Litigation Release No. 21172 / August 6, 2009

SEC v. Vladimir Chekholko, 09-CV 6937 (RJS) (SDNY)

Commission Settles with Former Head of Sales for the New York Affiliate of Unregistered Foreign Broker Dealer OOO CentreInvest Securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a settled civil action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Vladimir Chekholko (Chekholko), the former head of sales of a registered broker-dealer, CentreInvest, Inc. (CI-New York), which was affiliated with an unregistered Russian broker-dealer, OOO CentreInvest Securities (CI-Moscow). The complaint alleges that from at least 2004 through November 2007, CI-Moscow â€" aided and abetted by Chekholko and others at CI-New York â€" solicited institutional investors in the United States to purchase and sell thinly-traded stocks of Russian companies, without registering as a broker-dealer as required by Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78o(a), or meeting the requirements for the exemption from registration for foreign broker-dealers under Exchange Act Rule 15a-6(a), 17 CFR § 240.15a-6. As alleged in the complaint, investors who expressed interest in transactions solicited by Chekholko were referred to CI-Moscow to complete their transactions. In doing so, Chekholko knew that he was referring investors to representatives of CI-Moscow who were neither licensed and registered with the Commission or an appropriate U.S. self-regulatory organization, nor exempt from such licensing and registration requirements.

The complaint seeks as relief a final judgment directing Chekholko to disgorge his ill-gotten gains, to pay prejudgment interest, and to pay a civil monetary penalty pursuant to Section 21(d)(3) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(3). Chekholko has consented, without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, to the entry of a final judgment directing him to pay disgorgement of $86,421, prejudgment interest of $14,439, and a civil penalty of $20,000.

In a separate administrative proceeding, the Commission issued an the Order Making Findings and Imposing Remedial Sanctions and a Cease-and-Desist Order Pursuant to Section 15(b) and 21C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Order). The Order finds that Chekholko willfully aided and abetted and caused CI-Moscow's violation of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. The Order directs Chekholko to cease and desist from committing or causing violations and any future violations of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. Further, the Order suspends Chekholko from association with any broker or dealer for a period of six (6) months. Chekholko consented to the issuance of the Order without admitting or denying the Commission's findings, except as to the Commission's jurisdiction over him and the subject matter of the proceedings. (In the Matter of Vladimir Chekholko, Rel. 34-60450 (August 5, 2009); Admin. Proc. File No. 3-13304).

SEC Complaint