Komsomolskaya Pravda , an online Russian daily newspaper, has published a new video with interviews of Marianne Grin (Марианны Гринь) about
Russian court decision refusing to recognize the Italian judgment, awarding domicile of the children to the father, under an international treaty between Russia and Italy.
Unlike previous Russian videos, the reporter attempted to verify Grin’s various claims of violence in Italy and even Russia, and found them to lack any basis. After the paper’s investigation, it also deleted or modified previous articles about the case.
The video is available at: http://www.kp.ru/video/486574/
A transcript of the video, in English, was kindly provided by a friend of the site set up by the family on Facebook, for which we are grateful.
English transcript to video
US citizen Marianne Grin ran away from her American husband to Russia, bringing the couple’s four children, later demonstrating by tearing up her and the children’s American passports in front of the US consulate.
Family conflicts are difficult to figure out, each side considering itself on the right side, and the other side in the wrong. We are going to attempt to sort things out. Marianne, a native of Moscow was taken to the United States in the early 90s, when she was 15 years old. [Correction: she left Russia in 1980.]
The young woman graduated from Harvard, became a lawyer, found a good job and fell in love. Michael was tall, handsome. They got married and started working together in the law division of the largest energy company in the US. Marianna gave birth to the first child when her husband was offered to work in the company’s legal department in Italy.
The family moves to Florence. There Marianne gives birth to three more children. Then a family conflict flares up. Both sides describe it differently. Michael refuses to comment on it publicly (to journalists), explaining his unwillingness to discuss the mother in front of the children.
Marianne, on the other hand, is eager to speak to the press, peppering her husband with insults.
“We were not poor, my husband had, and continues to have, a very well paying job, which forces him to travel around the world because he is responsible for international legal affairs of a huge American corporation. He lives in airplanes. He would leave home for a week to two weeks and what he did on those business trips, only he knows. At some point he started to live a separate life in the open, and that is how we lived.”
Divorce in Italy can be a terrible ordeal. Whoever gains custody of the children has the claim to a large portion of the family assets plus child support payments. [Note: this appears to be Grin's spin on Italian law to the journalist.]
“He understood what that would mean for him and he sued me for the sole custody of all four children, purely for economic reasons. The story took a different turn when he forced the kids to live with him. And the beatings began.”
Violence towards the children is Marianne’s main accusation against her former husband. And she accused him of that frequently. On one occasion, Michael supposedly hit the kids’ heads against the wall, on another she alleges he broke the eldest son’s arm.
But the doctors, after thorough examinations, found no health problems with the children. No criminal cases were ever initiated. After a lengthy process, the court decided that the children should live with their father, but both parents would retain custody. It was a victory for Michael. But this, as it turned out, was not the end of this story.
Marianna: “The father stole the children’s American passports and banned the consular officer from issuing them new passports, and we ended up in Italy as Russian citizens. To this day there are no other documents for the children.”
Having lost the case in Italy, Marianne decided to take a desperate step: together with the children she took a boat to Croatia and from there she took a plane to St. Petersburg.
“We escaped to Russia, when the situation became absolutely desperate. He sued for custody through the courts and did not want to divide the family assets, and that he got. He had me listed in Interpol, now I am an international criminal, as I ‘kidnapped’ the kids. I cannot leave this country, I would be immediately arrested on the border…”
But Marianna’s statements have no basis in fact. Here is the official Interpol website:
As can be seen, Mrs. Grin is not listed among the Russian women of comparable age. Nor is she listed among American women.
By the way, what were the documents that Marianne Grin was tearing up in front of the US consulate? If her husband stole the documents, how could she tearing them up in Russia?
There are many such questions about Marianne’s story.
Marianna: “For the last 1.5 years he is bombarding me with suits here, in St. Petersburg, to forcefully impose the Italian court decision regarding the custody of the kids. One and a half months ago he showed up in a state school here, across the park, insisting on ‘contact’, he is legally their father, and attacked the kids. He came and said that he wants to communicate with the kids, but this American father has no control. He physically attacked his 6 year old son, grabbed him by the legs, hit his head against the wall, against the floor, dragged him upside down to the third floor of the school, where he was planning to ‘communicate’ with the kids. He says he has the ‘right’, that he is the ‘owner’, ‘MINE!’..
The school principal describes these events differently. In her letter to the court, she states that the father attempted to take the child to the classroom, however, the boy started to resist, so the father put the child on his shoulder and carried him. There is no mention of beating, or hitting the child’s head against the wall.
And then there is this video made by Michael himself. The teachers, his son and his daughter are all in the classroom. There is his daughter, calmly next to the wall. No one is crying, grimacing in pain, or holding their head. However he is unable to communicate with his son. In order to attract his attention, the father is hiding behind the desks.
Everything is calm until the mother forces herself into the classroom. Only now her son starts to cry.
[Voice of Marianne shouting on video from school]: “Come here now! Turn around! This is called violence against children!”
Marianne takes away the children, how they later have concussions is a mystery. But the mother goes to the police and attempts to press criminal charges against her husband.
Interviewer to Marianne: “Will you be trying to prevent meetings between the kids and their father?”
Marianne: “No, of course not, I have to, my kids are not two years old, I again repeat that my two older kids are taller than me, speak in low voices, so I do not plan to try to prevent anything, it would be impossible.”
We ask Marianne to comment on the video shot at school. Her facial expression immediately changes.
[Marianne to reporter] “You were paid to represent the interests of an American citizen. Your questions are provocative and false. There is no sense in answering a false question. Thank you. Now goodbye. [shoving the reporter's microphone and walking away] Goodbye!”
Now Marianne’s case about the four children is being tried in St. Petersburg. The lower court (first instance) refused to enforce the Italian’s court’s ruling. The children will stay with their mother for now.
Michael: “I am disappointed, obviously. We will continued to try this case in Russia. It was already tried once, and decided in Italy. Now we are going to have to repeat this whole process in Russia. I am ready for anything to meet with my kids in Russia. When it is impossible to meet with the kids, impossible to speak with them, it is very difficult to convince them that the information they were given about me is false, to tell them their father loves them as much as before. And everything they were told about their father is not true.
And there has been zero communication with the children since September of 2011. Everybody was blocked from communicating, the entire family, including the three-year old little girl who is their cousin. It was really hard for her to lose contact. It is a very dramatic situation.
One of my children will soon have a birthday. I will try to get him a birthday present and find someone to help deliver it.
We offered Michael to use our channel and address the children directly.
Michael: “I miss you guys, I love you very much.”