Last August Mikhail Tamoikin was kidnapped at gunpoint in the center of Kiev, chained and dragged into a car, taken to a boat, where he was beaten and tortured. Miraculously he managed to escape by jumping into the river and swimming for 12 km to safety. After calling the local police, Mikhail quickly learned that the corrupt Ukrainian government officials and “on the take” law enforcement officers were responsible for his kidnapping. Prof. Tamoikin managed to barely get out of Ukraine, moving to Lithuania, but that did not stop this international criminal candidate. Just two months later a second attempt on his life took place. An unmarked car with a masked driver intentionally hit Mikhail in Vilnius city, and when he survived that, these criminals, dressed as policemen, tried to finish the job.
So what did Prof. Tamoikin do to have the most dangerous Eastern European Mafia with deep government ties after him? He single-handedly stopped perhaps the largest illegal sale of ancient gold artefacts in the world, worth over half a Billion dollars. It was organized by corrupt high-ranking Ukrainian officials, police officers and organized crimes groups, who are still after Mikhail to this day.
It was then, when Tamoikin Expert System (TES), developed by Prof. Tamoikin, started to receive worldwide attention due to its success. At that time TES represented only several “world’s first” technologies such as – mathematical and fully transparent appraisal system that can evaluate any art, antique or collectible item; art identity management methodology; complete item information document and a number of other innovations. Today TES consists of 17 unique technologies, systems and methods which allows the user to do the unthinkable – stabilize, effectively manage and intelligently regulate any national, as well as international [multibillion dollar] art markets. To date it is considered as the last completely unregulated market on earth.
Not even the larger auction houses, biggest galleries, major art institutions or even ministries of culture and finance have anything remotely close to TES technologies, developed by Professor Tamoikin. Naturally brining light, rules and transparency to the shadow art world, where up to 1.5 trillion dollars circulate annually, is a messy affair. Mikhail learned it the hard way.
In 2010 professor Tamoikin becomes the director of the Science Institute of Standardization and Attestation, which was part of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. In 2012 the Chief of Internal Affairs, one of the highest ranking police officers in Ukraine, tasked Prof. Tamoikin to do an unprecedented and very dangerous job in a very short amount of time. A job that other government departments declined to do.
Several of the arrested [with these treasures] were close bodyguards of former president of Ukraine - Viktor Yushchenko. Needles to say these people were extremely dangerous and were accused of very serious crimes such as murder and torture.
This highly sensitive matter demanded a lot effort, if it was to be completed in the limited timeframe that was given. Prof. Tamoikin and his team of 11 people worked non-stop under highest levels of security. They had to bring in experts from all parts of Ukraine and even the EU, something that had to be confirmed in writing by the Chief of Internal Affairs. All work was classified as top secret and took place in the vaults of the National Bank of Ukraine, under constant guard and supervision by the Secret Police, know as SBU. In the end, Tamoikin’s team got the job done on time, however instead of awards and acceptance of System TES (which made it all possible) as the national standard, everyone was issued regular letters of gratitude and quickly forgotten.
2014 Shout Out UK interview with Prof. Tamoikin when he was on Maidan:
For that participation he was instantly prosecuted, harassed and threatened by evermore violent Yanukovych regime. In fear for the safety of his family, Mikhail was forced to move to his second residence in Lithuania. From there he watched as the entire Maidan Revolution was hijacked by even more corrupt individuals, like current oligarch and President of Ukraine - Petro Poroshenko, along with his ministers.
Seeing that nothing has changed for the better, and the Poroshenko regime was much worse than Yanukovych’s, especially in light of the fact that many people who rose up against corruption were prosecuted even more severely, Mikhail Tamoikin realized he could not return to Ukraine. He started to openly criticize the new Kiev government for stealing the national wealth of Ukraine, jailing the regulators and reporters who dared to publicly confront them, while blaming all country’s troubles on the annexation of Crimea.
