Author: Dmitry Pototskiy
Prior to commencing his journal, Dmitry Pototskiy, author of Journal of a Russian Businessman: -40°F informs us that his book is founded on actual events in Russia, Europe, and the United States. And if I had not initially read these words, I would have concluded that the memoir was a figment of the author’s imagination as it was so far-fetched and convoluted that no one could possibly dream up such a scam. In fact, it rivals the most creative Hollywood screenplay with its cast of shady characters, questionable financial instruments, unscrupulous bankers and cloak and dagger escapades.
Pototskiy was a government employee in Russia and when he was offered a sweetheart job as president of a financial company associated with one of the richest developers in Moscow, Gennady Shulman, he jumped at the opportunity, as he was bored with his present employment.
Shulman was the principal owner and president of the Keystone Group and he recently gained the right to build a unique office complex on a long narrow island right in front of the Kremlin. However, unknown to Pototskiy, as well as many others, Keystone was not exactly on sound financial footing and was in need of considerable funds to realize the completion of the project. The company began its undertaking with the support of Sberbank, the largest state-owned savings bank in Russia. However, they were not easy to deal with and consequently Shulman decided to look elsewhere for funding.
Before joining Keystone and becoming president of one of its companies, Universal Investment and Finance Company (UNIFICO), Pototskiy, as a government employee, had received a copy of a letter that had been sent to the mayor of Moscow from an American businessman, Mervin Layton proposing “to meld City Hall’s considerable international debt into U.S. T-bonds and notes and thus converting a problem into a sustainable source of revenue within five, or at maximum, seven years.” Layton implied that he was representing some kind of “Trade Programs” where investors could reap high returns on their investments and that the U.S.Treasury was selling its bonds and notes to selected important investors at a sizable discount. Apparently, investors are told that these programs are a crucial requirement in combating poverty and boosting economic growth in poor nations where there is a great deal of terrorism and extremism.
With this interesting proposition in the back of his mind, Pototskiy decided to pursue this investment opportunity in seeking financing for his employer. Unfortunately at the time, he was not cognizant that no such special programs exist and it was one big scam that was wreaking havoc across the globe wherein billions of dollars were lost as a result of this and other similar ploys. Typically these schemes shroud behind legitimate sounding names or they connect with legitimate international government agencies and banks, however, to participate you have to be accompanied through a transaction by a certified approved manager. And here is where we have our first red flag which probably seasoned investors would immediately spot if they had some familiarity with these scams. As it turns out, Layton convinced Pototskiy that he was one of these managers, and under certain conditions, he could get his company into a Trade Program which would secure the financing he was seeking to complete his company’s real estate project. And so began Pototskiy’s nightmare into the world of financial intrigue where he was strung along by several unsavory characters located in various European and North American cities who had mastered the art of creative wheeling and dealing involving assets that supposedly were deposited in a Swiss security house and insured by a reputable insurance company.
Journal of a Russian Businessman: -40°F is a mesmerizing gem of a diary where the author has created a personal and close connection between himself and his readers. Pototskiy has effectively translated his story into a lively, engaging, and share worthy yarn that readers would be willing to plunk down his or her own hard earned cash. Moreover, I came away shaking my head and realizing that the narrator who candidly related his story with me and others is a real live person who did in fact experience every event, emotion and expectation that was chronicled. In the final analysis, Pototskiy’s dizzying years of adventures transports his readers to a place that ordinarily they would not to go but ultimately provides a valuable lesson in the world of international scams where eventually law enforcement agencies from Europe, Russia as well as Interpol and the FBI become involved.
Follow Here To Read Norm’s Interview With Dmitry Pototskiy