German Sterligov. A True Story
13.10.2009 — Analysis
The name of German Sterligov, a businessman, has been written into Russian history. He ran for the Presidency in 2004. This was a good PR for a person generating myths about himself. Having run his sprint in the political arena (he was denied ballot access) Mr Sterligov had retreated to a village a hundred miles away from Moscow.
Nothing has been heard or seen of him for four years. The countryside living, however, is boring and does not excite the blood. Mr Sterligov needed a good PR reason for a comeback. It would be trite to run for the Presidency for a second time. Fortunately, a global financial crisis occurred in 2008. Mr Sterligov in all his might and glory stood to fight against it. He came into view of the Russian public eye with a clearing project, the Anticrisis Settlement & Commodity Centre.
It has to be admitted that Russia has managed to forget what the word barter meant. Even the 1998 default had not brought back the time of swapping canned meat for cars, steam engines for felt boots, and coffins for prams. The country’s financial system has acquired some liquidity and the sound of the word rouble started to ring with pride. The rouble could even be exchanged for Euros in some currency exchanges of large European cities. The global financial crisis pushed the cash under mattresses. When Russian banks have "run aground" entrepreneurs remembered of commodity exchange schemes of the late eighties and early nineties.
German Sterligov started sending messages from TV screens and newsprint that business will be saved by barter. What is needed is barter chains to be built among the country's businesses. This will be helped by the System, which will have regional representations plugged into the ASCENT. Those wishing to be the Centre’s representatives were offered to pay between 30,000 and 200,000 Euro depending on the stature of the area – be it a Russian region or a foreign country. So, businessmen, attracted by the idea to make money on barter, started to gather around Mr Sterligov.
In a few months the failed Russian president has "sold" several CIS countries and Russian regions. Businessmen signed contracts for the opening of 33 centres. Some people transferred tens of thousands, some - hundreds of thousands Euro into the ASCENT account after signing the contract. The result was the same for everyone, Sterligov gave them nothing in return. Instead of the promised clearing calculations program the screens of regional partners’ notebooks displayed only the new articles about Sterligov’s superproject. At press conferences he operated with millions of the "turnover" of ASCENT, examples of successful deals, but in reality there was only the expensive PR of the bearded mythologist. Not many people know that Mr Sterligov is not very happy working on a computer. While talking about the global System based on a computer program the businessman cannot write a letter in Word.
Igor Sadovnich, a businessman from Omsk, was the first to decide to leave the mythical System. He invested 350 thousand Euro in Sterligov’s project. In May 2009 Mr Sadovnich died in a car crash on the Omsk – Novosibirsk road under suspicious circumstances. The curator of the American "wing" of the project has also died – he is alleged to have accidentally fallen down the stairs.
When some other businessmen formed a queue to get their investments back, Sterligov’s Moscow office had just issued them marching orders. Thus the ex-partners of German Sterligov turned plaintiffs.
One of the most famous is Dmitri Zaikov, a Ekaterinburg businessman, who filed a suit worth 10.5 million roubles. He was planning to carry out his business in the Tyumen oblast and Kazakhstan but just lost his money, the same as other victims. When the court arrested the account of the Anticrisis Settlement & Commodity Centre it was established that there was only 44 thousand roubles there.
German Sterligov claimed in interviews that he has spent 15 to 18 million Euro lent to him by friends and associates on the establishment of the ASCENT. Sometimes he joked that he had dug up a couple of million Euro he had stashed under an oak tree by his country house near Moscow.
RusBusinessNews has financial documents which reveal that in 9 months ASCENT had gathered less than 2 million Euro from regional businessmen which had been spent on creating myths around it.
More than 30 million roubles of that money had been spent on the upkeep of the ASCENT office. Not taking into account the spending of regional partners, 38.5 million roubles had been spent on the Centre’s advertising. Large federal papers got the lion’s share of this money. Some money was spent on the outdoor advertising. Who were these massive banners in the centre of Moscow addressed to? Business abroad, most likely. Foreign investors had to marvel at the scale and importance of Sterligov’s persona. Would the authorities allow such massive advertising campaign in the centre of the Russian capital just to anybody? Could it be true that leading Russian papers advertise a financial pyramid?
For the promotion of his image German Sterligov employed an advertising company specialising in guerrilla marketing. It cannot be ruled out that this company organised Sterligov’s road show in London where the Russian businessman was trying to convince foreigners of the solid future of his new project – in minting "goldens" which would be used for payments in deals in various parts of the world. At the London presentation of ASCENT (Anticrisis Settlement & Commodity Centre) the One Troy Ounce Fine Gold 999,9 coin has been demonstrated.
Mr. Sterligov needed the start up capital to reach out to the money of Arab Sheikhs and Asian moneybags. London is the best site for the creation of the myth about the bearded Russian Messiah. German Sterligov had found the start up money in Russia, the regional businessmen who rose to the bait of ASCENT gave it to him, having failed to see the financial pyramid builder’s mug under the mask of a pious entrepreneur.
Dmitri Zaikov who decided to sue Mr Sterligov assumes that ASCENT will not have enough money to settle the bills. In this case he is prepared to instigate the criminal proceedings against the cunning businessman who in his interviews claims that people who entrusted him their money are to blame as they did not pay attention when reading the contract they signed. Mr Zaikov retorts "I have not forgotten how to read Russian. Mr Sterligov has not fulfilled his contractual obligations and has not created anything except for a next myth about his persona. Why should other people be paying for that? He printed a batch of Bibles with our money, and bought a tractor with a trailer for his countryside estate."
The countryside living of German Sterligov is yet another myth. He makes statements everywhere that he lives in the village of Sloboda in the Mozhaisk district, which is a hundred miles away from Moscow, where he was give 37 hectares of land. In reality since 2008 his family is in the village of Nizhnevasilyevskoye in the Istra district, which is twice closer to Moscow.
Last year Sterligov has bought, for a measly sum of money essentially, a good solid house from Alexandr Fyodorov. Then he turned it into an impregnable fortress. The estate’s perimeter is fenced with the barbed wire. There is a Kalashnikov automatic gun (!) in Sterligov’s house with which he appeared on Russian TV several times. Sterligov likes shooting the assault weapons from his doorstep to scare his neighbours.
Only after the locals complained to the RF General Prosecutor’s Office the shooting businessman calmed down a little. Not for long, however. In September he hit Mr Fyodorov’s horse with his jeep on purpose. He attacked the wife of the former owner of his house, a granddaughter of a Russian Duchess Irina Golitsyna, with a knife. The Fyodorovs curse the day Sterligov came to the village. Having bought their house the businessman literally turned off their lights – the line from the transformer to the new Fyodorov’s house goes through Sterligov’s land and he just had cut the cables.
The true face of the Orthodox Christian businessman German Sterligov is difficult to see. The beard is real. Everything else is questionable.
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