Côte-d’Or: the Château de La Rochepot, a building at the heart of an incredible case of alleged fraud

Côte-d’Or: the Château de La Rochepot, a building at the heart of an incredible case of alleged fraud
Côte-d’Or: the Château de La Rochepot, a building at the heart of an incredible case of alleged fraud

The Château de La Rochepot, in Côte-d’Or, was seized by the courts in 2018.

The building is the collateral victim of a scam involving a Ukrainian businessman.

“Sept à Huit Life” investigated this incredible affair.

Follow the full coverage

Seven to Eight Life

Built in the 12th century, the Château de La Rochepot, a jewel of Burgundy perched on a rock, has been restored several times during its 800 years of existence. But today he risks ruin again. The castle is deteriorating day by day, invaded by brambles and nettles. The slate tiles are blackening, the door frames are rotting and ivy is taking over the facade.

The Château de La Rochepot has actually been abandoned since it was seized by the courts in 2018. The reason? The building is in the middle of an alleged international fraud case. A Ukrainian businessman, Dmitri Malinovsky, his mistress, the Ukrainian Olga Kalina, and one of these drivers, the Moldovan Alexandru Arman, are in the crosshairs of justice. Dmitri Malinovsky is accused in his country of having embezzled nearly 13 million euros and of pretending to be dead in order to escape justice. Miraculously resurrected in Burgundy, he allegedly laundered part of the stolen money by purchasing the Château de La Rochepot… The report to watch at the top of this article, broadcast this Sunday in “Sept à Huit Life”, traces this affair.

Unpaid craftsmen

It all started in 2015. That year, the heirs of Sadi Carnot, former President of the Republic, and his wife Cécile Carnot, sold the castle to Lithuanian investors based in Luxembourg, for 2.5 million euros. The latter wish to renovate the premises and start a wine trading activity. The new owners hired Romuald Pouleau as caretaker and manager, a dream for this great-grandson of the castle caretakers. Romuald Pouleau calls on local craftsmen to begin the renovation. But after a few months, he discovered that these workers were not paid. According to the manager, the representative of the Lithuanian investors tried to reassure everyone and made some transfers to the castle’s account, sums whose origin remained unknown. “And after a while, there were no transfers at all and the bills started piling up”explains Romuald Pouleau.

Anger rumbles in the village and reaches the editorial staff of the local newspaper The Public Goodwhere journalist Manuel Desbois will investigate. “I realized that everything was going completely wrong. The employees were all before the industrial tribunal. The contribution to the tourist office was no longer paid and there were still outstanding debts of several thousand euros at 8 to 12 local artisans”says Manuel Debois in front of the camera of “Sept à Huit Life.

A fake boss

The article he wrote on this scandal attracted the attention of the Dijon prosecutor, who then launched a judicial investigation. Officially, the manager of the castle is a certain Alexandru Arman, a Moldovan living with his wife in the village of La Rochepot. But by questioning the employees, the investigators will realize that this man is not the real boss. Romuald Pouleau then puts them on the trail of the investor representative, with whom he had already spoken.

This investor is none other than Dmitri Malinovsky. But to the castle staff, he kept his identity secret for a long time and presented himself under false first names. Although he is omnipresent in the castle, Dmitri Malinovsky does not appear on any official document. Of the different companies that manage the castle, one is in the name of his wife, Alla Malinovska, the other in the name of his mistress, Olga Kalina, and two others in the name of Alexandru Arman, who is none other than his former driver. Dmitri Malinovsky made his fortune in international trade. When he moved to France, the wealthy businessman led a lavish life, with his wife and their children, but also with Olga, who settled in Beaune with their twins.

A “trapped” company

Investigators discover that Dmitri Malinovsky is wanted in his country for an incredible scam. He allegedly stole nearly 13 million euros in 2015, six months before purchasing the castle. The victim would be the Dreymoor company, specializing in agricultural fertilizers. Its financial director, based in Singapore, agreed to tell TF1 how, in his opinion, Malinovsky trapped them. At the time, the company was looking to purchase large quantities of urea and ammonia. She therefore contacted Dmitri Malinovsky, who could access the stocks of the factory at the port of Odessa (Ukraine). In this type of transaction, the buyer pays the money to the middleman, who then transmits the funds to the factory before delivery. According to the Dreymoor company, Malinovsky simply disappeared with the 13 million euros it paid him so that he could then transfer them to the factory.

To escape Ukrainian justice, Malinovsky pretends he died in a road accident. An official death certificate was even established in July 2015. According to certain sources of journalist Manuel Debois, a funeral was even organized, with the burial of an urn, in the presence of the businessman’s family, who was grieving .

The 13 million euros embezzled would have been sent into a sprawling financial circuit, a “laundry machine”. Money moves at high speed through hundreds of fictitious companies based in tax havens where banking secrecy reigns. It then becomes almost impossible to follow his trail. At the end of the chain, the money is reinvested in legal activities. Dmitri Malinovsky would have laundered 2 and a half million euros by purchasing the Château de La Rochepot.

Deliberation expected on May 27

In October 2018, investigators arrested Dmitri Malinovsky, Olga Kalina and Alexandru Arman. Dmitri Malinovsky is placed in pre-trial detention, where he will remain for three years. During the trial in November 2022, he was sentenced to four years of detention, including six months suspended and a fine of 100,000 euros for money laundering, misuse of corporate assets and hidden work. Olga Kalina, his mistress, received a two-year suspended sentence and a ban on residing on French territory.

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Both appealed the decision. According to the Ukrainian businessman’s lawyer, his client considers himself “totally foreign” to the disappearance of 13 million euros from the Dreymoor company. Olga Kalinka, for her part, claims that the origin of the funds is legal since she would have bought the castle with money from her family, which owned several factories in Donbass, companies sold in 2014 when the war broke out there. region. The deliberations in the appeal trial of the fraudulent takeover of the Château de La Rochepot should be delivered on May 27.

NK | Report “Seven to Eight Life” Géraldine Doussier



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