by KYW’s Tony Hanson
A Philadelphia area attorney, who formed a foundation to assist aspiring performing artists reach their goals, is now charged in a sex tourism case involving a former student at the Bolchoi Academy. The defendant, who allegedly sexually assaulted the victim for years beginning in 1998, has been arrested in Cyprus and is awaiting extradition.
The Apogee foundation’s stated goal is to discover, develop and celebrate the creative potential of mankind, but federal authorities alleged the president and founder of Apogee, Kenneth Schneider, used his wealth and position to victimize a pre-teen boy for years - starting at age 12. Federal authorities say the boy’s family could no longer afford the Bolshoi fee and Schneider offered to help. The boy would live with him. The federal complaint says the boy’s parents had serious reservations, but agreed. U-S Attorney Michael Levy: “Anybody who is a parent knows you want the best for your children and you’ve got a child who has talent and can really do well, but you can’t afford it. And here is somebody coming forward to say your troubles are over.”
Schneider’s attorney has declined comment.
And he’s actually a little more than just a Philadelphia area attorney. That’s so modest. Wait till you see what a rock star this guy is.
Kenneth Schneider, 45, is president and chief executive officer of Aurience Ltd., a mergers and acquisitions firm based in London and the founder of the Apogee Foundation, a philanthropic arts group that funds young performing artists.
According to the indictment, Schneider was working as a legal consultant in Moscow in 1998 when he met a 12-year-old boy who was a student at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
The boy, identified in the indictment by his initials, had been forced to leave the academy because his parents could not afford to pay the tuition.
Schneider offered to pay for the boy’s schooling and proposed to the parents that the child live with him in his Moscow apartment. The parents agreed.
Soon afterward, Scheider began “grooming” the boy for sexual contact by touching and kissing him and buying him gifts, according to the indictment. Eventually, Schneider engaged in intercourse with the boy, the indictment states.
In 2001, Schneider brought the boy to Philadelphia to study for the summer at the Rock School for Dance Education. Schneider and the boy, then 15, returned to Russia, where the sexual relationship continued, according to the indictment.
The dancer, now 24, lives with his wife, whom he met while studying at the University of the Arts.
A civil suit filed in Philadelphia by the dancer in 2007 prompted a federal investigation, Levy said.It claims Schneider created the Apogee Foundation in order to make illicit contact with young male performers in the former Soviet Union.
Schneider promised to use the foundation’s influence to make the boy a star, according to the suit.
When the dancer began a relationship with his future wife, Schneider threatened to have him deported back to Russia and “his hopes of any career would be ruined,” the civil suit states.
As a result of his relationship with Schneider, the dancer suffered “inconsolable shame and depression,” says the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
You might want to mosey over to see the logo: http://www.apogeefoundation.org/about/index.php.
Here’s an excerpt from a bio of Schneider written by Daisy Scott, World Web Media, a “research and journalism group based in New Delhi, India.” (I guess he is the main client.)
Kenneth Schneider Apogee Foundation and Aurience Ltd emerged to fulfill a dream much bigger than any one man: a dream for all mankind to dream and fulfill together. Kenneth Schneider Apogee Foundation and Aurience Ltd are thus like the knights and wizards of a modern-day fairytale — reaching into the past to help the world overcome the challenges of the present and summon into being a better future. But this is a real-world story with real-world heroes: fulfilling a mission that is as challenging as it is worthwhile, the quest for the real-world holy grail.
Oh The Drama.
Actually, the dramatic bio mentions that Schneider used to work for Millhouse Capital in London.
Milhouse Capital is a Russian holding company, whose current CEO is Roman Abramovich, a business associate of Oleg Deripaska. They are among the “New Money Oligarchs” whose rise to prominence and wealth was fostered by the Yeltsin administration. The roots of this company date back to the “Cold War”, when Richard Nixon initially invested in Russia, hoping that his investment would be mutually beneficial to the former Allied Nations during WWII. The founding CEO’s, Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska used connections with the Russian Aristocracy, known as “Oprachinas” to formally incorporate the entity. The company made them two of Russia’s wealthiest persons, as noted by Forbes Magazine.
Today, in 2009, the company has seen better times, but through a strategic investment portfolio, is poised to make a big comeback[according to whom?], as the world’s economy improves. (Wikipedia, links removed.)
So it’s possible that when Schneider was working as a “legal consultant in Moscow in 1998,” he might have been working for Abramovich.
I mean, to downplay his status as a mere “Philadelphia area attorney” or a “man charged” with molesting a Russian pre-teen, as these headlines do, truly fails to appreciate Schneider’s contributions to humanity.
Here’s another bio, this time written by Richard Morrison.
Kenneth Schneider’s career has included mastering everything from music and mathematics to philosophy and physics and from linguistics and law to education and economics in the course of a stunning path taking him to and beyond the world’s leading academic institutions, professional firms and international powerbrokers. Throughout his life, Ken Schneider seems to have taken on mankind’s most complex challenges on scales larger than life itself by demonstrating an intellectual virtuosity so unlimited that it can transcend fields, nations and cultures.
