Businessmen and security services’ attempt to dismiss head of Federal Security Service Directorate in Sakhalin for $2 million fails. Money lost

Businessmen and security services’ attempt to dismiss head of Federal Security Service Directorate in Sakhalin for $2 million fails. Money lost
Photo: Vasily Shaposhnikov / Kommersant

Eight people including Lt. Colonel of the Federal Security Service Sergey Lezhebokov and former Colonel Vladimir Zarechnev (along with businessmen Valery Mikheev, Sergey Morozov, Yuri Nekrash, Sergey Orlov, Vladimir Gostev and his driver Vladimir Sulimenko) found themselves in the dock.

The prosecution insists on 5 to 12 years’ imprisonment for a group of entrepreneurs and security officers on charges of taking a bribe of $2 million. The group of entrepreneurs and security officers attempted to dismiss a head of the Federal Security Service Directorate in Sakhalin Oblast Igor Struchkov who investigated the case of a former Governor Aleksander Khoroshavin. According to Kommersant daily, money that was intended for rainmakers in Moscow is lost.

The case has been examined by Moscow Garrison Military Court for about two years. Evidence collected by investigators of the Investigative Committee of Russia comprised more than 40 volumes and the original list of witnesses had 40 persons. Subsequently, the index increased significantly. It had four generals of the Federal Security Service including a member of the staff of the Office of the President, Andrey Borodin, a husband of an ex-Miss Universe Oxana Fedorova and employees of the envoy's office of the President in the Far East.

Eight accused include Lt. Colonel of the Federal Security Service Sergey Lezhebokov and former Colonel Vladimir Zarechnev, a high-ranking security service officer’s son, a businessman Valery Mikheev, Far East businessmen Yuri Nekrash, Sergey Orlov and Vladimir Gostev, the latter’s driver Vladimir Sulimenko and Sergey Morozov, Moscow’s entrepreneur and a close relative of a senator in Ryazan Region.

In 2013, President Vladimir Putin visited Sakhalin Island. He brought to significant light fraud related to the construction of Unit 4 of HEC-1 in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Local Federal Security Service Directorate under the leadership of Igor Struchkov was told to identify those responsibly. Head of the contracted company Sakhalinskaya Kompaniya Energostroy LLC Nikolay Kran was accused of fraud.

Investigators believe that Kran and the accomplices attempted to escape responsibility by dismissing Struchkov. They delivered $1.3 million to Moscow’s influential officials. After obtaining the protection from Moscow, the accused hoped to achieve Struchkov’s dismiss or his transfer to another region. They also attempted to keep the license of Tikhookeansky Vneshtorgbank subordinated to Kran. One of the Moscow’s rainmakers was Zarechnev.

After that, another tranche of $700 thousand was sent to Moscow. The bag of money reaffirming the seriousness of Kran was received by Sergey Orlov. It was put into Sergey Lezhebokov’s car. After that, the money was lost.

Conversations and relocation of all defendants were being monitored by the Bureau of Internal Affairs of Russia’s Federal Security Service. One of the first members of talks Valery Mikheev came to their attention. In September 2014, according to the information received, a senior investigator for especially essential cases Sergey Chernyshev opened a criminal case. Nine defendants including Mikheev were detained. Everyone except Morozov and Lezhebokov who pleaded guilty was put in remand prison. Money that had been transferred to Moscow was not found. Later, Morozov and Lezhebokov retracted their confessions. However, Kran and his bodyguard Yuri Nekrash pleaded guilty. Kran testified that Governor of Sakhalin Oblast Aleksander Khoroshavin took bribes. Khoroshavin was detained in March 2015. Subsequently, he was sentenced to 500 million rubles fine ($7.1 million) and 13 years of imprisonment. Nikolay Kran who was freed died of a heart attack.

Ex-Colonel Vladimir Zarechnev is charged with an attempt of Swindling on an especially large scale (Article 30 and part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and Extortion (Article 163). The reason for the latest accusation is because he allegedly extorted a car from another defendant in the case of Valery Mikheev - besides the fact that he attempted to deceive the Far East businessmen. Sergey Lezhebokov is also accused of swindling. The rest are charged with mediation in Bribery (Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

During the debate, only Nekrash and Mikheev pleaded guilty. Nekrash during the case went through a dangerous operation and became a person with disabilities in the second category.

The Prosecution Service had been expressing its demands for two days, the Defence - three days. The Prosecution Service insisted on five years of imprisonment in a colony with a general regime for Sergey Lezhebokov, 5 and a half for Yuri Nekrash and ten years for Colonel Zarechnev and 12 years for Vladimir Gostev. The Prosecution Service did not insist on the fines under the article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Nekrashev and Mikheev’s lawyers petitioned the court for leniency. Other lawyers asked the Court to fully justify their clients. Vladimir Zarechnev’s lawyer Sergey Vitebsky noted that an attempted fraud implies a commission of acts for receiving money. In his words, there was no commission of acts in this case. The same is related to an alleged extortion of the car.

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