the Department of Justice to pay Konanykhine $100,000 in legal fees, which is a modest sum indeed in light of the fact that for more than a year, our government had detained Konanykhine at the behest of the KGB. In an evidentiary hearing held in late July, Judge Ellis stated that he found "credible and somewhat disturbing" the testimony of expert witnesses that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the FBI had accepted tainted evidence from Russian officials to justify the arrest of Konanykhine, in anticipation of his delivery into the hands of Russian authorities, and that this had been done as a means of cementing a working relationship between U.S. and Russian law enforcement agencies.

Judge Orders Investigation of DOJ Wrongdoing.
Heavy fallout from the Konanykhine case

The Washington Weekly.

September 1, 1997
A Virginia federal judge last week ordered the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate allegations of DOJ wrongdoing that surfaced during a hearing in his courtroom in July. During the hearing of a deportation appeal by Alexandre Konanykhine in the court of Judge T.S. Ellis, III, former KGB agent Yuri Shvets testified that the Immigration and Naturalization Service under the U.S. Justice Department was collaborating with the Russian KGB to fabricate a case that would deliver Alexandre Konanykhine to the Russian Mafia to be liquidated.

Russian Freed, INS Faces Ethics Probe

Legal Times.

September 1, 1997
.. at a July 22 hearing, a former INS attorney who originally prosecuted the cases against Konanykhine and a former agent of the KGB testified that INS officials, including District Counsel Eloise Rosas, the top lawyer in the office, had misled the court about their reasons for detaining Konanykhine and had ignored suggestions that some of the evidence against him is flawed.

Clinton Administration Aids KGB in Cover-up of Communist Party Loot

The Washington Weekly.

August 25, 1997
When Alexandre Konanykhine tried to escape the Russian Mafia, he thought himself safe in the United States. What he didn't count on was that the Russian Mafia has contacts in the U.S. Justice Department who are more than willing to bend the law...

U.S. Justice Department Agrees to Pay $100,000 to Victim of U.S.-Russian Persecution

Information Times.

August 22, 1997
The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) on Thursday agreed to pay $100,000 compensation in Alexandre P. Konanykhine Habeas Corpus case. Other compensations will be discussed starting next week. Konanykhine points out: "The KGB manipulation is getting expensive to the U.S. taxpayers."

Russian Ex-banker Released From Custody in U.S.


August 7, 1997
The version of Russian authorities is that he simply absconded with stolen money which different estimates put at eight to 300 million dollars. … Court has ruled his release from custody.

Konanykhine Update: Fall Guy Of International Criminal?

Interpreter Releases.

August 4, 1997
During the hearing on July 22, 1997, several witnesses accused INS officials of misleading the court about their real reasons for detaining Mr. Konanykhine and seeking his deportation specifically to Russia. The witnesses also accused the INS officials, including the local District Counsel, of ignoring suggestions that some of the evidence against Mr. Konanykhine was flawed. One of the witnesses Yuri V. Shvets, a former KGB intelligence officer, testified that he had been granted asylum in the U.S., but was fearful for his safety because the KGB "desperately wants to win this case, and everybody who won't step to their side would face problems."

Konanykhine's Deportation Order Stopped

The Winchester Star.

August 4, 1997
The news that INS will abandon the deportation order follows Konanykhine's release from jail July 24 after his attorneys argued during habeas corpus proceedings that he had been unfairly accused of a crime, "illegally arrested and detained," and "that the INS committed a number of unlawful and criminal acts" to keep him in jail.

Did KGB dupe INS?

Legal Times.

July 28, 1997
It was bad enough for the Immigration and Naturalization Service that it lost its yearlong battle last week to keep a Russian banker behind bars while he fights deportation. By week's end, the INS itself, as well as a high-ranking agency lawyer, had fallen under scrutiny over its handling of the case.

Judge Orders INS to Release Jailed Russian

The Washington Post.

July 24, 1997
Congress did not intend for foreign powers to pull the strings" of immigration procedures, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said tersely Tuesday night after listening to both witnesses. "I was repeatedly assured that there was no desire by the INS to deliver Mr. Konanykhine to Russia. . . . We're going to get to the bottom of this."

My Fear of The Mobski

The London Express (daily).

December 10, 1996
Konanykhine is a vocal campaigner against corruption and organized crime in Russia. … Konanykhine, 30, is now in an American prison facing deportation to Russia because of a "goodwill" gesture by the FBI to the KGB.

Russian Fights Deportation in Tale of Money, the Mob.

The USA Today.

December 2, 1996
It's a tale worthy of a spy novel, the judge said. Millionaire Russian Alexandre Konanykhine sits in a U.S. federal prison in northern Virginia, fighting deportation because he fears the mafia will kill him if he goes home.

Alexandre Konanykhine: Should He Stay or Go?

The Washington Post.

August 18, 1996
This tale is going to get complicated. We will begin as simply as possible. In a drah4 immigration courtroom in Arlington, a lanky young man is sitting serenely at the defense table. He is 29 but looks a decade younger. He manages to appear collegiate even in an olive prison jumpsuit. His ankles are held apart by leg irons, yet he appears relaxed and confident, sipping Evian water and scribbling notes as if he were studying for midterms. His name is Alexandre P. Konanykhine (pronounced Koh-nen-EE-kin), and he is a Russian national who had been living for the last three years in a $300,000 co-op at the Watergate with his wife, Elena, their exotic black cat, and puzzlingly little furniture. Each morning he shuffles into court between two guards, flashes an impish grin at his lawyer and leans over to kiss Elena, a pale, nervous and Pringle-thin woman who arrives each day in a different chic business suit.

Russian Pair in Custody, Accused of Embezzlement

The Washington Post.

June 29, 1996
The dashing Russian immigrant couple lived like prosperous jet-setters, renting a co-op in the Watergate complex and driving his-and-hers BMWs. He had once been a successful banker in Moscow, and she had movie-star looks, according to federal immigration officials. But two days ago, agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, acting in cooperation with visiting federal prosecutors from the Russian Federation, knocked on the co-op door and arrested the pair.