During his early period as an international financial attorney practicing with several of the world’s leading law firms in New York and London, Schneider masterminded new ways of thinking about his own profession while handling headline transactions in more than 50 countries on all six inhabited continents. But he would literally rewrite history itself when he agreed to focus these skills on the revitalization of the former Soviet Union’s (FSU) newly free and completely chaotic economies at the end of the millennium. In 1993, Kenneth Schneider undertook an assignment to represent the government of one of the FSU’s largest and most resource-rich republics: rewriting their legal frameworks and negotiating foreign investment on a massive scale that would enable not only the economic but the social redevelopment of the nation.
Fluent in Russian and realizing that the FSU covered one-sixth of the Earth’s land surface and contained a quarter of the world’s natural resources, Ken Schneider would followed this opening act by relocating to Moscow, the heart of the former Soviet empire, to play a major role in changing the course of world history. In the years concluding the old millennium and beginning the new, Schneider marshaled his full spectrum of intellectual abilities and professional skills to reposition the very role of the intellect and of the professions in creating an era of unprecedented opportunities for massive transformation. Kenneth Schneider brought to bear his well-honed skills as a legal and financial virtuoso to rethink and reintegrate the old with the new and the best of East and of the West into new paradigms on which the future economic progress of the FSU – and of the world – could be re-founded.
In the series of monumental engagements that followed – sweeping across Eurasia from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic to the Indian Oceans – Ken Schneider did nothing less than redesign the legal and financial infrastructure of what had been the world’s largest empire. In doing so, he created a new fusion of emerging and mature market paradigms and Eastern and Western priorities that resulted in entirely new standards and models for legal and financial professionals not only throughout the FSU and other developing economies around the globe, but also in the world’s legal and financial centers where past generations’ touchstones had originally been developed.…With the arrival of the new millennium, Kenneth Schneider would outdo even these accomplishments upon becoming one of the founding members of Millhouse Capital, which – within an amazingly brief time – would have under management the largest collection of FSU assets ever assembled.
Well anyway, while Schneider was busy remaking the world with his bare hands, some deals might possibly have gone down that later maybe possibly looked a little teensy bit shady. NOT that Schneider would have necessarily had anything to do with these deals. I am not suggesting that. But Boss Roman Abramovich did come under scrutiny of Swiss authorities in the possible misuse of an IMF loan to Russia, and Schneider was reportedly doing “nothing less than” redesigning “the legal and financial infrastructure of what had been the world’s largest empire.” So it seems fair to ask…
5. The Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich was a suspect in the case of the possible misuse of a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF to Russia. (Did the $4.8 billion loan from the IMF to Russia finance the Chelsea Football Club…)
Abramovich and his Runicom trading group were named in documents from a Swiss inquiry into what happened to money meant to help Russia.
The Swiss believed that Abramovich was one of the controllers of a web of slush funds.
US Federal prosecutors allege that the Bank of New York was linked to $7 billion in Russian money, some from criminal activities.
Some allegations have said the Bank of New York case included funds lent to Russia by the IMF.
(For further reading on this sort of thing, like money laundering through professional sports teams and such, see Rome: “the promised land of foreign mafias.”)
For the first time, the Swiss have publicly revealed why they were forced to abandon their investigation. Russia and the United States, it has emerged, refused to divulge what they knew about the scandal.
Marc Tappolet, the Geneva investigating magistrate in charge of the criminal inquiry, said that both superpowers ignored his repeated requests for help. Neither country would even reply to formal applications made through diplomatic channels for legal assistance.
As a wall of silence was erected from Moscow to Washington, the investigation was marred by violent intimidation. Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, the investigating magistrate who launched the Swiss investigation, was left bleeding and unconscious in an attack in St Petersburg during a visit to Russia.
No evidence linking Abramovich to the IMF funds was ever reported. (wink wink)
Might Kenneth Schneider have possibly applied his intellectual virtuosity somewhere in here, someplace? Especially since the IMF loan was made back in 1998, right around the time that Schneider had moved to Moscow and was working as a “legal consultant.” We don’t know. Way back in 2000 a freelance journalist, Lucy Komisar, spent three months in Russia investigating the impact of offshore bank and corporate secrecy. She reported on this missing $4.8 billion loan.
The $4.8 billion was supposed to avert a financial collapse brought on by widespread stripping of Russian assets, capital flight, and looting of international loans and investments. It was purportedly given to allow major Russian banks to buy rubles and stabilize the currency.
But according to Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the security committee of the Duma, Russia’s legislature, the money “was robbed.”
“The IMF money was sent from the Bank of New York via Russia to the Frankfurt Ost-West Hendelsbank, an affiliate of the Central Bank,” he said in June. …Ilyukhin claims to have copies of the paper trails showing $235 million went to the Bank of Sydney, was changed to pounds sterling and went to Great Britain with the help of Dyachenko. “Another part, $1.7 billion, went to the Swiss Bank of Lausanne. Our information is that Chubais and Berezovsky were involved,” Ilyukhin claimed, with a major part of that going to the Bank of New York. “In this, Chernomyrdin was involved.”
…Washington, the IMF, and Moscow (which has to repay the $4.8 billion loan) should be eager to recover any money that was diverted. But political interests apparently make them very reluctant to follow the money trail.
But was Schneider involved? Who knows. He may have been very busy doing other things at that time, like setting up the Apogee Foundation and grooming his boy.