Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Russian-Ukrainian oligarch Pavel Fuks, (aka Pavel Fuchs) is on the run again. Recently, Fuks has been accused in the press for paying for swastika graffiti to be painted on walls of Ukrainian synagogues. According to multiple media reports and vetted sources, Mr. Fuks admitted that he had no choice because he was ordered to launch false flag operations prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Fuks lived up to his criminal moniker, Mercenary.
Now it appears that Mr. Fuks and his entourage have run off to UAE to avoid having to defend Ukraine, in violation of Ukrainian laws. This is not surprising, since the Mercenary Fuks was one of the engineers of Russia’s war propaganda and betrayed the city of Kharkiv, the second biggest Ukrainian city.
I have written about Pavel Fuks in the past. It is not the first time that Fuks attempted to serve Putin’s agenda in Ukraine. The Russian mobster turned war criminal, worked tirelessly to hijack a Holocaust memorial, Babyn Yar, in Kyiv, writes Euromaidan News. Previously, Pavel Fuks participated in another Russian initiative, a scheme to launder hundreds of millions embezzled from Ukraine’s national budget. The funds were frozen due to their toxic origin – fugitive pro-Putin deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych. As reported by the Daily Beast, according to multiple Russia experts such as Olga Lautman, senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, and Anders Aslund, an academic and Russia expert, Mr. Fuks is a gangster who collaborates with Russian intelligence services, which is not an uncommon arrangement for Russian criminal class.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Fuks had boasted in a TV interview in Russia that he relished torturing his construction workers by forcing them to swallow cigarette butts when they misbehaved. Known to publicly threaten his adversaries with physical retribution, Fuks the Mercenary was sanctioned by the Ukrainian government and arrested in absentia by a Moscow court for multi-million dollar fraud. He has lost various lawsuits for failing to deliver on construction projects in Russia, including a $50 million-plus euro judgment that he appealed but lost to BTA Bank of Kazakhstan.
Recently an American lawyer sued Mr. Fuks for racketeering and fraud under the civil RICO statute. The case is pending. Not unlike Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler,” Mr. Fuks has claimed that the documented allegations of leading false flag operations on behalf of Russia and various charges of fraud and other criminal activities, were the work of his many “enemies”.
Fuks has similarly claimed that Ukraine’s sanctions against him are nothing more than revenge orchestrated by Ukrainian former politician and media mogul, Mikhail Brodsky. Mr. Fuks is known to associate with criminal kingpins, controversial wheeler-dealers, and fugitives such as the U.S. sanctioned Ukrainian oligarch, Igor Kolomoyski, sanctioned U.S. elections meddler, and Russian provocateur, Andriy Telezhenko, U.S. and Ukraine sanctioned pro-Russian mogul, Viktor Medvychuk (often referred to in Ukraine as “Putin’s Emissary”), fugitive and Yanukovych confidant Sergey Kurchenko, controversial restaurateur and proprietor of Ukraine’s Buddha Bar, Gennady Medvedev, and secretive billionaire who is alleged to have run a tax racket, Vitaliy Khomutynnik.
While Ukraine remained under strict pandemic quarantine and Fuks claimed poverty because his assets were frozen due to sanctions, Russian entertainers flocked to his ostentatious 50th birthday party held at a Kyiv golf club, partly owned by one of the attendees, Mr. Khomutynnik, now an estranged friend.
With the advent of devastating war in Europe, one thing is clear: Pavel Fuks has graduated from being a thug and an informant for the Russians to becoming a war criminal. A product of Russia’s 1990s hooligan culture, Mr. Fuks is described by former associates as a parochial street thug who would do anything for money. He is alleged to have ordered paid assassination “hits,” sold gray market COVID-19 vaccines to wealthy Ukrainian friends for $12,000 per injection when Pfizer and Moderna were not available in Ukraine; he purportedly provided logistics infrastructure for the distribution of heroin; according to various reporting, he made numerous attempts to seize control over the city of Kharkiv on behalf of his Kremlin handlers. Kharkiv, which borders Russia, has now been virtually obliterated by Russian rockets.
As his nickname, Mercenary, suggests, Pavel Fuks will truly do anything for money – even sell out the city where he was born to Putin’s henchmen. It’s no surprise that he ran off to Dubai when the war started. In addition to being a mercenary, Mr. Fuks also proved to be a coward.
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