On several occasion Prof. Tamoikin appeared on National TV in Lithuania and have openly talked about the crimes that these new Ukrainian leaders were committing. For that he was repeatedly warned and then threatened by Ukrainian government officials, which included high ranking police chiefs. This also put him on the radar of criminal organizations that were working closely with the corrupt politicians.
In February of 2014, Mikhail received an offer to purchase an antique gold helmet, from one of his friend in Austria. Much to his surprise, this was the same helmet that was part of that half a billion dollar archaeology collection Prof. Tamoikin and his team documented, evaluated and appraised for the Ukrainian Police in the criminal case 18-458/1. He knew this artefact of national importance was the property of Ukraine and could not possibly be exported or sold. It belonged in a national museum, but never the less the offer was real and this gold helmet was already somehow smuggled to central Europe. Furthermore the helmet had fully documented history and provenance [obviously faked] stating that it belonged to a prominent Jewish family for decades, but now they wanted to sell it. The asking price was 30,000,000 EUR, which is the only truthful statement in those documents, as it was copied from original TES appraisal documents that Prof. Tamoikin did himself in 2012.
He soon learned that all 2500 gold artefacts were missing from the National Bank of Ukraine, so were all the documents from the criminal case 18-458/1 that Tamoikin’s team worked so hard on. As Mikhail learned later, his reports were destroyed soon after the Maidan Revolution was over, by someone in the police. That is not easy as it may sound, since those documents were represented by 24 volumes consisting of close to 11,000 pages. Without any doubt this was an inside job ordered by corrupt government officials. No paperwork meant that these extremely valuable gold rarities of national importance now belonged to no one and could permanently disappear from Ukraine. That’s exactly what happened, they were stolen without anyone knowing of their existence, then smuggled into central Europe in order to be sold there. Someone was supposed to get very rich.
What these criminals did not know was that Prof. Tamoikin kept official copies of all documents on that collection which had original signatures of top officers from Ministry of Internal Affairs. Furthermore he received permission from the police [at that time] to take them out of the country, which Mikhail did. That meant that he had the only copies that could prove this half a billion dollar gold collection belonged to the people of Ukraine. Furthermore it proved that these artefacts were stolen and smuggled into the EU. Precisely these vital reports Prof. Tamoikin actively used to stop each and every illegal attempt to sell those multimillion dollar artefacts. He sent the documents to law enforcement agencies, shared them with reporters and distributed copies to known art dealers – thus blocking those unlawful sales of stolen Ukrainian culture.
Tamoikin Art Fund’s July 3, 2015 Shout Out UK report where this criminal case 18-458/1 and the $30 million dollar gold helmet are published. One month later Mikhail Tamoikin was kidnapped: http://www.shoutoutuk.org/2015/07/03/the-shocking-counter-terrorism-report/
When powerful corrupt government officials and organized crime groups with deep international reach saw their transactions fall apart, all because of one man – they went after Mikhail. As long as those documents existed they could not sell that collection. As many of you can imagine half a billion dollars is not a small chunk of change. People get killed for far less. However killing Prof. Tamoikin would not solve their problem – they needed to get their hands on the documents, and destroy them.
For that reason on August 10, 2015 Professor Mikhail Tamoikin was tracked [with sophisticated technology available only to law enforcement], followed and professionally kidnapped in brought daylight at gunpoint in the center of Kiev, capital of Ukraine.
Here is what happened in Mikhail’s own words:
“On August 10, 2015 I was kidnapped and taken hostage by fully masked and armed gunmen, who had guns with silencers, in the Kiev city, capital of Ukraine. They first sprayed something in my face that made me dizzy, soon after I lost consciousness. I woke up from severe pain in the trunk of a car, fully tied and covered with a blanket on top of which someone was sitting to keep me down. I lost consciousness again and came to [due to beatings] on a large river boat. There I was beaten and tortured for several hours. I was tied up and blindfolded most of the time. A metal chain was placed on my neck, but it wasn’t tied to anything, and was used to pull and choke me.
