2017 most round bribes
Every year hundreds of officials are detained for accepting bribes in Russia. Notably, 70% of court cases under corruption articles of the Criminal Code accrue to bribes amounting to less than 10 thousand rubles ($170.2). However, this does not mean that bribe-taking became less frequent. It will be enough to recall ex-Minister Alexey Ulyukaev, who was convicted of $2-million bribe. Admittedly, his case was initiated more than a year ago. The CrimeRussia decided to recollect the largest bribes in 2017.
Mikhail Yurevich. 3.4 billion rubles ($57.8 m) from Chelyabinsk businessmen
Mikhail Yurevich, ex-governor of the Chelyabinsk region and the real owner of agricultural holding Makfa, leads the rating of the largest bribes, revealed in 2017. However, it is the total amount of money received, rather than a one-time payment that made him top the list. On March 20, a criminal case was brought against Yurevich under two articles: Bribe-Taking (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code) and Incitement to Defamation (part 4 of Art. 33 and part 2 of Art. 128.1 of the Criminal Code). On April 10, the ex-governor refused to return to Russia and answer questions of investigators. According to the investigation, Mikhail Yurevich during his stint as the governor of the region, received bribes totaling 26 million rubles ($442.6 thousand) from the Health Minister of the Chelyabinsk region, Vitaly Teslenko (in 2014 he was sentenced to seven years for bribes of 70 million rubles ($1.1 m)). In addition, Yurevich is charged with receiving bribes from South Ural businessmen for a total amount of 3.4 billion rubles ($57.8 m). According to law enforcement spokespersons, this is one of the largest corruption crimes not only in Chelyabinsk, but also in Russia as a whole. It is being investigated by Yekaterinburg investigators.
On May 24, the Sverdlovsk Regional Court arrested in absentia Mikhail Yurevich, who was put on the international wanted list and hiding in London.
On June 6, the ex-governor's property worth over 3 billion rubles ($51 m) was seized: four apartments, a parking space, a car space, a garage (all this property is in Moscow) and a land plot in Chelyabinsk. But, as reported by The CrimeRussia, the former governor of the Chelyabinsk region managed to withdraw almost all of his assets in a Cyprus offshore.
Alexander Vakulin. 368 million rubles ($6.2 m) - the largest bribe of the Ministry of Defense
The criminal case on the largest bribe in the history of the Ministry of Defense began to be investigated in September. The Head of the department of food supply management, Colonel Alexander Vakulin, is suspected of receiving 368 million rubles ($6.2 m) in bribes for concluding military contracts with commercial organizations that supply kitchens, bakeries, cisterns and other special equipment. At the same time, during the execution of the contracts major thefts were committed. The Colonel is charged with Swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code) and Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code). Law enforcers closed in on Colonel Vakulin in the spring of this year, when staff of police and the Main Investigative Directorate (MID) of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) for St. Petersburg revealed multi-million thefts in conclusion of contracts between the Defense Ministry and St. Petersburg Profbiznes LLC in winter 2015. The organization undertook to supply equipment necessary to provide military food for a total of 685 million rubles ($11.6 m). Earlier, the Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service disclosed signs of a cartel agreement between the Defense Ministry and Profbiznes LLC, as well as TD Spetstekhmash LLC and TD Stillag, which were tied up by another 11 contracts for a total of 2.2 billion rubles ($37.4 m). The Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service established the relationship between the founders and General Directors of companies, which in fact turned out to be one organization that participated in bidding from one IP address and used the same number as a contact phone number. In March 2017 St. Petersburg saw investigators of the ICR MID opening a criminal case on swindling, in which several people were detained, including one of the leaders of Profbiznes, Alexey Kalitin. This summer, the investigation was transferred from St. Petersburg to Moscow in the ICR Main Military Investigative Directorate. Shortly after, one of the detainees told the investigation about the role of Vakulin in the selection of companies for the conclusion of major contracts of the Ministry of Defense and receiving monetary rewards for this.
