A Russian tycoon who bought former Rangers owner Craig Whyte’s Highland castle has admitted carrying out an £8 million fraud.
Sergey Fedotov, who purchased Castle Grant near Grantown-on-Spey for £1 million, organised a massive embezzlement while he was head of the Russian Authors’ Society, which collects royalty payments on behalf of writers.
He formed a scheme to transfer authors’ payments totalling £8.4 million into accounts controlled by him and then withdrew the money.
Fedotov has already served a prison sentence for a £3.6 million property fraud which he committed while running the organisation.
The 43-year-old businessman pleaded guilty to the latest fraud during a hearing at Moscow’s Presnensky District Court last week.
He has been held in custody since his arrest in December, 2018, following a raid by police in Moscow.
The court heard Fedotov created and headed an organised crime group in 2011, whose members looked for authors who sold the rights to their unpopular works for a small fee.
False information was provided about the repeated reproduction of these works on radio, television and in public places.
This resulted in royalty payments being transferred to bank accounts under Fedotov’s control and stolen.
No date for Fedotov’s sentencing has yet been set.
Fedotov bought Castle Grant in 2014 after it was repossessed from Whyte when he failed to keep up with mortgage payments.
Russian police started investigating Fedotov in 2015 after concerns were raised about where he got the funds to buy the castle and other properties in the south of England.
Fedotov has previously insisted that Castle Grant was bought lawfully and said the purchase was modest as the castle was only worth the price of a small apartment in Moscow.