How a Russian organization with criminal activity, fraud, and under-sanctioned founders works in Paris

In this series of articles, we examine prominent pro-Russian organizations in Europe. Today, we take a closer look at The International Human Rights Defence Committee (IHRDC), otherwise known as Comité International pour la Protection des Droits de l’Homme (CIPDH). An in-depth investigation revealed that nearly 70% of the organization’s leadership consisted of fake profiles. Moreover, the original structure was archived. In general, this organization is predicated on a combination of criminal activity, fraudulent schemes involving African gold, and a sanctioned leader. In the end, it is one giant vehicle for fraud.

What is wrong with IHRDC/CIPDH

CIPDH sells fake diplomatic passports. The selling of these documents has become such a problem that the EU has placed the group on a list of known entities engaging in selling fantasy or camouflaged passports.

Also, IHRDC/CIPDH has disproportionate evidence of criminal activity often associated with an organized crime such as the following: prostitution, alleged extortion, and implications of involvement in the moving of Gaddafi’s illicit wealth out of Libya after the fall of his regime.

IHRDC/CIPDH was founded in 2006 in Paris; however, official documentation fails to communicate who was truly involved in establishing this organization, ensuring the full circumstances of its origins remain opaque. CIPDH’s addresses raise more questions than answers

Key figures and funding

Matias Meroving, Vitali Ginsburg (a/k/a “Vito”), and Alexander Ionov (a/k/a “Sasha”).

One of CIPDH’s many VP luminaries, Matias Meroving, found himself at the epicenter of a criminal conspiracy involving selling counterfeit law enforcement credentials that came to an end after attempting to extort a client for $1.5 million.

Meroving Matias, Secretary General of the International Human Rights Defense Committee (IHRDC)

As reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Vitali Ginsburg is a self-proclaimed former Russian military intelligence officer (GRU) whose career spanned nearly two decades with an emphasis on operations conducted in Ghana. Billed as the head of the African department of CIPDH, Vito has engaged less in nonprofit work and more in an allegedly fraudulent scheme involving nonexistent African gold.

Vitali Ginsburg

The United States Government has determined Mr. Ionov to be an FSB co-opted who participates in the Kremlin’s malign influence campaign, and cooperates with Prigozhin’s Project Lakhta entities that publish and disseminate disinformation; therefore, his actions have directly led to him being sanctioned by the U.S. 

Alexander Ionov

How dangerous are such organizations?

Russian Nonprofit organizations, whether directly or indirectly, that are involved in money laundering, reputational manipulation, narrative control, or criminal activity, can have a corrosive effect on the European nonprofit sector. Furthermore, any Russian NGO engaged in such practices can be used as a tool for weaponized kleptocracy to undermine Western institutions.

In past articles, we have highlighted Association known as Franco-Russe Dialogue, the Public Initiative “Creative Diplomacy” (PICREADI), and The St. Basil the Great Foundation.

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