About £1300 was cleared from a bank account last week. The victim was distraught, this was her living money for rent, food, transport while she was staying in Russia. She used one of three ATM’s within reach of her digs. She was left with about 20 roubles; not much.

The British Consul said it was a police matter; that he could not provide an interpreter to help the victim through the reporting and interviewing however, he could offer a list of private interpreters. How could she pay for one with no money?

A Russian member of British Consulate staff offered to phone a police officer about the matter. Armed with a name and the whereabouts of this officer, the girl waited for this man at the police station. When the interview got underway, questioning turned on the possibilities of the landlord and landlady obtaining the card, pin, etc. As they are elderly, don’t trust banks, have not got bank accounts themselves and did not know what an ATM is, let alone what it does, this was a most unlikely scenario.

After five and a half hours in the police station, the girl obtained a certificate to prove the crime had been reported, but on the way out was told the crime also had to be reported, personally, by her, to the police station in the vicinity of the ATM. No, apparently it was not possible to send reports through in any shape or form.

This week, the police called the girl and said she had stated she had removed the money herself! There were witnesses to her testimony,(another complicated adjunct to this story)that she had not said this and of course, the accusation was vehemently denied.

Can you believe that the Russians haven’t heard of financial fraud, of clever electronic devices that can enable it?



  1. What surprises me is that the British Consul wouldn’t help! Mind you I suppose that I shouldn’t be as that seems to be an all too typical cold-shoulder official attitude nowadays.
    Take care! xx

  2. Hi Mr F.

    Hear this: the gatekeeper at the consulate was Russian, he spoke no English. All the staff on the public floors and those seen,(can’t speak for the rest) were Russian staff, a few staff could speak some English.

    I heard that the Russian Consulate in Marseille is mostly staffed up with Russians, and a few French people. I think that national mix for our Consulate in St Petersburg, in this instance, English/Russian, is what I would have expected. The balances of nationals doesn’t seem quite right.

    Don’t expect much from your home country when abroad.

    Ciao xx

  3. What could the Russian police be up to? Incompetence or simply inability to cope? From what I’ve read over the years, even in the US, the police are not able to help victims of financial fraud – both because there are too many cases and because it is very difficult to catch a thief. And, yes, nobody likes to lose face.

  4. I agree with all your points. I would veer towards an analysis of incompetence.

    It came out like the local police had no idea about electronic and IT fraud and were behaving incomprehensibly stupid. Indeed, the police couldn’t,communicate with a police station in the area the ATM was situated, so they made out. That meant another personal report to the police. What no fax; or, no email; no telephone?

    As the inventions of IT ‘ideas’ are prolific in Eastern Europe, it is unbelievable that there is no means of being at least basically straight about the way these matters are overloading policing and investigative systems. Perhaps that is a cultural impossibility.

    The next instalment was that the police contacted the victim to tell her that she had said she had taken her own money and reported it stolen!! Quite frightening in all respects really.

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