The New York Post
March 26, 2012 Monday
BYLINE: Mitchel Maddux and Mitchel Maddux
SECTION: Sports+Late City Final; Pg. 3
LENGTH: 448 words
Long before he became an owner of Manhattan’s trendy Hotel Gansevoort, a hipster real-estate developer played a leading role in a shadowy firm that served as the treasury for one of Russia’s most powerful mobs, stunning court records show.
Hamptons-hopping businessman Arik Kislin was one of three people “authorized to give [financial] instructions” to a company in Liechtenstein now identified as a front for the Ismailovskaya organized-crime group, according to law-enforcement officials and court documents from three countries obtained by The Post.
It’s not the first time Kislin has been linked to the Russian mob – but the documents allege a new crucial role for him in it.
According to the papers, only Kislin, Anton Malevsky – then the reputed godfather of the mob group – and Malevsky’s brother Andrei exercised control over the illicit gang’s front operation, called the Trenton Business Corp.
“The ‘war chest’ of the [mob] organization was the Trenton Business Corporation,” a German court ruled at a criminal money-laundering trial in Stuttgart in 2010. “Today, the gang is engaged in robberies, extortion shakedowns, drug and weapons dealing, as well as illegal prostitution and money laundering,” the panel of three judges wrote.
The revelations come as Kislin enjoys a reputation as a respected proprietor of the Meatpacking District’s Gansevoort and society gadabout on the East End..
The documents raise new questions about his business activities in the early 1990s, when chaos reigned in post-Soviet Russia amid the battle for control of state entities. At the time, Kislin was president of New York-based Blonde Management Corp., a purported commodities trading firm that sponsored a US visa for Anton Malevsky, according to a 1994 FBI intelligence report.
Malevsky’s gang operated mainly in New York City, Western Europe and Russia, authorities said.
Kislin’s partner in Blonde was Michael Cherney, who is now wanted by Interpol and Spanish authorities on money-laundering charges.
Court records show several directives were written on Blonde stationery, at one point ordering bank transfers of Swiss francs to the Trenton Business Corp.
Kislin is not charged with any wrongdoing, but allegations about his activities are emerging in a massive civil suit in London pitting Russian metals oligarch Oleg Deripaska against Cherney in an ownership struggle over the world’s largest aluminum producer, Rusal.
Lawyers in London wanted Kislin to hand over documents they claimed would prove Cherney has involvement in Russian organized crime. Kislin’s lawyer, Lisa Cohen, said he has “no recollection” about Trenton Business Corp.