Later that night, when my kidnappers left me alone, I was able to chew through the ropes and get free. The armed guards that beat me always came in pairs in one hour internal. This disciplined rotation reaffirmed my suspicion that they could be the police or the military. I hoped that if I were to make noise in between their scheduled checkups and beatings, only one guard would show up to check on me. So I did and by pure luck that is exactly what happened.
The light was off where I was, so I hid and got ready to jump on my kidnapper, using the element of surprise. When the guard came in I hit him several time, then ran past and jumped into the river Dnepr. Then I dove under the boat and swam underwater as far as I could into the middle of the river, almost loosing consciousness.
My attackers came after me, however because we were closer to the shore, they thought I would swim there, so the attention and the spotlights were focused away from me in the beginning, giving me time to make my escape. Another boat lit up in the dark and aided them in the search for me. Then they started patrolling the entire river. By pure luck I was able to evade them and escape, by swimming underwater most of the first hour. I would come up for air, take a few deep breaths and go under again, staying down as long as I could. Every time I came up to breath, I thought someone would see me and shoot me in the head, they all had guns with silencers after all. Miraculously that did not happen and after that first hour I swam and drifted quite far from the area where those boats were. I spent several hours in the river and was close to hypothermia even though it was summer. Nevertheless, I let the current take me as far away down the river, as I was able to bear. I feared that they would easily catch me with fast motorboats. By morning I no longer was able to stay in the water, so I swam to the shore, found people on a small beach near by, and with their help called the police.
These people, who saw me coming out of the water, could not believe their eyes. I had a metal chain on my neck. I was wearing only torn shorts. My skin was cut, bruised and injured. And on top of it all, I was so cold and beaten that I could not speak properly at first.
New reports about Prof. Tamoikin’s kidnapping in Ukrainian press:
Because I was a member of the International Police Association (www.ipa-iac.org) I had a number of friends in the police and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Right away they told me that my family and I were in grave danger, suggesting we leave the country immediately. As they explained, there were talks of corrupt high-ranking police officers that were extremely upset that I escaped, and were thinking of taking more drastic actions.
The professional style I was kidnapped, using a knockout spray, well armed gunmen, change of locations, use of cars and boats, being tied-up the way law enforcement would, all reaffirmed that corrupt police or military personnel were behind this. My own friends who served, said this was definitely MO of Ukrainian Secret Police.”
Read article “Kiev allows torture and runs secret jails, says UN”
After arriving to Lithuania, Prof Mikhail Tamoikin continued to actively promote his system TES, through videos, articles, conferences and other media events. Soon the Ministry of Defence of Lithuania noticed his work and invited Mikhail to be a guest speaker at the International Security Conference, held in Vilnius. There, Prof. Tamoikin once again talked about art smuggling, retelling the story how he stopped the illegal sale of the $30 million gold helmet and half a billion worth of other Ukrainian artefacts.
Watch Prof. Tamoikin’s presentation in the Ministry of Defence of Lithuania:
Once again, here is what happened in Mikhail’s own words:
“On October 21, 2015 I was bicycling to one of our art storage facilities, the location of which was known to only my family member and the police and the land registrar in Lithuania. At the point where the road was more visible to the oncoming traffic than to me, making it an ideal place to stage a collision, a dark car suddenly flew towards me at very high speed with its high beam lights on full. Right away it swerved towards me, with full intent to cause a high speed collision. I only had split seconds to react. Intuitively I twisted the handlebar, directing the bike away from the vehicle, but was unable to fully evade and got hit by the car. Fortunately my evasive actions minimized the impact. I was thrown away from the bicycle, flying several meters in the air before hitting pavement and rolling on the ground. Right before the collision and while in the air, I did see that the dark car was a minivan with no licence plates while the driver was masked by sunglasses and a hat. A metal guardrail stopped my tumble. As I hit it, I seriously injured my head, splitting it wide open. Blood started poring everywhere and I lost consciousness for what must have been a few minutes.
