Charged in connection with alleged €6 million ‘ghost brokerage’ fraud

THREE people have appeared in court after being charged in connection with an alleged €6 million motor insurance fraud.

A company director, another businessman and an art teacher were arrested by gardai investigating what was described as a “ghost brokerage” operating over several years, Blanchardstown District Court heard.

blanchardstown courthouse

Blanchardstown District Court

Alexandr Afanascenko, aged 45 with an address at Bewley Drive, Lucan and Mikhail Yegorov, aged 38 of Charnwood Court, Clonsilla were both granted bail with no garda objections, subject to €5,000 cash lodgements and conditions.

Elena Oleinik, aged 44 with an address at Berryfield, Finnstown, Lucan was already on garda station bail when the three co-accused appeared before Judge Gerard Jones.

He adjourned all cases to a date in July, for a book of evidence.

Garda George Thurlow told the court Mr Afanascenko was charged with 210 offences.

These are 91 money laundering charges, 78 deception charges, 40 for using false instruments and one charge of fraudulent trading, he said.

He alleged Mr Afanascenko, a company director, operated as a ghost broker in relation to insurance fraud between January 2013 and September 2018.

The garda alleged the company was used as a vehicle for this activity and to launder the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Approximately 2,500 policies were involved, with deception in excess of €6 million across 10 insurance companies, Garda Thurlow said, adding that fraudulent documents were used to get beneficial premiums.

Mr Yegorov is charged with 21 money laundering offences and one charge of fraudulent trading.

Sergeant John Carey said Mr Yegorov’s alleged involvement was in relation to the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Mr Afanascenko was more directly involved in ghost brokering, Sgt Carey alleged, while Mr Yegorov knew this was going on and permitted it to take place.

He said genuine insurance policies were obtained from legitimate insurance companies after false and misleading information was submitted.

Some €180,000 went through bank accounts over a two-year period, the court heard. Garda Thurlow said Ms Oleinik was charged with 20 forgery offences and 15 charges of money laundering. Her involvement was to do with forging the documents, he said.

Gardai had given bail to Ms Oleinik and did not object to bail being granted by the court for the two co-accused.

Under their bail conditions, Mr Afanascenko and Mr Yegorov must sign on at their local garda stations, surrender their passports, stay in the jurisdiction, provide phone numbers and not have any contact with potential witnesses.

The DPP directed trial on indictment and the gardai sought remands for the preparation of books of evidence.

Judge Jones adjourned the cases to July 21. The accused have not yet entered pleas to the charges, which are under the Money Laundering, Theft and Fraud and Companies Acts.

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