“I did not steal anything and lived in dignity” - Mikhail Slobodin, accused in Renova bribery case

 “I did not steal anything and lived in dignity” - Mikhail Slobodin, accused in Renova bribery case
Mikhail Slobodin

The former VimpelCom CEO started a blog where he decided to expose the ‘fake’ information about him.

Former head of Vimpelcom Mikhail Slobodin, who was arrested in absentia in Russia within the case of bribing Komi officials by top managers of Renova Group, has commented on the circumstances of his departure abroad and spoke on the merits of the charges for the first time. Slobodin created a blog on Medium platform, which became his platform for publicity.

The suspect in the high-profile case commented on the four ‘PR fakes’ associated with his case. First, he said that no one had warned him about the upcoming criminal prosecution. His departure to Europe was connected with a business trip he planned. So, Slobodin flew unhindered on September 5 to France to VimpelCom Group top managers meeting. The former VimpelCom CEO attached copies of official correspondence confirming the information about the business trip to his post.

"The special services just missed my departure. I was not the focus of their attention at the time. The focus was on two current top-managers of T Plus – Evgeny Olkhovik and Boris Vainzikher", believes Slobodin.

Secondly, the defendant in the Renova case refutes the information published earlier in the media claiming that MIA Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko warned him of the impending detention. According to him, he found out about Zakharchenko's existence only when the news of the Colonel's arrest transpired in the media.

Thirdly, Slobodin responded to the fact that Life wrote "dirty" details about his family and ex-wife. The ex-head of Vimpelcom reacted to the attacks of the newspaper's employees, who were saying that he allegedly "abandoned his first wife to the mercy of fate" and "on the birthday of his mistress, he gave her a divorce with his first wife as a present." He said that the publication, for instance, indicate the wrong dates for these events.

And, finally, the former top manager of the Renova Group denied the information that, according to journalists, he "bathed in luxury."

"Unlike a huge number of people involved in high-profile corruption-related cases, I worked all my life in private business. I was receiving an officially declared and generally not small salary, which the shareholders paid me for concrete results," writes Slobodin. "We do have a nice house in a nice place. We do not have six (why would we have six?), but two cars: Porsche and Huinday H-1 (family minivan)."

"Slobodin did not steal anything. Because he earned everything officially, paid all his taxes, and slept well. Prior to the well-known events, that is. But he lived with dignity. Without glamour and excess," he summed up the first part of the post, entitled "The real story of one life twist."

The suspected bribe-giver promised to talk about the case in three posts: today's post was the first one. The second part of the story will be related to the key aspects of the accusations against him and his colleagues, he said.

As the CrimeRussia previously reported, searches were held under the case on 800-million-ruble bribes to Komi officials on September 5, in central office of T Plus (part of the Renova holding), and in Renova itself. T Plus CEO Boris Vainzikher and Renova co-owner Evgeny Olkhovik were detained on suspicion of giving the multi-million bribe. Former head of Vimpelcom Mikhail Slobodin, who worked in Renova, also became a person of interest of the bribery case. On September 7, the court imprisoned Evgeny Olkhovik and head of T Plus Boris Vainzikher for two months.

According to the investigation, the defendants of the case handed over money and other property as a bribe to the Komi officials currently involved in the criminal case of the Gaizer criminal community (former Head of the Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gaizer) between 2007 and 2014. They were acting in the interests of CJSC KES, the predecessor of T Plus, and of its affiliated organizations and aimed to establish the most profitable tariffs for heat and electricity.

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