Conveniently, within a few minutes a police car arrived. From it, two people dressed as police officers emerged and started walking up to me cautiously. One of them had an upholstered handgun, which looked like a revolver. Not a standard issued firearm in Lithuanian police, to my knowledge. Hit men prefer revolves because they leave no casing when fired. At least that was the thought that flashed in my mid as they approached me. I was getting better but still could not stand up, so I just sat there awaiting my fait. By then, the sun started to set. It was not dark but it wasn’t broad daylight either. The two men talked in Lithuanian with each other and I could not understand them. They were also looking around a lot, somewhat nervously. Then they started to talk to me in Lithuanian, in a somewhat aggressive manner. I could not understand them, and replied in Russian, when that did not work I tried English. Almost all Lithuanians speak Russian, especially the policemen who are also obligated to know basic English. They did not respond in ether language and continued talking in Lithuanian. Then they looked at each other nodding, as if hey agreed to do something, when suddenly an old lady came out of the corner. As soon as they saw her, the two policemen said something to each other, got into a car and hastily left me bloodied and injured where I was.
Right that very moment I realized that real officers of the law would not do that. Either they were corrupt cops or criminals dressed as policemen, probably there to finish the job or kidnap me after the failed hit by the minivan. It was not uncommon for criminals to dress as law enforcement in Lithuania. In fact one of my associates, a well know art collector and his family were kidnapped and robbed by such fake policemen a number of years back.
Lithuanian art collector’s son kidnapped: http://ru.delfi.lt/news/crime/zaderzhany-podozrevaemye-v-pohischenii-ikon-za-50-mln-litov.d?id=28228119
The old lady approached me and naturally started talking in Lithuanian. Apparently she also did not understand Russian, however she did give me a cloth to stop the blood and then helped me get up. I nodded to her that I was alright and she reluctantly left. If it wasn’t for her, chances are I wouldn’t be alive now.
I as stood there thinking about what happened, my first reaction was to call the real police, however my cell phone got broken by the fall and did not work so I decided to slowly make my way back home. It was quite far, however when I realized that my family could also be in danger from these very same people a rush of adrenalin hit me, giving strength and clarity of mind. My bike was broken but surprisingly worked, more or less, so I rolled downhill on it and walked up. After I got home, cleaned myself up and had time to think, I realized that a second attempt on my life in such a short period of time in Lithuania, an EU nation, was only possible if local corrupt officials in government and police were working with or for the same people who kidnapped me in Ukraine.
In short, they knew everything about me to the detail and this time organized a well planed operation, involving an entire team of people in police uniforms and cars. It is hard to believe that such an operation was executed without the knowledge of the local police. I think someone was paid off and some were even in on it.
Furthermore, taking into account the very close cooperation between the government of Lithuania and the new government of Ukraine, where many Lithuanian citizens were invited to be Ukrainian ministers and high-ranking police commanders - I realized that some of these corrupt individuals could be working together to silence me.
Lithuanian citizens are serving as Ukrainian ministers and high-ranking policemen:
There was simply no way that corrupt Ukrainian police and criminals that organized this second attempt on my life would have know the following information about me – without explicit cooperation with the local Lithuanian police:
- They knew that I was living in Lithuania.
- They knew I was in Vilnius city and not anywhere else.
- They knew my home address, which I kept private.
- They knew the address of our secret storage facility, which was known only to my family members, the local police and government land registrar.
- They knew the exact route, out of many, that I would take to get to our secret facility, something that can only be done if they were either following me, or tracking my cell phone. I think it was the latter, as the streets were empty that day and I do not recall many vehicles on the road. It is also how my kidnappers tracked me in Ukraine, as I was told by my contact in the police there.
- They knew I would be on a bicycle and not in a car, so someone was watching my home.
- They knew the ideal place and time to hit me with the car, indicating that another person was directing the driver from higher ground, possibly the same policemen that approached me after I survived the hit.
- They had backup plan involving either actual police officers who were willing to kill me or criminals that dressed as such. Because those policemen arrived in a very real looking police car, I assume they were in fact corrupt but real officers of the law.
Right at that very moment I realized that I had to immediately leave Lithuania and move to a country where my family and I could be safe, where there was no corruption in law enforcement and where I could continue to work on my TES project to fight the criminal rule over the art market.”
