Bankomat Vera Rabinovich: Career, glamour, bribe, and friendship with bros 

Bankomat Vera Rabinovich: Career, glamour, bribe, and friendship with bros
Why was colonel of justice Vera Rabinovich nicknamed Bankomat (Cash Machine)? Photo: The CrimeRussia

36-year-old Vera Rabinovich, Head of the Department for Economic Crimes of the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region, has been arrested in Kurumoch International Airport of Samara with marked cash. The female official in uniform nicknamed Bankomat (Cash Machine) lived in grand style, had an expensive foreign-made car, attended social events, purchased clothes in branded boutiques, and even posed for a glossy magazine advertising an Emporio Armani collection. In addition, the colonel of justice reportedly has ties with a local criminal group.

Bribe from ‘stranger’

Vera Rabinovich was arrested red-handed during the handover of a bribe in the amount of 2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand). An operative video published by the Press Service of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR), shows the official’s hands glowing with the ink applied on the marked bills. A criminal case has been instituted against the colonel of justice under part 6 of Article 290 (bribe-taking), part 3 of Article 30 (attempted crime), and part 4 of Article 159 (swindling on an especially large scale) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. However, the defense for Rabinovich is trying to reduce the scope of her deeds to swindling punishable by lesser prison terms.

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During the court session held to determine the pretrial restrictions, the Head of the Department for Economic Crimes of the Main Investigations Administration of the General Administration for the Samara Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation has admitted the fact of bribe-taking. However, Dmitry Derunov, Judge of the Samara District Court, has still remanded her in custody for two months – until February 18, 2019.

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Vera Rabinovich in court

The representative of the investigation has justified the motion to detain Rabinovich as follows: with her extensive work experience in law enforcement structures, the suspect may obstruct the investigation by developing a common stand with two other suspects, get rid of evidence, or abscond. 

Rabinovich told the court that she is not familiar with the bribe-giver who had repeatedly attempted to give her money.

“I am charged with defrauding a person whom I am not familiar with and whom I could not know – a person close to the criminal society. I had never investigated cases against him, but he had repeatedly tried to give me a bribe. I was aware of this. I have been collaborating with the investigative authorities from the very beginning; I don’t deny that I took the money,” – she said. 

Apparently, during yet another attempt to persuade her to take the money, the officer has fallen to temptation. However, the investigation believes that Rabinovich has misled the victim with regards to her powers as the Head of the Department for Economic Crimes of the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region. In other words, she could not affect procedural decisions in the framework of that criminal case in any way.

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“My client has no possibility and had never intended to abscond or somehow obstruct the investigation. Since the arrest, her stance was to admit the guilt in full. The statements made by my client make it possible to reconstruct the events objectively. Her detention would only complicate the investigation – not promote it in any way,” – lawyer Aleksander Makarov says. 

The attorney and his client had asked the court to limit the pretrial restrictions to home arrest. They justified this motion inter alia by the fact that Rabinovich has a small child. However, the representative of the Prosecutor's Office asked the court to uphold the motion to remand the suspect in custody brought the investigation. Lawyer Aleksander Makarov intends to appeal this decision.

From hand to hand 

The CrimeRussia found out that the bribe in the amount of 2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand) received by Rabinovich was just the first installment of a larger payment: in total, Samara businessman Zelimkhan Temirkhanov had to pay 20 million rubles ($289.8 thousand). In return, the police officer was supposed to affect the course of a criminal case where he was a victim (Article 220 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of the Russian Federation). In other words, Rabinovich had to affect the investigation for the benefit of Temirkhanov. The operatives have evidence of negotiations with references to the sum of 20 million rubles ($289.8 thousand). Zelimkhan Temirkhanov hasn't attended the court session – according to the local media, the businessman has submitted a letter to the court stating that he fears for his safety. It is known that he is seeking state protection as an important witness. 

Zelimkhan Temirkhanov is a former co-owner of Togliatti Brick Factory Open Joint Stock Company. He has a longtime conflict with Andrei Kichaev, owner of Remetall Group. According to the Samara media, in 2012, Temirkhanov has lent 150 million rubles ($2.2 million) to Kichaev. The funds were transferred and loan agreement signed in Sputnik Trade and Entertainment Center in Togliatti. The loan term was 3 years, the annual interest rate – 3%. However, the borrower failed to repay the loan to the creditor, and in May 2015, the MIA Department for Stavropolsky District launched a probe following a criminal complaint filed by the victim. According to The CrimeRussia sources, Rabinovich had allegedly demanded money for putting further ‘force pressure’ on Kichaev. Temirkhanov decided not to pay the requested amount and instead addressed the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation.

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Andrei Kichaev reportedly owed 150 million rubles ($2.2 million) to Zelimkhan Temirkhanov

The first installment of the bribe was 10 million rubles ($144.9 thousand). In the framework of the operative experiment, the money was handed over to an intermediary in a cafe located in the Samara Airport. On the same day, the intermediary has delivered a portion of the bribe in the amount of 2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand) to another intermediary – who, in turn, gave the money to the Head of the Department for Economic Crimes of the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region. In other words, Rabinovich has received, via two intermediaries, only 2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand) out of the10 million ($144.9 thousand).

