Naked balcony models ‘remain locked up’
The Ukrainian playboy alleged to be behind the naked Dubai photo shoot could be jailed for 18 months - with the models still being held in jail.
Vitaliy Grechin, the wealthy businessman behind a scandalous nude photo shoot that saw at least 40 women arrested, is believed to be in custody, The Sun reports.
This was despite earlier reports from Segodnya newspaper, that the 41-year-old had left the United Arab Emirates.
While the Kyiv-based US passport holder had at this stage only been arrested, he could face one-and-a-half years in jail, said the outlet, citing its own sources.
Meanwhile, the models from Ukraine who earlier this month posed naked on a balcony while taking part in an "indecent video" are still in detention waiting to be deported, say reports in Kyiv.
Videos and photographs showing the naked women, lined up on a balcony while being filmed, began circulating on social media on April 3.
Pictures have now emerged showing the models lined up inside the apartment, in the city's up-market Marina neighbourhood.
They are also seen from inside posing on the balcony in full view of the city.
As well as jail, those involved face fines of around $1800 for violating public decency laws in the United Arab Emirates.
All of the models are understood to be from the ex-Soviet Union including Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.
Grechin had been pictured with a string of famous names including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, and Viktor Yanukovych junior, late son of the former Ukrainian president.
Ukrainian reports say 11 models are expected to be deported "soon" but the exact timing is not known.
If so, this is seen as lenient treatment because under Sharia law they could have been jailed for six months for offending public morality.
A twelfth model has been diagnosed as suffering from COVID-19 and her departure will be delayed, said Segodnya.
A Russian IT company boss Alexey Kontsov, 33, allegedly involved in the balcony picture, also remains in detention in Dubai.
Another eight Ukrainian women were allowed to fly home but have not spoken about the video and photographs which sparked an international incident.
One said: "I was told not to show my face for a while, or it will be worse.
"All the girls are in fear now."
Separately a report said that a number of the group of models in Dubai had refused to undress for the naked shoot.
A picture shows Grechin playing the piano in the Dubai apartment surrounded by 21 naked women in the apartment where the offending pictures and footage were made.
Meanwhile, an associate of Grechin's, French millionaire Stephane Clavel, 44, has denied being present in Dubai for the shoot.
"I know some of the girls, not all who were there, but some of them," he admitted to TSN.
"We are friends. They were at my birthday party in Dubai."
His birthday was in January, and he said Grechin had invited him to last week's event - but he did not go.
"I know Grechin, he has a fetish related to photos, he loves to take millions of photos," he said.
"He probably gave a bit of alcohol to girls, so they were more sexy, they caught the courage, and ended up naked on the balcony, which is prohibited in Dubai."
TSN reported that Clavel's apartment in Kyiv was also visited by police who broke the doors to conduct a search.
A Russian photographer who has worked with Grechin denied he was a "sex giant".
Sergey Lenin - who also denied being on the Dubai trip - said Grechin was a "muddy person - but he is very smart and original".
"His actions do not always lend themselves to logic," Lenin said.
He was "not a sex giant" but was "a deeply lonely person".
"I sent him a screenshot of this story with a caption: 'Dude, you're famous now', but I did not get any reply."
Model Marianna Fedchuk, 21, who returned to Kyiv from Dubai, revealed her friend Olga Tatar, 23, had also been on the trip
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Naked balcony models 'remain locked up'