It is important to add that on November 18, 2015, just one month after Prof. Tamoikin was attacked in Lithuania, his colleague – General Alexander Ruvin, Director of Institute of Criminology of Ukraine was shot at, but luckily survived. Mikhail and Alexander fought against corruption and worked closely together on several high-profile projects including the infamous criminal case 18-458/1. Prof. Tamoikin and his friends in the Ukrainian police believe Mr. Ruvin was targeted by the same people who kidnapped Mikhail.
Shot, Alexander Ruvin - Director of Institute of Criminology of Ukraine:
To this day Prof. Tamoikin is fighting against serious international mafia that is robbing Ukraine and other countries of their national cultural treasures that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the black art market.
He is able to do that because of his close fiends in the law enforcement, who not only warned and protected Mikhail after his kidnapping but also help him expose the corrupt officials that steal valuable works of art from their own people. Prof. Tamoikin cannot name most of his confidants, as that would put a lot of them in danger. Nevertheless, one person gave him such permission.
Col. Valeriy Stepanovich Kur (ret.) is a legendary figure in the Ukrainian police circles. He worked for a number of law enforcement agencies as well as the Ministry of Internal Affairs and was one the original founders of the first police department in Ukraine to fight organized crime.
“As far as my abilities allow, I continue to push the Ministry of Internal Affairs to do the investigation properly, to find the criminals who kidnapped you. I even accused them of purposeful inaction and intentional misconduct. So much so that I’ve already been openly told that I’m the main enemy of the Minister and his entire political team. So far, I encountered nothing but anger from the government bureaucrats and police officers. On the upside, today 3.05.2016 at 14:50 (local time), on TV (ISTV-channel) there’s going to be a small news report, where I will talk about your kidnapping. I am not indifferent to what happened to you, so I’m happy to tell your story. Let me know if you have any new details that I can share publicly.”
From Col. Kur’s own words it becomes clear that the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is fully informed about the kidnapping of Prof. Mikhail Tamoikin, however this case appears to be purposefully frozen while the colonel is intentionally stonewalled.
Because of this, Prof. Tamoikin and his friends in Ukrainian law enforcement circles, did their own private investigation and found out with high degree of certainty that the boat (which turned out to be a yacht) where Mikhail was kept prisoner, belonged to one of the high-ranking politicians. So much so that even past and current President of Ukraine, along with top ministers and oligarchs were known to hold private events on that yacht. This says much about the level and extreme seriousness of the people who ordered Prof. Tamoikin kidnapped and possibly killed. This also explains why his case is standing still and no one, from local police to Internal Affairs are willing to investigate it. It is clear they are ordered not to.
In contrast, a very similar kidnapping happened with the citizen of France, in the same city of Kiev, not long ago. Almost instantly the Ukrainian police found and prosecuted the perpetrators. This clearly shows that when the police wishes to solve a case, they do. When it comes to Mikhail, they do not.
French citizen kidnapped in Ukraine:
To conclude this incredible story, we asked Prof. Tamoikin to share the findings of an independent investigation done by his police colleagues, into why he was kidnapped and what was the main goal? Here are the top three versions:
#1) Prof. Tamoikin was kidnapped to get his (second) copies of all legal documents that represent and identify 2,500 rare gold artefacts confiscated by the Ukrainian police in the high profile case 18-458/1. Once the documents were retrieved from Mikhail, they could be destroyed, and so is the last proof that these rarities were in government’s possession. Then, corrupt politicians, using their power and criminal connections, could smuggle them into the EU and sell on the black art market for close to $500,000,000 US and potentially more.
#2) Mikhail’s kidnappers wanted to extort valuable antiques from his family members. The Tamoikin Art Fund, where Prof. Tamoikin is the Vice President, owns a number of world-class rarities such as:
- 4th c. B.C. Greek-Scythian gold drinking horn - valued at $12 million US.
- 1st c. B.C. Persian King's gold necklace - valued at $33 million US.