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2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand) found on Vera Rabinovich after the receipt of the bribe. Operative footage

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Glowing hands of the corrupt police officer

The investigators are currently checking Vera Rabinovich for involvement in other corruption crimes. Police lieutenant general Aleksander Vinnikov, Head of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region, has ordered to carry out a service audit. Should her guilt be proven, Rabinovich would be dismissed from the MIA on discrediting grounds and prosecuted in accordance with the current legislation, while her superiors would be brought to administrative liability.  

The intermediaries 

Two supposed accomplices of Vera Rabinovich – 56-year-old Vitaly Prokof’ev and 52-year-old Zhanna Nazarova – have been detained as well; a criminal case was instituted against them under part 4 of Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (mediation in bribery on an especially large scale).

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Vitaly Prokof’ev was hiding his face in the courtroom

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Zhanna Nazarova delivered 2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand) to Vera Rabinovich

The court has released Vitaly Prokof’ev, Director of Togliatti-based Bester Limited Liability Company, from custody and prohibited him from leaving home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., leaving Togliatti, communicating with other suspects, making phone calls not related to his business, etc. Zhanna Nazarova has been put under home arrest. The both suspects have confessed to mediation in bribery. According to the investigation, Prokof’ev received 10 million rubles ($144.9 thousand) and transferred to Nazarova 2.5 million rubles ($36.2 thousand) out of that amount, while Nazarova delivered the money to Rabinovich. 

Vera Rabinovich was born in a family of teachers. She has graduated from the Samara Law Institute of the MIA and joined the police service in the mid-2000s. Initially, he was in charge of the Investigations Division of the MIA Department for Novokuibyshevsk, Samara Region. Later she was appointed the Head of the Control and Methodical Department for Economic Crimes in Samara. In less than 10 years, Rabinovich became one of the leading investigators in the region. In September 2018, she has been promoted to the rank of colonel of justice. According to Nezygar’ (@russica2) Telegram channel, Vera Rabinovich was nicknamed Bankomat (Cash Machine) in Samara – perhaps, for the regular acceptance of payments, which has ultimately resulted in her incarceration.

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36-year-old Rabinovich has been serving in the MIA for more than 10 years   

Vera Rabinovich always had positive service references. According to her colleagues, the female investigator was directly involved in the solution of many corruption crimes. Her husband is businessman Andrei Minaev; they have a 3-year-old daughter.

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The husband has provided only a brief comment to Russia-24 TV Channel: “She returned to work when the child was 9 months old – because she had always worked hard, loved her work, and cared about it. With regards to the speculations that she was somebody’s protege and advanced through ranks because of this – I don’t think so”.

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Husband of Vera Rabinovich

Despite her respectable position, Rabinovich had led an active social life, had a deluxe foreign-made car, attended social events, purchased clothes in branded boutiques, and even posed for a glossy magazine advertising an Emporio Armani collection.

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In addition to the bribe-taking, Vera Rabinovich is also suspected of having ties with local gangs, including Indeitsy (Indians) organized criminal group. According to sources, local people had frequently seen her Mercedes vehicle near a restaurant used by this group for meetings. Rabinovich was also spotted together with gang members – although she had never advertised this.

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Indeitsy organized criminal group originates from Novokuibyshevsk, Samara Region – where, as said above, Rabinovich has started her career. The gang specializes in illegal oil extraction and controls some pipeline tie-ins; its members are so-called ‘black gold hunters’. Thief-in-law Dmitry Galeev (Galei) used to ‘cover up’ this criminal group for a long time; currently he is serving a lengthy prison term.

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Galei in court

One of the episodes involving Indeitsy occurred in 2009: the gangsters had attempted to seize Novokuibyshevsk-based Korall (Coral) Oil Base Limited Liability Company belonging at that time to businessman Yuri Bochkarev, a member of Shcherbakova local organized criminal group competing with Indeitsy. Some members of Indeitsy reportedly hold supreme posts in companies involved with the oil industry. Businessman and politician Veniamin Vel’man is the ‘financial brain’ of the gang. Its members include such well-known criminals of Novokuibyshevsk as Sergei Platonov (Platon), Sergei Kopylov (Koba), Aleksander Samsonov (Som (Catfish)), and Oleg Svyatozarov (Afanasii).  

Samara experts believe that the information about Indeitsy organized criminal group is contradictory and confusing because people associate with it all criminals specializing in illegal pipeline tie-ins in the Samara region and even in other regions. Local residents believe that high-ranked law enforcement officials ‘patronize’ the ‘black gold hunters’. 

“There are sources in the region (oil pipelines) and numerous nomadic tribes (makers of tie-ins). These uncontrolled savage tribes raid these sources and steal water (oil products). All tribes have their own connections and chieftains. But they are not organized. They are rather nomads – not organized criminal groups. I would like to note that these tribes have only one interlink that may unite them into an organized criminal group – the people in uniform... Various criminal groups ‘patronized' by corrupt officials and enforcement officers are stealing oil products on a systematic basis. Therefore, it is beneficial to create an image of a powerful and well-organized criminal group – and our law enforcement system is allegedly struggling with this many-headed hydra. This is life and death struggle!” – Samara blogger Oleg Ivanets believes.

The investigation has to figure out the nature of the ties between Vera Rabinovich and local criminal ‘authorities’. Somehow, these ties hadn’t prevented her from serving in the MIA, advancing through ranks, and being well-liked by the supreme command. It is obvious however that the skyrocketing career of the colonel of justice is now going to slow down – Rabinovich is facing up to 15 years behind bars.

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