Added: Mikka Volpe - Date: 16.10.2021 01:13 - Views: 10451 - Clicks: 3260
When a British charity worker got engaged to a young Ukrainian woman, he thought he was building a new life for them both in Odessa - he was wrong. James's car pulled up at the Villa Otrada. The year-old British charity worker had been looking forward to this moment for months. He was excited to see his fiancee, Irina, waiting for him outside the restaurant on Ukraine's Black Sea coast. Twenty years younger than him, she looked glamorous, her blonde hair fresh from the hairdresser. Not far away were what James thought were Irina's parents and 60 invited guests, also dressed to the nines.
James got out of the car and the waiting crowd turned to clap. It was Julythe start of Marriage with ukrainian ladies hot summer in Odessa, and tables had been laid out on Villa Otrada's terrace overlooking the sea. Moments later, James and Irina recited their wedding vows under an arch of flowers. But what should have been the perfect moment was in fact nothing of the sort. By midnight James was lying alone in hospital, sick from a suspected spiked drink.
He was married, but it wasn't to the woman he loved. It was the couple's wedding planner. This is a story about how a British man lost most of his life savings, as well as his dignity. And how Ukraine's justice system laughed in his face. Such is his embarrassment that he's told no-one in the UK his story, not even his family. The BBC has verified his of what happened using bank documents, official records, text messages, and interviews with many of those directly involved. A showing the silhouette of a man in a hat with a pipe sticks out above the pavement of Lanzheronivska Street in central Odessa.
Follow the yellow-and-black arrow through the archway and across a courtyard, and you reach the office of Robert Papinyan, private investigator. The former policeman is well-dressed, with dyed black hair. Everything is on brand. There's a Sherlock Holmes notepad, Sherlock Holmes business cards and his ringtone is the theme tune of the Soviet TV version of Sherlock Holmes which many in the former Soviet world argue is the best.
As it turns out, Mr Papinyan's methods bear little relation to that of his Marriage with ukrainian ladies hero on Baker Street. It's the entertainment heart of the city, full of restaurants Marriage with ukrainian ladies bars. Walk down it in the evening and you'll almost certainly see Western men dining out with much younger Ukrainian women, a bag of expensive deer gifts sitting on the chair beside them. There's a thriving "dating" industry here. It's multi-faceted and ranges from pay-per-mail services to face-to-face "romance tours", where Western men pay thousands of dollars to meet a series of prospective young Ukrainian "wives".
But James says he didn't come to Odessa looking for love. A charity worker living in the UK, he was asked by a friend in to help set up a new project supporting children fleeing the conflict zone in Ukraine's east. Europe's second-largest country had just undergone a revolution, and Russia had responded by supporting a rebel uprising. Working abroad was new to James, but he threw himself into it with the help of a translator called Julia. For several months he shuttled back and forth, combining his voluntary work in Odessa with his full-time job in the UK. Then that winter, a heavy snowfall brought their work in Odessa to a halt.
There wasn't much to do, so Julia suggested that James might like to go on a date with one of her friends. That friend was Irina. Then 32 years old, she was from Donetsk, Marriage with ukrainian ladies of the cities in eastern Ukraine that are now occupied by Russian-backed fighters.
It soon became clear that her troubled past went much deeper than just fleeing war. There was an age difference of 20 years but James says they got on "like a house on fire". The couple went out for a few evenings in a row, enjoying Odessa's nightlife.
James had fun with Irina, but they were never alone. Irina spoke minimal English and James no Russian or Ukrainian. But there was a chemistry between us," says James. Perversely when they were apart, communication was easier. They flirted through the messaging app Viber, which has a translation function. And thanks so much for that… I believe in YOU. Just you can give me this happiness. I love you," one message she sent James says. Over the next six months, the new couple saw each other whenever James came to Odessa.
There were expensive meals and evenings at Marriage with ukrainian ladies Opera House. But intimacy, even kissing, was off-limits. Translator Julia was always there and Irina told him she didn't believe in sex before marriage. Eight months before the wedding reception, the pair held an engagement party at the same venue, Villa Otrada.
A video shows James and Irina dancing slowly on the dancefloor. He's moving stiffly, she's smiling and waves at the camera. It's November11 months after their first date. James had popped the question after some firm prodding from both Julia and Irina. He says he'd fallen in love but had no illusions about the strength Marriage with ukrainian ladies Irina's feelings.
The connection was a sort of shared interest. James began paying for Irina to have English lessons. The hope was that it would pave the way for her to move with him to the UK. But after a few chats with embassy officials, it was clear that the bureaucratic obstacles to a move were huge.
So he took the plunge, deciding to move to Ukraine and start a new life with Irina. He quit his job and sold his house, and with Irina's encouragement they began looking for a place to live together in Odessa. My Marriage with ukrainian ladies in the UK thought it was a big step but they were happy for me that I had a future. Transferring money from the UK to Ukraine is never straightforward. Ukraine is one of Europe's most corrupt countries and has had several high-profile banking scandals. Money-laundering controls mean there are limits on the size of the transfer, and big s quickly attract attention.
