Another Vartanyan to buy off?
A criminal case has been initiated in the Rostov Region against Lores Vartanyan, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Egorlyksky District Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MIA), who is also a nephew of Dzhivan Vartanyan, a former regional minister of transport. The criminal case was opened under Part 3 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud committed using the official position). The investigation is completed, but indictment not signed. The police major still continues his service.
In the early 1990s, officers belonging to the ‘old Soviet school’ still remained in the law enforcement, and fake criminal cases for alleged possession of drugs could be initiated only against repeated offenders. ‘Professional’ thieves even had to stitch up their pockets to prevent operatives from planting fake evidence there.
The ‘ticket quota system’ inherited from the Soviet period, when governmental authorities inflated their performance as much as possible, has resulted in our current capitalist society in a mass criminal practice: planting drugs to any person to increase the crime solving rate.
Due to numerous high-profile scandals throughout the country, internal security services in large cities started bringing discipline in their agencies. Many policemen and officers of the former Federal Drug Control Service have been brought to justice for fake criminal cases.
However, there is still no order in distant districts. Particularly, in the Egorlyksky district located on the periphery of the Rostov region, where fake criminal cases were, probably, produced en masse.
The main character in this story is a 30-year old police major Lores Vartanyan, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department and nephew of Dzhivan Vartanyan, former regional minister of transport and Deputy Governor of the Rostov Region.
Since Lores Vartanyan has become the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Egorlyksky District MIA Administration, local residents see an influx of drug-related criminal cases in the district. It is possible that the new authorities just perform better than the old ones. But all the new cases have almost identical structure: drugs are found in cars or premises, the suspects are caught with the evidence and sent to penal colonies.
According to local residents, even when Vartanyan was an ordinary criminal investigation operative, his methods of work caused many questions and complaints.
For example, Anatoly Yatsky, a local native, told CrimeRussia that a sack of herbal drugs was planted into the car belonging to his son Vladimir, and he was sentenced to 2 years behind bars. This happened in 2014 when Vladimir, being intoxicated, was driving a car and crashed into a fence.
Lores Vartanyan and his chief arrived to the crash site before the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate. During the examination of the car, a sack supposedly containing a narcotic substance was found in it. Then Lores Vartanyan demanded Anatoly Yatsky to pay him 60 thousand rubles for not opening a criminal case. Upon receiving the money, Lores Vartanyan disappeared and did not respond to phone calls. Anatoly Yatsky filed a complaint against Vartanyan’s illegal actions to the MIA Administration, but there was no response.
Another ‘victim’ was Evgeny Anatolievich Popov. The indictment against him was signed on November 8, 2015. His wife submitted a petition to the prosecutor’s office stating that attesting witnesses’ signatures and testimonies were faked – but the case hasn’t been returned for additional inquiry.
Overall, it looks like the district law enforcement authorities were just trying to demonstrate a high crime solving rate. Numerous complaints against Lores Vartanyan from local people were disregarded.
When Lores Vartanyan was appointed the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department, he continued his efforts to ‘improve the crime solving rate’. On September 11, 2015 at 10 pm, in Egorlykskaya township of the Rostov region, Alexander Chub was detained in a car driven by another person; a sack of marijuana was found on him (Criminal Case #2015157200). Upon completion of the investigative and operational procedures, Chub was released on condition not to leave town. Two days later, Lores Vartanyan called his mother Evgenia Chub, advised that a criminal case has been initiated against her son, and offered to meet. A notable detail: Vartanyan always met with relatives of suspects in person. At the meeting, he said that the amount of marijuana seized from Alexander Chub exceeds 1 kg and he is facing a huge prison term. Vartanyan suggested to settle the issue for 200 thousand rubles: he claimed to be in good relations with the district prosecutor, police chief, and even regional generals.
In total, Vartanyan has tricked Evgenia Chub into paying him more than 270 thousand rubles. The woman had to raise the money among relatives and take a loan. On September 17 Vartanyan called her from an unknown telephone number and said that everything is fine and he is going to Rostov-on-Don to meet some general and settle the forensic inspection issue. To do so, he must buy an expensive cognac – so the policemen asked for another 20 thousand rubles.
The major also told the suspect’s mother that he has settled the issue with the Egorlyksky district prosecutor, and her son won’t be jailed. To defend Alexander Chub in court, Vartanyan retained his lawyer Khvorostova.
On the same day, her son was questioned by investigator Lebedinsky in the presence of attorney Khvorostova. Chub fully trusted Khvorostova and signed the required papers without even reading those carefully. Among other documents, he signed a consent to a special procedure of court hearings. On December 2, 2015 Alexander Chub was sentenced by the Egorlyksky district court to 3 years in a general regime penal colony.
Later his relatives became aware that Vartanyan was tricking them from the very beginning. Khvorostova declined repeated requests from the mother to provide her with a copy of the criminal case. When the woman finally went to the court herself and began studying the case file, numerous procedural defects popped-up. Attesting witnesses’ signatures were missing on some documents or did not match their names.
When the convict’s mother approached the attesting witnesses, they confirmed to her that they were not present at some investigation procedures.
Witness M. Potapov told that he was questioned not by investigator Lebedinsky, but by some girl – although Lebedinsky’s name is indicated in all documents. Potapov confirmed that police did not examine the car where Chub was riding and where the drugs were allegedly found – although an inspection protocol signed by attesting witnesses exists in the case file.
Upon discovering falsifications in the case file, the mother of Alexander Chub retained a lawyer in Rostov-on-Don who provided qualified assistance to her.
He managed to question some attesting witnesses who confirmed that they were not present during the arrest of Chub. One attesting witness declined to meet with him and explained that investigator Ksenia Organova calls her and threatens to lay criminal charges against her should she speak out.
The professional work of the new lawyer allowed to uncover falsifications in other criminal cases handled by officers and investigators of the Egorlyksky district.
The mother of convicted Alexander Chub submitted complaints to all relevant authorities; she requested to conduct an audit and prosecute police officers for illegal actions during the investigation of her son’s case. She specifically named L. Vartanyan, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department, and investigators A. Lebedinsky, Savitskaya, and K. Organova.
An audit of the district police administration performed by the Internal Security Department of the Russian MIA General Administration for the Rostov Region found violations and resulted in a recommendation to dismiss the officers who committed the offences. However, the only reaction of the district police authority was initiation of a criminal case against Lores Vartanyan.
According to a source close to the Russian MIA General Administration for the Rostov Region, Dzhivan Vartanyan, an almighty uncle on Lores Vartanyan, former minister of transport of the Rostov region, and currently Chairman of Board of Directors of Rostovaeroinvest Public Joint Stock Company, intervened into the case. The current status of the ‘Vartanyans clan chieftain’ and his involvement into the construction of the South Hub of Rostov Airport mean that his position in the local hierarchy is still pretty high.
Back in 2013 some central media reported that Dzhivan’s son Martiros, leader of an organized crime group, was arrested in Moscow. The gang was stealing license plates and then selling those back to their owners. According to the media, some people offered 10 million USD to Moscow investigators to settle the issue with Martiros Vartanyan. However, later the Rostov Region Government officially announced that the detained person is not a son of the Deputy Governor Vartanyan.
Earlier in 2011, another son of Vartanyan hit a pensioner by his car, but according to the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate, it was the pedestrian’s fault that caused the accident – because the pensioner was crossing the road in a wrong place. Five month later, the investigation closed the criminal case due to the absence of crime in Vartanyan’s actions.
Speaking of Lores Vartanyan: according to a source close to the Russian MIA General Administration for the Rostov Region, in order to close the criminal case and prevent submission of the matter to court, a large amount of money was paid to the Investigations Directorate of the Rostov Region of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Rostov Region. The investigative body has completed the case investigation; however, the prosecution refuses to sign the indictment against Lores Vartanyan. Furthermore, he wasn’t even suspended from his position during the investigation.
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