A CHAUFFEUR charged with stealing a £167,000 diamond ring from a multi-millionaire businessman has walked free after his former boss was told that his use of prostitutes and drugs would be made known to a jury.
Evgeny Klyucharev had accused Irfan Zayee of taking the ring which belonged to his wife, Veronica Chou, a friend of British royal, princess Beatrice.
However, Mr Klyucharev and Ms Chou, who own homes in Hong Kong, New York and London, withdrew their witness statements after they were told that conversations between the chauffeur and the tycoon would be read out in court.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard there were 130 pages of messages, which showed that Mr Zayee ordered sex workers for his boss on a regular basis and that a number of videos existed allegedly showing Mr Klyucharev high on the party drug GHB.
Mr Zayee claimed he sold the ring on behalf of Mr Klyucharev, with his consent, and would have presented his use of prostitutes and drugs as evidence of his bad character. The court was further told that the chauffeur had been offered £30,000 to keep quiet about the Russian tycoon’s use of callgirls and narcotics.
Prosecution counsel Genevieve Reed told Blackfriars Court: “The charges of theft and fraud by false representation will be dropped. There has been a change of heart from the complainants in light of the material in the bad character application and they no longer want to give witness statements. I can confirm that Mr Klyucharev accepts that it is him in the videos and who sent the messages.”
The court heard that the 6.29 carat diamond ring in question had been sold by Mr Zayee to a jeweller in Finchley, North London in March 2016 and had turned up in America, where it was flagged up to the authorities as stolen. Mr Klyucharev then spent £42,000 in legal costs as he sought to have it returned.
Defence counsel Dominic D’Souza, said:
There are videos of Mr Klyucharev in various stages of GHB intoxication. They are salacious and embarrassing. He should see these videos and reconsider what he says. He says in his social circles that this sort of behaviour is acceptable.
Outside the court, Mr Zayee said: “My only comment is thank God for my barrister.”