Instead of putting the money in Irina's personalJames was told he should put the money in the company of her friend Kristina, the wedding planner.
Despite some misgivings, James wired the money to Kristina. When the money arrived in Ukraine things took a surreal turn. Irina announced to James that the bank would only release the money if he was legally married to Kristina. It would be a formality, completed in just 10 minutes in a registry office and unpicked at a later date, she said.
James was now in an impossible situation. With just days to go Irina was threatening to call off their wedding unless the money was released and they had a home to move into. So on Friday 10 Julywith the encouragement of his fiancee Irina, James married the wedding planner Marriage with ukrainian ladies Stakhova.
Irina was "jumping up and down," James said, "she was happy now". With good reason. The day after marrying Kristina, James's taxi pulled up at his wedding reception to Irina at the Villa Otrada. His plan was to do everything apart from the legalities - go ahead with the wedding before sorting out a quickie divorce to Kristina and a new legal marriage to Irina. With the benefit of hindsight, James now knows that everything about the wedding reception was a scam.
The prices were inflated, the 60 guests most probably paid to be there, even Irina's "mother" turned out to be Julia the translator's mum. He was almost certainly the only one attending who thought it was real. James didn't know it at that point, but his fiancee Irina already had a husband.
Kristina the Marriage with ukrainian ladies planner also had a husband, called Denys, but he was apparently more willing to play along. Records show Kristina divorced Denys three weeks before she ed the paper to marry James. Once the scam marriage was over, Marriage with ukrainian ladies married Denys again.
The evening of the wedding reception, with a first-ever night of intimacy between James and Irina looming, drastic measures were taken. James believes he was drugged by the person who he thought was Irina's mother. James ended the night in hospital. Irina refused to go with him and the next day accused him of getting drunk and humiliating her in front of her family. For the next few weeks Irina kept her distance, saying she herself had medical problems but that James couldn't visit her in hospital. So with me can be only my mom. Eventually the madness stopped.
Tatyana is an official translator who tried to help James pick up the pieces after the scam. Somehow James avoided sinking into deep depression. Instead he focused his energy on getting his money back - and getting justice. But he was about to get a crash course in the inadequacies of the Ukrainian justice system. Marriage with ukrainian ladies times he went to the Odessa police, giving his of what had happened and the evidence he'd collected.
Ukraine's police force, and Odessa's in particular, have a pretty rotten reputation for fighting crime. Marriage scams, even unusual ones like this, are a long way down their list of priorities. Getting the police to act often involves bribing them but it was something which James refused to do. Irina and Kristina were taken in for questioning but despite James's documents and Ms Kozerga's prompting, no charges have been brought against them. We contacted the police in Odessa but they declined to comment on James's case. He's holding on to it in the rather forlorn hope that its value will rise once the Covid pandemic is over.
There's no secret about Mr Papinyan's methods. He freely admits to us that "intimidation" is one of his tools. When we visit his office, three heavy-set men are sitting in the entrance. Mr Papinyan believes that the women were the driving force behind the scam but has been communicating with them through their husbands. Mr Papinyan shares their contacts and we reach out. Kristina's two-time husband Denys sends us photos of a car that he says has been following him and complains that Mr Papinyan's men are "extortionists". Irina's husband Andriy replies that there must be a mix-up and that he would pass our contacts to his wife.
She never gets back to us but we find her dating profile still up online. She's listed as a divorced babysitter and promises, "My heart will belong to one man and only one. He's still hoping that he might be getting some more of his money back. We gave her until June 20 to resolve the issue of debt repayment.
James has endured too much to get his hopes up. He's got another charity job now and is trying to move on. Part of the Marriage with ukrainian ladies he's concealing his identity is that he doesn't want his employers to be alarmed. Being scammed out of a quarter of a million dollars doesn't look good on the CV.
And what would you say to someone who re Marriage with ukrainian ladies story and says "What a fool! James says he decided to tell the BBC his story to warn others tempted to seek romance in Ukraine. One crumb of comfort he takes away from it is that Britain's foreign office has modified its Ukraine travel advice to reflect his painful and costly experience.
According to Action Fraudromance scams involve people being duped into sending money to criminals who go to great lengths to gain their trust and convince them that they are in a genuine relationship. Their requests might be highly emotive, such as criminals claiming they need money for emergency medical care, or to pay for transport costs to visit the victim if they are overseas.
Scammers will often build a relationship with their victims over time. If you think you have been a victim of a romance scam, do not feel ashamed or embarrassed - you are not alone. Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud.
James is not his real name. Sherlock Holmes? Engaged to Irina.Marriage with ukrainian ladies
email: [email protected] - phone:(202) 194-6171 x 3202