Russian man sentenced to 14 months' jail, $30,000 fine for loan shark-related offences

SINGAPORE - A 22-year-old Russian man harassed flat occupants on behalf of a loan shark to whom he owed money, and even gave him access to his own bank account.

Vladimir Danilenko, who is a diploma student in Singapore, was jailed on Thursday (Dec 3) for 14 months and fined $30,000.

Court documents did not state which school or course he was attending.

Danilenko had pleaded guilty to two charges of loan-shark harassment and one count of assisting a loan shark to carry out the business of moneylending.

Seven other charges for loan-shark harassment were taken into consideration during sentencing by District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan.

According to court documents, Danilenko borrowed $400 from a loan shark known as "Bro" in November last year but was unable to repay the loan.

Bro then offered Danilenko work to harass other debtors on his behalf. Danilenko initially agreed but later failed to do so.

In December last year, the loan shark offered Danilenko $150 in exchange for his automated teller machine (ATM) card and his corresponding personal identification number (PIN).

The student then left his ATM card and details of his PIN on top of letterboxes in a housing estate at Sengkang East Avenue and received the promised sum in return.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu said that an unknown runner working for Bro gained access to Danilenko's DBS bank account using the ATM card and PIN.

"The bank statement of the accused's DBS account showed that at least $28,900 was deposited and withdrawn from Dec 28, 2019 to Jan 20, 2020," said the DPP.

Bro contacted Danilenko again in February this year, offering to pay him $150 to $300 for each flat that he splashed paint on and at which he left a debtor's note as a message from the loan shark.

Danilenko then roped in Kodagoda Dulshan Kavinda, a 24-year-old Sri Lankan national, for assistance.

On Feb 6 at 1.34am, the duo went to a flat in Jalan Bukit Merah, where Danilenko splashed paint at the unit, including on its front door and gate, and left a note about a purported loan.

The student repeated his actions again five days later at a flat in Woodlands.

On both occasions, Kavinda recorded the harassing acts using Danilenko's mobile phone, as proof to Bro that they had done as he had asked.

Court documents state that Danilenko harassed debtors on seven other occasions.

He received about $800 in total from Bro and gave about $400 to Kavinda.

The Sri Lankan national was sentenced to 10 months' jail on Sept 21 for his involvement in the harassment acts.

On Thursday, Danilenko's lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya said that his client would not be able to pay the fine. The student will therefore serve an additional four weeks' jail instead.

For his offence of assisting a loan shark to carry out the business of moneylending, Danilenko could have been jailed up to four years, fined between $30,000 and $300,000, and caned up to six strokes.

First-time offenders of loan-shark harassment can be jailed up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and caned up to six strokes.