- 16th c. A.D. Rublev Iconostasis - valued at $7.6 million US
- Large ancient book collection worth tens of million.
- Very large antique weapons collection worth millions.
#3) It is possible that the people who ordered the kidnapping of Prof. Mikhail Tamoikin wanted to destroy his TES project, which is making the multibillion dollar shadow art market very transparent. That means the end of corruption, tax evasion, forgeries, under-the-table deals and all other criminal activities that make a lot of money for organized crime as well as their corrupt government patrons.
TES technologies and educational programs are well known around the world by art professionals, collectors, dealers as well as powerful politicians and even criminals. For example in 2006, Marina Poroshenko, the wife of the current President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, graduated from Prof. Tamoikin’s TES program. At the same time, it was widely known that all Ukrainian Presidents including Poroshenko (who is still a big art collector) stubbornly resisted any legislation that would regulate the art market in Ukraine. They liked and defended the status quo, where theft, contraband and corruption were practically made legal. The project TES fought against such unfair market conditions, in so doing making a lot of enemies including heads of state.
As Prof. Tamoikin says, his art fund, that is funding TES research, was on a verge of a major transaction that could allow his business to take a quantum leap forward. Project TES would get much stronger and his adversaries knew that. Shortly after, Mikhail was kidnapped that transaction halted, while he had to spend a lot of his savings on security, relocation, health and wellbeing of his family. This resulted in significant setbacks, which he is just starting to recover from.
Nevertheless, Prof. Mikhail Tamokin is now alive and well. The Tamoikin Art Fund and the Project TES have shown resilience in the face of extreme adversity. Mikhail, his family, friends, colleagues and enterprises came out of these misfortunes stronger and more confident that ever before. Prof. Tamoikin vowed to continue his fight against the organized crime in the art world. He already published a number of articles, gave several interview and many lectures.
You can write to Prof. Mikhail Tamokin at: www.tamoikin.com/contact
By George Markoff
Translation by Dmitry Tamoikin
Notes and references:
- New reports about Prof. Tamoikin’s kidnapping in Ukrainian press:
- Watch Prof. Tamoikin’s presentation in the Ministry of Defence of Lithuania https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO6xDBHH2JI
- 2014 Shout Out UK interview with Prof. Tamoikin when he was on Maidan: http://www.shoutoutuk.org/2014/01/24/ukraine-the-revolution-grows-where-will-it-all-end/
- Tamoikin Art Fund’s July 3, 2015 Shout Out UK report where this criminal case 18-458/1 and the $30 million dollar gold helmet are published. One month later Mikhail Tamoikin was kidnapped: http://www.shoutoutuk.org/2015/07/03/the-shocking-counter-terrorism-report/
- Article “Kiev allows torture and runs secret jails, says UN”: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/kiev-allows-torture-and-runs-secret-jails-says-un-vwlcrpsjn
- Lithuanian art collector’s son kidnapped: http://ru.delfi.lt/news/crime/zaderzhany-podozrevaemye-v-pohischenii-ikon-za-50-mln-litov.d?id=28228119
- Lithuanian citizens are serving as Ukrainian ministers and high-ranking policemen: http://24tv.ua/golovniy_politseyskiy_vilnyusa_pratsyuvatime_v_ukrayini_n646397
- Shot, Alexander Ruvin - Director of Institute of Criminology of Ukraine: http://en.censor.net.ua/news/361520/highprofile_cases_expert_oleksand_ruvin_was_shot_at_three_times_attack_connected_to_his_professional
- Col. Valeriy Stepanovich Kur (ret.) https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Кур,_Валерий_Степанович
French citizen kidnapped in Ukraine: http://newsoboz.org/proisshestviya/politsiya-zaderzhala-pohititeley-frantsuzskogo-grazhdanina-09052016172019
All statements in this report are an opinion of the author. Act at your own risk. Russia & America Goodwill Association (RAGA) is not responsible for the content of the article. Any views or opinions presented in this report are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RAGA. Any liability in respect to this communication remain with the author.