Leonid Markelov. 235 million rubles ($4 m) for 'roofing' poultry factory
The former Head of the Republic of Mari El, Leonid Markelov, according to investigators, received more than 235 million rubles ($4 m) as a bribe through confidante Natalya Kozhanova from the founder of Akashevskaya factory, Nikolay Krivash, for patronage and abetment in property payment of state support for the development of the agricultural complex. Given the luxury the ex-Head of Mari El has surrounded himself with in recent years, this is hardly the only, and perhaps not the biggest bribe received by ‘Leonid the Magnificent’. He received this nickname from local residents. He lived in multifamily property behind the crenellated wall of the Kremlin. This house smacks of a castle and is closed from prying eyes by gates decorated with the family crest of Markelov. The cost of the arrested property of the Mari El ex-Head was 1 billion rubles ($17 m). At this amount the investigation estimated 23 property objects of the family of the former governor in Moscow, Mari El and Krasnodar Krai, which were seized. They included two apartments in Yoshkar-Ola and one apartment in the center of Moscow. It is interesting that half of the arrested property is in the name of ex-governor's stepmother Tatyana Markelova. Thus, the sources of The CrimeRussia claim that one of the searches in the apartments of the Mari El ex-Head turned up original works of art that are being looked for, as well as a lifetime edition of Pushkin's poems with the author's personal autograph. On April 6, 2017, Leonid Markelov, who worked as the Head of Mari El for more than 16 years, was dismissed. A few days later, a criminal case was opened under three articles of the Criminal Code: part 6 of Art. 290 (Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale), part 5 of Art. 291 (Bribe-Giving on an especially large scale) and Art. 291.1 (Mediation in Bribery). The former Head of the republic does not admit his guilt. While in the pre-trial detention center, Markelov began to be engaged in versification.
Alexander Solovyov. 139 million rubles ($2.3 m) for protection of builders of bridges
The Main Directorate for the investigation of especially important cases of the ICR initiated a criminal case against the Head of Udmurtia, Alexander Solovyov, on April 4, 2017. The official, who has been engaged in road construction throughout his life, is charged with pulling off two particularly grave crimes, provided for by part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking by an official on an especially large scale).
According to the investigation, between 2014 and 2016 Solovyov got a bribe of 139 million rubles ($2.3 m), as well as a share in a commercial organization worth 2.7 million rubles ($45.9 thousand) from representatives of companies that built bridges across the Kama and Bui rivers near the city of Kambarka in Udmurtia. The main sums of bribes Solovyov received from Alexander Zabarsky, General Director of Mostostroy-12 LLC. The criminal case involves quite a few companies affiliated with Zabarsky, which participated in the implementation of the concession agreement for construction. For the bribe, the Head of the republic promised protection to the concessioners: for one, immediately and out of turn to pay for the work they were doing from the federal and regional budgets. In addition, he pledged to assist in the allocation of licenses for geological survey and exploration of subsoil, as well as for the extraction of sand and sand and gravel mixture.
In the morning of April 4, the official was detained in the apartment of his eldest daughter in Izhevsk and convoyed to Moscow handcuffed. On the same day, the Russian President signed a decree on the dismissal of the Head of Udmurtia in connection with the loss of confidence. The FSB began an inspection, which resulted in a number of criminal cases, including against Alexander Solovyov, after Vladimir Putin arrived in the region to open the bridge over the Kama. The president was very unhappy that the bridge was not only uncompleted, but also failed to undergo the state examination. The President instructed to handle the issue and find who was to blame for this.
Later, the 'road king' of Udmurtia admitted his guilt in taking bribes, though not in the amount of all 139 million rubles ($2.3 m), but only in individual counts. Lawyers hired by Solovyov's daughter believe that he gave confessions being pressurized by the investigation. Nevertheless, the state defender of the Udmurtia ex-Head claims that Solovyov voluntarily cooperates with the investigation.
The Solovyovs have long and firmly been controlling the construction industry of the republic: the leaders of almost all enterprises of the regions's road industry are relatives or good friends of Solovyov.
