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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Businessman Is Denied Entry at Sheremetyevo Airport

A U.S. businessman who claims a Russian criminal group stole his Moscow furniture store chain was denied entry into the country at Sheremetyevo Airport's Terminal One when he flew in Monday.

Frank Neuman, former owner of the Abitare furniture chain, said by telephone from the airport's arrivals area Monday evening that after his flight arrived that morning, he had his passport confiscated while going through passport control. After a 45-minute wait, border guards told him that he was not allowed to enter the country, Neuman said. He was given no explanation for the denial, he said.

A Sheremetyevo spokesman confirmed Monday evening that border guards had denied a U.S. citizen entry at 10 a.m. that morning after arriving from Ukraine, though he would give no further details.

Neuman said he had spent the entire day in the arrivals area trying to clarify the situation, to no avail.

"They have treated me well, and even fed me," Neuman said. "Basically they have just told me to leave."

He declined to discuss his travel itinerary, citing security concerns.

According to Neuman, on Jan. 15 his former business partners, Oleg Lototsky and Marat Chekanov, used a brigade of security guards to seize Abitare's five stores in Moscow, and told employees that they were now the owners of the company.

Neuman contacted police on the same day, claiming $4.9 million in damages. Police said Thursday that Lototsky and Chekanov had been arrested and charged with large-scale fraud.

Neuman said he is convinced he was denied entry because of the business dispute. "There's no other explanation," he said. "It certainly wasn't [about] taxes. We are a clean American business."