Bastrykin initiates criminal case against judge of Tambov Arbitration Court
A former judge is suspected of bribe-taking. The panel of judges has already dismissed him.
Alexander Bastrykin, the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, has requested consent of the Higher Judges' Qualifications Board to initiate a criminal case against Sergey Suchkov, a former judge of the Tambov Regional Arbitration Court. Investigators believed that he has received a bribe from representatives of Zhilstroy Open Joint Stock Company for a respite of the case. Earlier the panel of judges has dismissed him for a disciplinary offense. The representatives of Zhilstroy did not like the idea of a second installment of the bribe and have reported the corrupt judge to the law enforcement authorities.
According to the investigation, Sergey Suchkov, being a judge of the Arbitration Court, has received in March 2016 a bribe for a verdict in an old litigation between SU-5 Zhilstroy Limited Liability Company and Zhilstroy Open Joint Stock Company related to a debt of 7.5 million rubles. When speaking with a representative of the debtor – Zhilstroy Open Joint Stock Company, – Suchkov offered to delay the debt collection for 200 thousand rubles. Upon receipt of the bribe, the judge has fulfilled his promise on the next day. He expected to get 100 thousand rubles more from the defendant for a rejection to secure the plaintiff’s claim.
According to the lawsuit materials, Zhilstroy was a general contractor for a construction project of SU-5, and, based on the result of works, the defendant has incurred a debt 8.1 million rubles. After the commencement of the legal action, the defendant has paid a portion of the debt, and then the parties asked to transfer the case to a court of referees, but not all lawsuit participants agreed with this. Ultimately, Suchkov himself has found in 2011 that Zhilstroy owes 7.5 million rubles and adjudged to collect the debt. The defendant attempted to appeal the decision, including cassation, but lost, and since 2013 the proceedings on the merits have been finished. Only in 2016 a Moscow-based Merkato Open Joint Stock Company has intervened and assumed the debt from SU-5. SU-5 is currently passing through the liquidation procedure. Merkato has successfully applied for reinstatement of the issuance date for an execution writ to collect the debt.
Suchkov was arrested by operatives of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) when he was receiving the first installment of the bribe – 200 thousand rubles. The Higher Judges' Qualifications Board has dismissed him on May 20, 2016 for a disciplinary offense. Kommersant reports that, based on the arbitration cases database, no new cases have been assigned to Suchkov since March 2016 – this is when the FSB operatives have come to him.
The litigation between the construction companies is still ongoing. The next session of the Higher Judges' Qualifications Board is scheduled to the second to the last week of September, and the decision on the consent for criminal prosecution of Sergey Suchkov might be made at this session.
Sergey Suchkov has graduated from the Historical Faculty of the Tambov State Pedagogical Institute in 1991; in 1997 he graduated from the Moscow State Law Academy. He has been a judge of the Tambov Regional Arbitration Court since 2004. His total juridical experience is over 15 years