A Ukrainian playboy who once posed for photos with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Clooney has been accused of organizing the nude photo shoot that sparked outrage in Dubai.
Vitaliy Grechin, a Kiev-born investor who grew up and worked in the US, has been identified by the media in his home country as the man behind the shoot in which 12 Ukrainian models and a Russian man were arrested and scheduled for deportation.
Grechin is believed to be the man featured in a photo taken in the same hotel room where a now infamous balcony photo was taken moments later.
In it, the man sits on a wing while surrounded by 19 naked women – two of whom are models who were found to be participating in the photo shoot that caught the attention of the Dubai police.
Vitaliy Grechin, a Ukrainian investor and playboy, has been accused of organizing the now infamous Dubai naked photo shoot that sparked outrage in the Arab state
Grechin is believed to be the man in this photo, taken in the same hotel room where the photo shoot later took place, surrounded by nude models
Some of the same models were then depicted on the balcony of the same hotel room, in an image that prompted Dubai police to arrest 12 people
Sources in Kiev told the local news site Country, one of Ukraine’s biggest news sites, that the man in that image is Grechin.
‘According to our information, [he] was the organizer of the trip itself and the scandalous photo session, ”the site reported.
A trawl from Grechin’s social media reveals he’s no stranger to being surrounded by groups of scantily clad women as he shows off his playboy lifestyle.
Facebook images show him posing with groups of women in bikinis on boats and in nightclubs, while another shows him on a private jet next to women dressed as flight attendants – two of whom are later portrayed in the cockpit in lingerie.
The Russian source BAZA reported that Grechin had not been detained with the rest of the group and had escaped from Ukraine.
Grechin has not commented on allegations of his involvement in the scandal.
Grechin was born in Kiev, but moved to America with his parents at the age of ten around the time of the fall of the USSR.
He is said to have earned a degree in financial and personnel psychology.
There are allegations that he served in the US military and that at one point he was posted to the US embassy in Ukraine.
It’s unclear whether a Russian man held in connection with the nudity in Dubai – IT company head Alexey Kontsov, 33 – has been linked to Grechin.
Russian diplomats have been known to provide him with consular assistance.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirmed that 11 of the women in the Dubai shooting were their citizens.
Grechin was born in Kiev, but moved to the US at the age of 10. He was pictured with then-President Obama in 2011, the same year he is thought to have made a $ 31,000 donation to Democrats.
Grechin was also portrayed alongside famous A-listers, including George Clooney
They were detained for “violation of the norms of public morality,” as was Kontsov.
Photos also show Grechin with then-President Obama, and records show at least one $ 33,100 political donation by a man by his name to his campaign in 2011 when the photo was taken.
Other photos show him with former US first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Hollywood stars George Clooney and Sylvester Stallone.
‘In public, Grechin shows in every way the hallmarks of’ expensive living, ” ‘Strana reported.
There are also rumors that he is organizing parties for Ukrainian MPs.
“These parties are traditionally attended by girls from Grechin’s escort suite.”
The report said, “Grechin’s main distinguishing feature is his way of surrounding himself with a large number of model-looking women.
“Grechin does not hide this, and even shows it in every possible way in social networks.”
Those arrested during the photo shoot, which took place just days before the start of Ramadan, faced up to six months in prison under the UAE’s strict laws on public morality.
But it has since been confirmed that they will be deported from the Arab state.
After an unusually swift investigation, Dubai’s Attorney General Essam Issa al-Humaidan announced that those behind the photo shoot would be deported to their home countries without elaborating further.
Dubai police have refused to officially identify the detainees. More than a dozen women appeared in the much-shared video – some of which were mentioned by Russian media.
Grechin’s social media accounts are inundated with photos of him next to scantily clad women showing off his playboy lifestyle
Grechin has not publicly responded to allegations that he was behind the shoot, and has not been named among those arrested
Marianna Fedchuk, 21, a woman revealed by the local media, admitted she was in a dressed photo, including many women who then undressed for the naked shot – but denied that she was one of the women on the balcony .
She said she flew back to Kiev before the photo was taken, she said, urging her followers to “ better follow her x-rated social media pages so you can at least distinguish naked me from the other naked girls. ” .
Meanwhile, it was revealed that trained attorney Yana Graboshchuk, 27, was part of the group detained for the revealing shoot – as her family said they knew where she had flown but had no idea what her purpose was.
She stood out for her signature tattoo that matches her photos on social media.
The Ukrainian and Russian authorities confirmed the arrest of their citizens on Tuesday, but the nationalities of the other detainees were not immediately known.
The rapid deportation is rare for the legal system in Dubai. Such cases are usually tried or otherwise tried before deportation.
“The prosecutor ordered the deportation of the suspects for their behavior contrary to public morals,” al-Humaidan said, adding that the group of women had been accused of violating the country’s public morality law.
Dubai is a top destination for the world’s Instagram influencers and models, who fill their social media feeds with slick bikini-clad selfies of the emirate’s luxury hotels and man-made islands on the coast.
But the city’s brand as a glitzy foreign tourist destination has at times sparked controversy and clashed with the Sheikh’s strict rules regarding public conduct and expression.
The nude photo shoot scandal came just days before Ramadan – the holiest month on the Muslim calendar – and when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in nearby Doha, Qatar, for an official state visit.
Over the years, Dubai has increasingly promoted itself as a popular holiday destination for Russians.
Cyrillic signs are a common sight in the city’s major shopping centers.