No, I’m not a spy. However, I grew up liking the “James Bond” saga just as many of us did and still do.
Why do you speak Catalan and other languages?
My adult life began when I enrolled in the Spanish philology degree at the University of Barcelona. I studied in Spanish, Russian, English and Catalan. Thus I mastered my language skills. I also got a Teaching English as a Foreign Language degree from Trinity College London. Formally, I’m a linguist and a teacher.
How come the media linked you to crime, spies and the Catalan movement?
I have collaborated with the fiscal police of the Russian Federation in order to facilitate better conditions for a pending extradition of a well known criminal. I was working for the police. I later retired and became a member of the IPA (International Police Association). I consider that an honourable act that helped fight crime. I hate to say some people think otherwise.
Regarding the spies, as I said in many occasions, I’ve met people that were former spies in Russia at a conference that was organised by MGIMO (https://mgimo.ru) university and that was it. I admire their profession from a romantic perspective of a life full of mystery that action movies have shown us.
Regarding the Catalan movement, I have to say I admire the peaceful democratic agenda of the Catalan government built in order to negotiate their problems with the Spanish government and launch a referendum regarding the topics that most affect both sides. I’m a democrat and I fight for civil rights. My trips to Moscow were not limited to the Catalan politicians (that included members of two political movements – “Ciutadans” and “Junts”).
I met both based on my contacts related to RussCat (formerly Catrus) and Circulo Equestre in Barcelona. I also took Andorrans to Russia in order to introduce them to the Russian business people. No projects in Andorra I got into brought me the expected results. Despite that, I love the country and rent a flat there.
I’m open to all cultures and countries as long as they show respect and willingness to collaborate.
Some press accuses you of fraudulent activities, being a hacker and other things, like your businesses weren’t a success?
Not all of my businesses prospered, I have faced fraud myself on behalf of people whom I considered friends. I have never been accused of any crime or wrongdoing. I don’t think it’s weird to face scams and frauds, especially when you have a very active social and business life. In order to be clear, I’d like to explain more about my businesses.
When I was a young man, in my early 20th, I set up a company named “The7studios” that did a lot of good work setting up websites for many clients, I was very successful with that, I even worked on app development for the Ministry of the Interior of Spain later called AlertCops with the University of Barcelona and taught a course on “How to market your app” there. I’m not a developer and not a hacker, as some people might have thought, I have acquired limited knowledge of the web tools and I mostly ran development teams back then.
Later I got a specialisation in debt collection and went on developing my negotiator’s career further. I did a lot of extrajudicial negotiations for me and my clients. Some were Spanish, some were French, some were Russian.
I got into restaurant business (7 times) and to be honest none of my restaurants were a big success financially, most just paid for themselves, however I focused on the restaurants as social venues and used these as places to meet my customers and friends for other businesses I was focused on.
I did a good job at an international investment bank called Clairfield International, I brought some successful deals to the table and was interested to further my career in the finance. I later on started in the field of marketing of investment products such as derivatives, oil trading, debt restructuring and other financial instruments as a consultant.
In the meanwhile my startup Web360, that was supposed to bring affordable webpages to everyone, was a complete disaster which led me to withdraw myself from the startup world for a while, because I was defrauded by an investor who signed an investment agreement, gave us an “empty” check, and later was sent to jail for fraud, apparently he not only did that to us alone. That was a big hit and I suffered a lot financially and morally.
In the meanwhile, I was also working on other projects like Highlight City, Dribble Dots, and other smaller projects. I had to leave those and focus on reinventing my businesses.
I focused on debt negotiations and helped a Russian entrepreneur save almost a million euros. He agreed to co-invest with me in a restaurant project that I later took over as a compensation for my work. The restaurant was named Cata 1.81 and was a lovely wine place that was oriented towards tourists. One day to my surprise the lady that was in charge of the restaurant decided to order a cellar-full of wine that never made it to the restaurant and made me go into losing almost 2 months of revenue, leave alone the profits.
I had to survive and I managed to close down the restaurant and get refinanced to set up a new one at the same place. However my workers didn’t follow me and had to start anew. The restaurant we built with my new partner is now one of the most famous ones in Barcelona, it’s called Haddock and it’s a wonderful tavern with jazz concerts reviewed as the top Catalan cuisine spot in town.
All of my career progress is publicly available through my LinkedIn profile that I tend to keep up-to-date.
How do you fight Russophobia and why?
I was always accused of things by simply being of Russian origin, people tend to connect you to things you aren’t just based on false prejudices. I lighten up xenophobic activities online and use my social influence to change that. I’m a supporter of ACNUR and also work on the topic of women empowerment and social equality through forums and speeches I organise as the president of RussCat (https://russcat.org). We try to bring a positive image of the Russian-speaking community forward and to boost the presence of top quality companies in the EU with Russian-speaking professionals in there. We also foster Russian speakers and Catalan speakers to exchange business and social topics. We promote civil rights and democratic ideas that help the world to become a better place.
What is your connection to the Volhov case?
Well, that’s something that hit me through my connections with the former Catalan president’s chief of staff and his lawyer. And there’s extensive media coverage of those connections. Mostly taken out of context and sometimes exaggerated to the point that a clear intention of stirring public opinion is noticeable even to a non-habitual press reader. I insist I never worked for them, I never helped them politically and I do think a person with three doctorate degree is worth a listen. I organised social encounters with the elite of the education world that mostly studies international conflicts and conflictology in general in order to listen and to learn. My agenda was social and non-partisan. I am of centrist political beliefs and I don’t support any particular party and/or movement neither with my personal funds nor with any others’.
How can people and press contact you?
That is very easy. If you know my personal number, please, send me a WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram or any other message and I’ll call or write back. You can also find me on any social network, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. I’m very public and some times you can find me at Sants area or by El Mauri in Barcelona. I love to meet for coffees and in case you’re not around there’s a button “call me” on this web that will connect you with RussCat and will pass your call. Anyways, to all those who don’t know me, I’m an easy person to contact. I do prefer messengers to emails though. This page is clearly designed to bring your attention to the topic of “Russophobia” that I fight against, I don’t encourage anyone to give me any money, I have enabled a submission form to find supporters and discuss our plans on how we can tackle xenophobia together. That’s it, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask.