Chief investigator under investigation: New charges laid against Mullin
Within six months, the third chief investigator has arrived to Kuzbass. Two his predecessors have become suspects in criminal cases. Pavel Mullin is currently charged under three Articles of the Criminal Code. Still, this hasn’t prevented him from being released from the pretrial detention facility: the court decided that even home arrest is a too harsh restriction for him. Why does Themis favor so much the corrupt enforcement officer?
On March 10, 2017, the Tsentralny District Court of Novosibirsk has dismissed the motion brought by the investigation to place Pavel Mullin, former Acting Head of the Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) in the Kemerovo Region, under home arrest. Judge Maria Shishkina has announced a decision that was a true surprise both for the defendant and his attorneys: release Mullin from the court room. According to Shishkina, the investigation has failed to provide satisfactory evidence that, being on the loose, Mullin would be able to put pressure on the witnesses or hinder the investigation. After the court session, the judge has imposed a pre-trial restraint on the suspect: a written pledge not to leave Kemerovo.
Pavel Mullin was appointed the Acting Head of the Kuzbass Investigations Directorate in November 2016, after the arrest of his predecessor Sergei Kalinkin suspected of corruption. In a short span of time, colonel of justice Mullin managed to commit offences falling under three Articles of the Criminal Code. He has been charged under part 1 of Article 286 (Exceeding Official Powers), part 3 of Article 33, and Article 292 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Complicity to Official Forgery).
The investigation believes that Mullin had obstructed the solution of a crime pertaining to illegal turnover of firearms. According to a CrimeRussia source in regional law enforcement structures, the local police had received information about a cache of unregistered firearms stored in a warehouse located in the Izhmorsky district of the Kemerovo region. Operatives of the Department for Combating Extremism of the General Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation in the Kemerovo Region arrived to the underground cache and started searching the premises. Upon becoming aware of this, Mullin has called the operatives and ordered them to stop the search immediately, leave the warehouse, and neither seize the weapons nor submit those for expert assessment. He also strongly recommended to leave the ‘respected persons’ alone.
Now the command of the MIA General Administration in the Kemerovo Region has to answer: why do policemen fulfil verbal instructions of a person in charge of a different agency? Viktor Kutylkin, Deputy Head of the Kuzbass police and old friend of Mullin, has already been questioned. He had to explain why did Mullin command the policemen as his own subordinates? However, Kutylkin denies the very fact of questioning and claims that he has learned about his alleged visit to the investigators from regional and local media. He also states that he has nothing to do with the story involving the former Acting Head of the Investigations Directorate in the Kemerovo Region. It is difficult to believe the general’s word though.
Viktor Kutylkin, Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region
Not only is Mullin suspected of ‘covering up’ arms traders, but of subornation of official forgery as well. According to the investigation, he had put pressure on the policemen and demanded them not to record the discovery of illegal ammunition supplies – some 30 Saiga carbine rounds. This is how the Acting Head of the Investigations Directorate had tried to help his good friend in whose home the rounds were found as well. Two Kuzbass policemen, who hadn’t recorded the crime properly due to the intervention of Mullin, have also been charged in the framework of this criminal case. One of the operatives had attempted to decline the colonel’s request – but gave up after a threat to ruin his life.
According to the CrimeRussia source, Mullin had been ‘covering up’ the illegal firearms turnover for a while using his extensive connections established during the years of service. Pavel Mullin had started his career in the law enforcement in 1993 as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Zavodskoy District of Kemerovo. The higher he had progressed up the career ladder, the more questions had the internal security service in relation to his activities. In particular, Mullin had closed several criminal cases instituted against law enforcement officers. The CrimeRussia already wrote about one such episode: being an investigator in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Zavodskoy District of Kemerovo, Mullin has helped intoxicated riot policemen, who had beaten half to death several people, to escape liability. When Mullin was the Prosecutor of the Town of Berezovsky of the Kemerovo Region, he has ‘hushed-up’ a criminal case against police officers who had sided during a brawl in Voyage cafe not with victims, but with the initiators of the fight led by Evgeny Khalilullin, son of a local ‘criminal authority’. Next time the colonel has got off the hook two patrol officers who had used excessive force while arresting a young man suspected of theft and beaten him so severely that he was admitted to the intensive care. It turned out later that the man was innocent. Mullin has helped the uniformed sadists to escape liability. Apparently he had received rewards for such assistance – a luxury Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV belonging to the former Acting Head of the Investigations Directorate is a vivid illustration of this.
