Russia: Internet Adoption

Date: 2006-01-25
Source: Kommersant

Ivan Jerdev [or Zherdev], president of the U.S. Yunona Charitable Fund, has been detained in Russia on suspected infringement of child’s privacy right and on suspected fraud. According to Krasnodar investigators, Yunona’s business was to illegally gather and sell to adoption agencies the data on private lives of children from Russia’s orphan homes or boarding schools. Exactly Yunona helped adopt Alex Geiko, who was killed by his adoptive mother Irma Pavlis just in a few months after leaving for the United States.
Ivan Zherdev of Russia set up Yunona Charitable Fund in California in 1994 to cover Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and to extend to Guatemala, Vietnam and some other countries. Krasnodar office of Yunona was founded by Ivan Zherdev in tandem with his brother Vladimir.

The tactics were as follows: by bribing officials, the fund’s coordinators first amassed confidential information about the children from orphan homes and boarding schools. The next move was to sell information to the U.S. adoption agencies for from $10,000 to $20,000 a child.

In 2003, the Zherdev brothers helped to adopt Alex Geiko and were paid $11,000 for it. The boy was killed by his adoptive mother Irma Pavlis just in a few months after he left for the United States. Pavlis got the 12-year sentence past year.

The Krasnodar prosecutors are currently probing into a case re: violated privacy right of children from orphan homes or boarding schools. The cause of action was the Internet display of photos and personal data about such children.

The second count is fraud. After receiving money from the United States and Russia, Yunona didn’t always execute its obligations to clients. In California’s Napa, they are investigating 12 claims filed by the Americans.

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