Another person accused in Defense Ministry’s unprecedented bribery
It is Colonel Alexander Berezhnoy, the manager of Defense Ministry Food Department.
Colonel Alexander Berezhnoy, the manager of Defense Ministry Food Department, has become the second person of interest in the high-profile criminal case concerning a bribe of 368 million rubles ($6.4m), RBC reported. Earlier, his subordinate Alexander Vakulin had been arrested on the same charges.
Vakulin and Berezhnoy are accused of the same crimes: fraudulent theft of about 20 million rubles when executing a contract of the Defense Ministry with the St. Petersburg company Profbiznes for supplying various food-related equipment (under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code), as well as taking bribes worth 368 million rubles from traders in exchange for general protection and assistance in obtaining contracts for the purchase of kitchens, bakeries, cisterns and other special equipment (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Russian Criminal Code).
The accused men appealed against their arrest. Berezhnoy's lawyers demanded to change the verdict to house arrest or bail, justifying this by the impeccable reputation of the suspect and his numerous awards for the merits to the state. Despite this, the court has not altered the measure of restraint, as the crimes he is charged with are grievous and extremely grievous. The court's decision is also rationalized by the fact that the businessman accused in the case had spelled out in detail the role of each of the officers and particular actions they had to perform to conclude and execute the state contracts and receive the monetary compensation.
Berezhnoy began his career as the head of the food service of a self-propelled artillery regiment. He first took a senior position in the Department of Resource Support of the Defense Ministry in 2012. Later, he headed the food department of the same unit before moving to the headquarters of logistics. Since 2016, Berezhnoy has been head of a separate food department in a Defense Ministry instrumentality.