A new court session on the kidnapping of little Sophia Mirimskaya, which was carried out by an organized crime group of Ukrainian and U.S. citizens, has been announced for the first week of October. Mirimskaya's representatives disagreed with the prosecutor's decision to drop the criminal charges against the kidnappers, initiated back in 2015. The Odintsovo district court is to decide how lawful it was.
Despite the fact that the high-profile case of kidnapping of the daughter of the businesswoman and owner of BKF Bank (CFB) Olga Mirimskaya gained resonance among the public, the kidnappers have not been fairly punished.
The video of surrogate mother Svetlana Bezpyataya, who gave birth to little Sophia, informing psychologist Anna Ogorodova about the details of the plan to kidnap the girl, has been published on the Internet. It was originated by the U.S. citizens Nikolai Smirnov and his father Andrei Smirnov, who hired Ogorodova.
Svetlana Bezpyataya is a surrogate mother, and Sophia is her fourth child. In 2014, Bezpyataya signed a surrogate birth contract with Olga Mirimskaya. In May 2015, she gave birth to a baby girl, who was named Sophia.
But then Mirimskaya's former lover Nikolai Smirnov decided to turn the tables. He incited Bezpyataya to kidnap the newborn child, who was a Russian citizen, and smuggle her to Cyprus without telling Olga Mirimskaya. From this moment, Mirimskaya, who was the real mother of Sophia, began her fight for her child.
Interestingly, the U.S. citizen Nikolai Smirnov “turned his coat” several times. At first, he denied that he had anything to do with the birth of the child. Accordingly, Smirnov also denied participating in the surrogacy program as a result of which little Sophia had been born.
Strangely enough, Aleksey Chikalov, the fertility specialist responsible for the IVF procedure, died at the age of 38 under highly suspicious circumstances, and the documents on the surrogacy program, which contained Smirnov's signature, disappeared from the hospital.
Then Nikolai Smirnov suddenly declared that he was Sophia's father, after the court recognized him as a non-anonymous donor. It should be noted that according to the Russian law, if a person is recognized as a donor, it does not mean as mandatory provision that he is recognized as the child's parent. In plain language, an officially recognized donor is not an official parent.
Now there is a video on the Internet, containing files of the criminal case. It clearly follows from the conversations between Svetlana Bezpyataya and the psychologist that an organized gang developed and carried out the plan to kidnap the Russian child and take her to Cyprus. Apparently, Ogorodova recorded the sessions to report to the Smirnovs, and these recordings were passed to the investigator.
Svetlana Bezpyataya, a Ukrainian citizen and surrogate mother, mentions several other people who participated in Sophia Mirimskaya’s kidnapping in the video.
“Vasilisa” is Vasilisa Maskayeva, a former lawyer of Olga Mirimskaya and mistress of Nikolai. It was Vasilisa Maskayeva who rented the house on the island of Cyprus where Bezpyataya and little Sophia were taken.
“Andrei” is Andrei Bezpyaty, Svetlana's official husband. Andrei Bezpyaty is a citizen of Ukraine and Russia. When the investigating authorities initiated a criminal case on the kidnapping of the girl, Smirnov and his accomplices decided to formalize the status of Bezpyaty as the fictitious father of little Sophia in order to create a fake picture of a normal family.
“Andrei Lvovich”, who is mentioned in the video, is the U.S. citizen and businessman Andrei Smirnov. Smirnov is the beneficiary of Russian companies such as Center of Financial Technologies (CFT), Kartstandard, and the Zolotaya Korona financial transfer system. The anonymous donor Nikolai Smirnov is his son and top manager of the family-owned companies. Svetlana Bezpyataya talks candidly about the Smirnovs' schemes in the video, explaining that the case to deprive her of parental rights is nothing but “a legal move.”
All the above mentioned Ukrainian, Russian and U.S. citizens are defendants in criminal case No. 90764, which was initiated against Nikolai Smirnov and his accomplices on suspicion of child abduction. But in 2020, Smirnov managed to get the case dismissed “in the absence of corpus delicti.”
As for little Sophia, according to Bezpyataya, the child was simply “taken advantage of.”
Little Sophia Mirimskaya was returned to her biological mother in November 2016, a year and a half after her abduction. The police of the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and the Russian Embassy in Turkey were all involved in bringing her home.
According to the Russian law, child abduction and child trafficking are extremely serious crimes. There is an extensive judicial practice related to surrogacy, which prescribes harsh penalties for such criminal acts. Nevertheless, Smirnov and his accomplices managed to avoid punishment.
Meanwhile, the real mother Olga Mirimskaya continues to fight in the courts in the hope of obtaining justice. It remains unclear why Ukrainian and American citizens who are involved in the kidnapping of the little Russian girl are at large.
Corruption in play
This can only be explained by the fact that the owners of CFT have great connections and lots of money.
The Center of Financial Technologies is among the top 5 largest software developers on the Russian market. Andrei Smirnov founded CFT back in 1991. The small cooperative quickly became a major corporation. More than half of Russian banks use Smirnov's software, including VTB Bank, Gazprombank, etc. In addition, the Smirnovs provide IT solutions for Rostec, Rosatom, the Russian Post and even the Federal Migration Service and the Federal Tax Service. The Kartstandard processing center (serves 50 million cards in Russia), the Payment Center Credit Union and the Zolotaya Korona payment system are under their control. One might be happy for the businessmen’s success but there is one problem: Their American passports and support for sanctions against Russia.
Andrei and Nikolai Smirnov have not come to Russia since 2015-2016. They live in Miami, from where they run business in Russia that has wide access to sensitive financial information, and highly confidential information. Given the Smirnovs' work with state corporations and ministries, there have been a lot of questions regarding their business since 2014. For example, the Smirnovs’ companies support the U.S. sanctions against Russia, imposed after the “Crimean spring.” No Crimean banks work with any of the Smirnovs’ companies.
Moreover, in 2015, Zolotaya Korona unilaterally terminated its relationship with SMP Bank of the Rotenbergs, which had fallen under U.S. sanctions. A similar story happened with Eurofinance-Mosnarbank, whose plastic cards in Russia were blocked by Kartstandard in one day due to the sanctions against the bank. The cards were supposed to work in Russia, as they do with other banks, but apparently, the Smirnovs had a different opinion. Even against the backdrop of the special military operation, the Smirnovs have not been held to account. What is this – negligence, corruption, espionage, or just business? The situation clearly requires thorough investigation, as well as the questions how and with whose help the Smirnovs get out of criminal cases.
It is likely that Andrei and Nikolai Smirnov are generous with financial contributions outside their business. It is hard to say what arguments worked in the case of Sophia Mirimsksya, but it is obvious that the U.S. citizens with businesses in Russia and a Ukrainian surrogate mother have made a mess that falls under several articles of the Criminal Code in three countries. Time – and the ruling of the Odintsovo district court – will show whether the Smirnovs will be able to use their influence and money to avoid prosecution.