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Russian gangster planned to build a mansion with cash made from shipping 13 sex slaves to Britain
Sergey Konart, 42, and girlfriend Ekaterina Lolesnikova, 28, ran a 100,000 a year human trafficking ringThe pair brought at least 13 sex slaves to the UK
They planned to buy huge house back in Bulgaria with their ill-gotten gainsKonart, who was jailed for 10 years, has been ordered to pay back 150,000
19:06 GMT, 28 November 2012
19:07 GMT, 28 November 2012
A Russian gangster planned to build a mansion with the huge profits he made by shipping at least 13 sex slaves into the UK.
Sergey Konart, 42, plotted to construct an enormous house in Bulgaria with girlfriend Ekaterina Kolesnikova, 28, from the income of their 100,000 a year human trafficking ring.
At Southwark Crown Court today Konart was ordered to pay back 150,000 of the 200,000 he netted running the racket.
The Russian smuggled more than a dozen women into Britain from Eastern Europe under false identities over three-and-a-half years.
Sex traffickers Sergey Konart (left) and girlfriend Ekaterina Kolesnikova. Konart was ordered by a judge at Southwark Crown Court to pay back 150,000 of the 200,000 he made by running a human trafficking ring
He and Kolesnikova then forced them to work in brothels in Chelsea and Earls Court, west London, to pay off alleged debts of up to 80,000, charging clients up to 200 a visit.
The women were threatened into submission with violence and plied with ecstasy and cocaine.
Last year Konart was jailed at Southwark Crown Court for ten years and Kolesnikova was locked up for two-and-a-half years for her part in the ‘substantial commercial enterprise.’
He was told today by Judge John Price that he must pay back the cash within six months or face a further year and nine months behind bars.
Konart has already paid more than 50,000 back.
Kolesnikova, who has been released from prison but remains in detention in relation to immigration issues, earned 100,000 for her role.
But she was ordered to pay back just 30.
Judge Price ordered the money, held in a bank account in her name, should be paid within seven days.
Two victims of the couple told the court last year they had been promised a ‘better life’ working as a cleaner and a waitress, only to be forced to become prostitutes.
Sergey Konart was ordered to pay back 150,000 at Southwark Crown Court in London today
Hanna Llewelyn-Waters, prosecuting, said building plans for a mansion in Bulgaria were discovered in a raid on one of the premises.
She described the operations as ‘organised and sophisticated’ with women being smuggled via Germany and Italy before reaching the UK.
The women were housed in one of seven properties rented by Kolesnikova, an Uzbekistan national, using one of her many aliases.
The prostitutes were given working names and makeovers before posing in lingerie for photographs, which were then used to advertise their services on the internet.
Many willing sex workers agreed to hand over half of their takings but some were tricked into travelling to England.
The prosecutor said: ‘They were preyed on as they were vulnerable, with promises of waitressing and cleaning, a better life.
‘Eventually they were told the real purpose of coming to this country – they were going to be working in the sex industry.
Knaresborough Place in Earls Court, where one victim was led by Sergey Konart and put to work at 150 an hour
'These women were effectively enslaved by a debt bondage into working as prostitutes at the defendants’ behest.
‘They were told they could leave but would have to pay substantial debts.
‘Threats were made to their families.
‘There were concerns their families could be targeted by the other ends of the criminal network in Russia.
‘There was little faith held by the complainants, in the Russian police.’
The workers’ takings were collected on an almost daily basis, paid into banks and diverted out of the country.
‘At least 340,000 was transferred by these defendants,’ added the prosecutor. ‘Largely out of the country.’
She said several thousand dollars was found stashed in a safe deposit box in Knightsbridge, 10,000 at one of the properties, and 3,000 on Konart’s person.
One of Konart's victims arrived at Heathrow Airport in late 2007 on a false Polish identity
Ms Llewelyn-Waters added: ‘Jewellery and loose jewels were found, and Kolesnikova has made more than 158,000 of transfers through various aliases.’
One of the victims, who arrived at Heathrow Airport in late 2007 on a false Polish identity, was led to a flat at Knaresborough Place in Earls Court before being put to work at 150 an hour.
She estimated she earned at least 200,000 for her captors between then and July 2009, when she escaped.
On one occasion she said she heard Konart ‘talking to his mother about a mansion they were building from money earned in the United Kingdom'.
‘Police did find plans for a mansion being built in Bulgaria’, said the prosecutor.
Konart, of Sloane Court East, Chelsea, admitted conspiracy to traffic women into the UK for sexual exploitation, a similar conspiracy within the UK, conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, two charges of possessing criminal property, and removing criminal property from the UK.
Kolesnikova, also of Lower Sloane Street, admitted conspiracy to control prostitution, three counts of possessing false identity documents – one with intent, and removing criminal property.
The conspiracy ran between 1 July 2007 and 15 December 2010.