According to the FSB, the former official is the owner of a luxurious mansion in Spain, located in a swanky village in the province of Alicante, on the Mediterranean coast.
Nikolay Barinov. 110 million rubles ($1.8 m) in construction of Kresty-2
Nikolay Barinov, the former Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service, is suspected of committing a crime, provided for by item (d), part 4 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking). The Investigative Committee deems that from October 2007 to December 2012, he received bribes in Moscow and St. Petersburg for a total of at least 110 million rubles ($1.8 m). This sum fell into his hands in the form of kickbacks in the construction of new colony Kresty-2 in the vicinity of St. Petersburg.
The President of contractor company Petroinvest Ruslan Khamkhokov paid representatives of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) 12% of the allocated funds. Bribes first went to the Deputy Chief of the FSIN of Russia for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region Sergey Moyseenko, who then shared the money with General Barinov. In total, according to the estimates of the investigation, bribes in the amount of 350 million rubles ($5.9 m) were passed to Sergey Moyseenko, 110 million rubles ($1.8 m) of which Barinov received directly.
The former FSIN Deputy Director was rounded up on November 2 in his Moscow apartment.
Oleg Mikheev. Bribe in the form of apartment in St. Petersburg and plots in the region
Director of the branch of the Federal Cadastre Chamber of Rosreestr in the Leningrad region, Oleg Mikheev, and his Deputy are accused of taking a bribe of 56 million rubles ($953.4 thousand).
According to the investigation, in 2016 one of the entrepreneurs handed over a bribe to the suspects for facilitating the cadastral registration of land plots in the region. That said, the remuneration was received not in monetary terms, but in the form of land plots in Lomonosov district of the Leningrad region and an apartment in St. Petersburg costing as mush as 56 million rubles ($953.4 thousand).
During the searches, more than 32 million rubles ($544.8 thousand), $220 thousand and 24 thousand euros were seized from the safety deposit boxes of suspected officials.
Mikhail Lazutkin. 16 million rubles ($272.4 thousand) in the form of kickbacks for medical contracts
Ex-Minister of Health of the Trans-Baikal Territory Mikhail Lazutkin was detained in Khabarovsk November 28 on suspicion of taking a bribe worth 16 million rubles ($272.4 thousand). After the searches, bank cards with 145 million rubles ($2.4 m) on them were seized from the ex-official. The investigation surmises that this money is kickbacks that Lazutkin received for ensuring an illegal victory for suppliers of high-priced and sophisticated medical equipment at auctions.
According to the investigation, Lazutkin, when being the Minister of Health of Transbaikal, exceeded his official powers for personal enrichment. The former Minister together with the Director of the State Public Institution Center for Material and Technical Support of Medical Organizations of the Trans-Baikal Territory ensured the illegal victory of certain suppliers at auctions for bribes. For two years, both officials received bribes of over 16 million rubles ($272.4 thousand). In addition to them, 3 more persons involved in the case are listed as bribe-givers. Ex-Minister of Health has already been dubbed 'the destroyer of Trans-Baikal medicine'. Many residents of the region believe that if it was not for his arrest, he would completely kill the medicine of the region, although there are those who find the detention fake and initiated by Moscow businessmen.
Vyacheslav Varchuk. 10 million rubles ($170.2 thousand) worth of kickback for the richest silovik
Former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Internal Troops of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (now Rosgvardiya), General Vyacheslav Varchuk was arrested on suspicion of accepting a bribe. He was detained in the criminal case on a kickback of 10 million rubles ($170.2 thousand) for abetting a hike in funding for one of the agency's departments. Varchuk, responsible for the disposition of financial flows in the Internal Troops of the MIA of the Russian Federation, tried to get the bribe through his Deputy - Colonel Alexander Kostin. According to the case papers, since late 2015 Kostin was negotiating the possibility of allocating funds to the Office of Communications with officer Alexander Gostev. For a bribe of 10 million rubles ($170.2 thousand), the suspect promised his colleagues to get another 250 million rubles ($4.2 m) in addition to funds already allocated from the budget. Investigators believe that Gostev, who is a witness in the case, transferred the bribe to Kostin in parts from December 2015 to February 2016. The Colonel gave the money to his superiors, in particular, to Varchuk. According to available information, it was Alexander Gostev, who never received additional funding for his department, that blew the whistle on the criminal scheme to the FSB of Russia. Later, the General confessed to taking a bribe of 10 million rubles ($170.2 thousand). The lawyer of the General also stated that he completely paid for the damage he was charged with.
