MOSCOW, January 17 - RAPSI. A jobless Russian posing as a general has defrauded foreign businessmen of around US$ 600,000, the Russian Interior Ministry reported on Thursday.

The man offered to help "resolve" foreigners' problems at high government level.

Chinese businessmen were among those who were taken in by his story.

According to the ministry, in May 2012 Mikhail Davidovich posed as the authorized agent of a Russian deputy prime minister in China and offered to help a representative of the Liaoning metals import company promote their commodities in Russia.

"In June 2012, the said person invited the top managers of the Chinese company to Moscow, where he convinced them to sign a protocol of intent to set up a Russian-Chinese venture. As per the agreement, US$ 300,000 was transferred to Mr. Davidovich's personal account," reads the ministry's release.

Another US$ 290,000 was transferred to the accounts of an offshore Cyprus company controlled by Davidovich, who subsequently cashed the money order to that amount.

The authorities are looking into information regarding a similar crime allegedly committed against Hong Kong businessmen by a man posing as a Russian Lieutenant General.

The investigation has shown that Davidovich has a record of crimes such as theft, fraud and document forgery. Mikhail Davidovich has been detained.