US citizen a key player in alleged Italian telecom fraud

A Rome judge has issued an arrest warrant for Eugene Gourevitch for his alleged role in a US$2.7 billion scam

By Philip Willan, IDG News Service |  Legal

An apparently well-connected Soviet-born U.S. citizen has emerged as a key player in a massive Italian telecom fraud, according to court documents and published reports.

Rome Judge Aldo Morgigni has issued an arrest warrant for Eugene Gourevitch, believed to have been born in the Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan and who has reportedly held a U.S. passport since 1990, for alleged involvement in a fraud that is said to have siphoned an astonishing US$2.7 billion from the wholesale telephony divisions of Telecom Italia SpA and Fastweb SpA between 2003 and 2006.

Gourevitch's Italian associates allegedly employed fictitious receipts for telephony services to fraudulently claim more than $400 million in value added tax from the Italian authorities through a so-called "carousel fraud." Judge Morgigni's 1,600 page arrest warrant claims Gourevitch used his international contacts and financial expertise to help the Italian criminals launder their illicit profits.

Charging Gourevitch with criminal conspiracy and money laundering, Judge Morgigni alleged the U.S. citizen had "created, managed and used... a series of companies through which he moved an enormous quantity of money constituting the 'cuts' destined for the various members of the conspiracy".

Reportedly aged 33 and with an address in Long Island City, New York, Gourevitch is said to have helped to open accounts at a bank in Vienna to launder money from two companies allegedly involved in the fraud, Planetarium Srl and Global Phone Network Srl.

Gourevitch had been used by his criminal associates over a significant period of time "because of his connections in Switzerland and other states, because of his status as an expert in company organization and international money laundering," Morgigni wrote.

An online curriculum says "Gourevitch is an American entrepreneur with over 10 years experience in investment banking and management consulting." He was president of Virage Consulting Ltd, a U.S. based management consultancy between 2001 and 2007, and a director of Asian Universal Bank (AUB), a commercial bank based in the Kyrgyz Republic, between 2006 and 2009. Other managerial roles included senior vice-president of Investment Bank of Africa, CEO of a New York hedge fund, Gamma Square Partners, and director of GSN Tech LLC, described as an "offshore software development" company.

In a Twitter posting sent on January 19, Gourevitch responded to allegations of money laundering at the Asian Universal Bank under the heading: "Some undeserved answers for Argodan." The allegations had been refuted after a thorough audit by the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic and the international detective agency Kroll Associates, he claimed.

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