According to the source, in exchange for his ‘services’, Mullin had received not only money, but also the right to command police officers as his subordinates. In critical situations, he had relied on support from the high-ranked ‘friends’. By the way, these ‘friends’ have not failed him this time: the decision of the judge to release Mullin from the court room can be explained only by his connections. In fact, during the years of service, the colonel has established good relations with the judiciary as well. The very first time he had to use these links was right after the graduation from the Law Faculty of the Kemerovo State University, when he was facing compulsory military service. Up until 2006, the investigators were not eligible for draft deferment. Therefore, to avoid carrying out the patriotic duty, Mullin decided to become a single father. The court has gladly divorced the loving spouses and made an unprecedented decision: granted the custody over their 5-year-old son to the father. This allowed Mullin to avoid military conscription and continue living with his family despite the divorce. A couple of years later, he and his family have got – with the help of the supreme command – a three-room apartment.
The direct superiors never had any complaints against Mullin – neither during his work in the prosecution structures nor after the transfer to the ICR. He was awarded with numerous medals and other rewards by the Prosecutor of the Kemerovo Region and Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. During the court session, the defense presented to the judge an entire collection of commendation lists and orders of appreciation – for example, for a high crime solving rate. The highly respected prosecution officer received a job offer from the ICR in 2007, immediately after the establishment of this agency. For five years, Mullin was a Deputy Head of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Kemerovo Region. In 2011, he became a Deputy Head of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Kemerovo Region. In March 2016, he was promoted to the First Deputy Head of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Kemerovo Region. When the colonel has taken the office of the supreme regional investigator, everybody expected him to be approved in the new position and promoted to the next rank soon. However, he was not appointed to this post permanently and lasted for less than six months on it – despite all his efforts to pose to the public as an ideal Head of the Investigations Directorate.
Pavel Mullin, Acting Head of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Kemerovo Region
Operatives of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation put an end to the career of Mullin – they have tapped the telephone conversation where the Acting Head of the Kuzbass Investigations Directorate orders the policemen to leave the weapons cache. The record has been submitted to the ICR, and in the end of February, the 5th Investigations Directorate of the ICR – directly subordinate to the Moscow headquarters – initiated a criminal case against Mullin. Immediately upon becoming aware of this, he has submitted a resignation letter due to the retirement and even managed to register it in the human resources department. But all his efforts to retire quietly were in vain – on March 3, 2017, Mullin was removed from his post by an order of Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of the ICR. According to the defense attorneys, the colonel has prohibited them from commenting the progress of the investigation. The corrupt official denies any guilt and intends to stand his ground in court.
It is necessary to note that colleagues of Mullin have submitted a collective letter to the judge asking to impose an “adequate pre-trial restraint” on the former Acting Head of the Investigations Directorate in the Kemerovo Region. They believe that the colonel of justice should remain under home arrest until the end of the investigation. There are 70 signatures under the letter. However, the judge has decided that home arrest would be a too harsh restraint for the corrupt investigator and limited the pretrial restrictions to a written pledge not to leave Kemerovo. This confirms the conclusion made by the Kemerovo public after the institution of criminal cases against former Kuzbass supreme investigator Sergei Kalinkin and Tuleev’s deputies: the police, investigation, court system, and officials have created an organized criminal group in the Kemerovo region, while ‘Kuzbass-bashi’ is the leader of this group. This ‘syndicate’ would help Mullin to get a nominal sentence for all his crimes: after all, during the years of service, he has gathered enough compromising materials against other members of the criminal community.
Corruption is overwhelming in the Republic of Bashkortostan. It infiltrates all branches of power. The recent arrests in the Bashkir Prosecutor’s Office clearly show that justice can be bought and sold there, while the verdict of Themis depends only on the purse size. All powerful officials and businessmen in the republic know how much it costs to institute or dismiss a case. After the replacement of the regional head, the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation has found out that not only the supreme authorities of the Republican Prosecutor’s Office are involved in the corruption scheme – but judges and high-ranked police commanders as well. What officials have sullied their reputation with bribe-taking and are going to fall victims to yet another sweeping purge? What are millions of rubles paid for? What is the true scale of corruption in the region – champion among national republics by that parameter?