It is worth mentioning that in 2013 Varchuk was included in the Forbes rating of Russia's 20 richest security officials. Occupying the post of Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Internal Troops of the MIA for financial and economic work and the Head of the financial department of the Main Command of MIA Internal Troops, Lieutenant-General earned 4.815 million rubles ($81.9 thousand) in 2012. His wife reported on the income of 38.902 million rubles ($662.3 thousand), the sources of which remain unknown. In 2015, Varchuk's personal income doubled. In the declaration, he indicated 9.1 million rubles ($154.9 thousand). In addition, it transpired that the family of the General owns real estate in the center of Moscow, an estate in Istra district of the Moscow region and an elite car fleet.
Alexander Kozlov. 4 million rubles ($68.1 thousand) for release of a suspect
The former Deputy Head of the department for the investigation of especially important cases of Chelyabinsk ICR, Alexander Kozlov, was detained on July 10 on charges of attempting to take a bribe worth 4 million rubles ($68.1 thousand) (part 1 of Art. 30, part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code). A few days before this two lawyers were detained, who acted as intermediaries in the transfer of remuneration. Both lawyers represented the interests of the former Deputy Director of the regional branch of Rostelecom, Vasily Prokopenko. It is noteworthy that Alexander Kozlov was ousted from the investigative authorities on the day of lawyers' detention, July 7.
Employees of the FSB detained Kozlov on suspicion of preparing for taking a bribe from a defendant of the criminal case he worked on. Officially, the law enforcement bodies do not specify who was the bribe-taker, however, according to Znak.com sources, several million rubles came from the General Director of Lanit-Ural company, Alexander Kondakov. Kondakov himself is currently in custody on charges of giving a bribe to ex-senior executive of Rostelecom Vasily Prokopenko. For a lump sum of money, the investigator of important cases promised to transfer Kondakov's remand detainee from custody to house arrest, and also help to ensure that the case was eventually hushed up. At the same time, the father of the investigator, Konstantin Kozlov, helms private security company Block in Miass. Together with him, the founder of the security company is Irina Chaschina, wife of the leader of Turbazovskiye gang, Sergey Chaschin, who was sentenced to 13 years for organizing two murders and banditry.
Valery Mordan. 4 million ($68.1 thousand) for future patronage
At the end of 2017, law enforcement agencies detained the General Director of KrasAvia airline, Valery Mordan, in the case on Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code). According to the investigators, he received a bribe of 3.95 million rubles ($67.2 thousand) through a come-between from a Director of one of the commercial organizations that supplied special equipment for the needs of the airline. This, according to the ICR, amounted to 10% of the total value of the contract. The General Director took money for lobbying the interests of this firm when concluding future contracts.
KrasAvia is a state enterprise of Krasnoyarsk Krai. The airline is engaged in passenger and cargo transportation on socially significant routes to the Far North regions from Krasnoyarsk and the regional municipal centers.
Several new criminal cases against corrupt officials have been instituted in Dagestan. The high-ranked suspects include Abdulmedzhid Suleimanov, ex-Mayor of Izberbash; Amir Magomedov, ex-Head of the Izberbash Administration; Magomed Dzhelilov, Head of the Derbent District; and El’dar Karagishiev, Head of the Babayurt District. In the past, all of them were suspected of similar crimes – but somehow managed to get off the hook. The new arrests occur amid the anti-corruption campaign in the republican law enforcement structures. What are the true reasons behind the new wave of the personnel purge? Can the anti-corruption slogans conceal a fierce battle waged by local clans for redistribution of assets with the purpose to create a new ‘untouchable’ elite in Dagestan?