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  1. #1
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    Russians & Thailand

    A RUSSIAN man who allegedly ordered two Australians to murder an American millionaire has been jailed in the US.
    FBI investigators allege that Egor Michailovich Chernov, 33, plotted the slaying of New York businessman Rex Judd in Thailand three years ago.

    Chernov was sentenced this week in federal court in Utah to 51 months in prison for conspiring to produce false passports and identification.

    FBI special agent Gregory Coleman, who was behind the international investigation of Mr Judd's disappearance, alleged in court documents that two Australian men had slain the businessman at Chernov's orders.

    In an affidavit filed as part of the passport fraud case, Mr Coleman claimed the Australians killed Mr Judd on a boat in the shipping channels off Thailand's coast and dumped his body.

    Mr Coleman said that Mr Judd's disappearance was "inextricably intertwined" with the investigation into the false passports.

    The identities of the Australians were not revealed, with the two men named only as "CC-4" (co-conspirator four) and "CC-5", and listed as "colleagues" of Chernov.
    It is unclear whether US authorities are planning to charge the two men over the murder.

    Authorities said Chernov had flown to Singapore so he could prove he was not in Thailand when the September 2005 slaying occurred.

    Chernov owned a villa in Pattaya, a seaside city known as a centre of Thailand's infamous sex trade, where Mr Judd and other business associates would holiday.
    Mr Judd, a former motivational speaker who dealt in get-rich quick schemes, disappeared after flying to Thailand for a business meeting with Chernov, who is linked to at least a dozen US companies.

    US reports said Mr Judd, whose body has not been found, had put $5.23 million into Chernov's business schemes and his efforts to get the money back were believed to have led to his death.

    The FBI affidavit said an informant -- identified as "CC-7" -- said that Mr Judd was killed the day he arrived in Pattaya.

    The informant told investigators that he was present when Chernov ordered the two Australians to carry out the hit.

    The FBI's report provided an account of an international plot that included fake documents for three Eastern European countries, business trips to Thailand and meetings in the Bahamas.

    Chernov, who was also known as Vasko Svetlinov Aleksandrov, is a Russian citizen with permanent US residency. Before his arrest in June 2007, he lived in Salt Lake City.

    The passport fraud case against Chernov -- while prosecuted in Utah -- was handled by organised crime and racketeering prosecutors from the Washington DC office of the US Justice Department.

    One of those prosecutors specialises in cases involving Russian organised crime.
    One federal court document described the probe -- conducted as a joint operation by the US Justice Department, the FBI, the State Department and the Diplomatic Security Service -- as "a long-term and ongoing investigation".

    After Mr Judd failed to return from Thailand in September 2005, his wife Lori filed a missing person's report with the New York State Police.

    Mrs Judd, who is believed to have offered a $149,163 reward for information about his disappearance, also reported him missing to federal authorities.

    Russian accused of kill order | Herald Sun

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