Corruption swamp. Another top bribe-taker arrested in Altai Region
Operatives of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation have arrested Vladimir Sagaidak, Chief of the Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation in the City of Novoaltaisk, in his office on suspicion of bribe-taking. This arrest has reconfirmed again that the Altai krai wallows in corruption.
The arrest of Vladimir Sagaidak, the chief corruption fighter of Novoaltaisk, was not a surprise for anyone – the last year was marked by numerous arrests of governmental officials suspected of bribe-taking, forgeries, and exceeding of official powers; he just joined their ranks. Sagaidak was caught with bribe extortion.
Many law enforcement officers had been caught with bribes in the recent years – but their followers keep making the same mistake. The scheme is standard: some suspects in a criminal case are willing to escape liability or at least minimize it; some law enforcement officers have the possibility to help the suspects (or pretend to have such possibility) – but not for free. There are two possible scenarios: either the suspect and law enforcement officer agree on the price – and the criminal case is closed due to lack of evidence, absence of elements of crime, etc.; or the price is too high for the client or he suspects a possible deception (money paid but the service not rendered) – so he goes to the Administration of Internal Security or FSB and reports the extortion of bribe. And then the extortionist is being caught red-handed during the handover of the bribe.
In this particular case, Vladimir Sagaidak had requested more money than the suspect could pay. According to the investigation, the Chief of the Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the MIA Department in the City of Novoaltaisk had offered a director of a company to bribe him; in return, Sagaidak had promised to lobby the decision to refuse the initiation of a criminal case. The director of the company was suspected of multimillion swindling. In the period of January 20–31, 2017, Sagaidak received 500 thousand rubles – the money have been transferred to the account of a legal entity controlled by him. But the defendant had filed a report with the FSB prior to transferring the money. Upon the receipt of the last installment (the investigation is currently verifying links between the policeman and owner of the account), operatives of the FSB Directorate for the Altai Krai have arrested Vladimir Sagaidak in his office in the city police headquarters.
Video: Arrest of Vladimir Sagaidak, the senior Novoaltaisk anti-corruption policeman, for bribe-taking
Immediately after the arrest, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) has initiated a criminal case under item (c), part 5 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Bribe-Taking on a large scale). The offences incriminated to Sagaidak are punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to twelve years and by a fine in the amount which is up to sixty times as much as the sum of the bribe. On the next day, the Oktyabrsky District Court of Barnaul has imposed pretrial restrictions: two months in a pretrial detention facility. The press service of the MIA General Administration in the Altai Krai has reacted swiftly and announced that should the guilt of the police officer be proven, he would be dismissed from the MIA due to discrediting reasons and punished in accordance with the current legislation, while his direct superiors are to be brought to strict disciplinary liability. As per instruction from police major general Aleksander Laas, the Acting Head of the MIA General Administration in the Altai Krai, a service audit is currently ongoing in the MIA Department in the City of Novoaltaisk due to the fact of illegal remuneration of a high-ranked officer. According to CrimeRussia sources, it can’t be ruled out that, based on results of the service audit, key figures in the Novoaltaisk police could be replaced. Sagaidak had held the post of the Chief of the Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption slightly longer than a year – in 2015 he was a criminal investigator in the Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the MIA Department in the City of Barnaul in the rank of captain. According to people who used to work together with him, he already had the ‘corrupt cop’ reputation in that period.
Similarly with the last year, in the beginning of 2017, a wave of corruption has literally swept through the Altai krai. High-profile scandals and arrests occur almost every month and involve top figures from the regional authorities.
Andrei Arestov, the Head of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA Administration for the City of Barnaul, has been caught a few weeks prior to the arrest of his colleague. His friend has been charged under part 4 of Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Mediation in Bribery effected on an especially large scale). According to the investigation, Arestov has received a bribe after his proposal to lift the arrest imposed on assets seized in the framework of a criminal case, dismiss the preliminary investigation of this case, and never resume it. His friend acted as an intermediary between the policeman and suspect. In the period of May 2016–January 2017, Arestov received in installments 1.2 million rubles. On January 18, 2017, during the handover of the next ‘installment’, Arestov has been arrested red-handed by the FSB Directorate for the Altai Krai.
Andrei Arestov, Head of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA Administration in the City of Barnaul
Igor Savintsev, the former Mayor of Barnaul, is currently waiting for a court verdict. He has been charged with illegal lease of municipal lands to his relatives for commercial development. The total damage sustained by the budget exceeds 17 million rubles. While the trial of the ex-Mayor is ongoing, his son has already been sentenced to prison term in the framework of his own criminal case. Maksim Savintsev was found guilty in November 2016 and sentenced to 6 years in a general regime penal colony and fine 500 thousand rubles. After an appeal in 2017, the term has been reduced to 5 years. In 2013, Savintsev junior has purchased at an artificially low price 100% of shares in Doverie (Trust) Management Company Open Joint Stock Company. The damage sustained by the municipal budget due to this deal was estimated at 19 million rubles. In addition, he and his accomplices, had been appropriating monies received from residents as payments for utility services.
Igor and Maksim Savintsev
In the end of November 2016, Aleksander Mastinin, the former Deputy of the Regional Duma, has been sentenced to 6 years in a general regime penal colony for swindling in the public housing and utility sphere. In 2009, being a manager in Rodnoy Barnaul (Hometown of Barnaul) Municipal Management Company of Barnaul Limited Liability Company, he had embezzled over 12 billion rubles transferred by residents of buildings serviced by the company as payments for utility fees. He had fled from justice, but was caught in 2015 with a fake ID issued in the name of Vladimir Grach, and has also been charged with illegal crossing of the state border of the Russian Federation.
Ex-Deputy Aleksander Mastinin
The most high-ranked corrupt official caught in 2016 was Yuri Denisov, the ex-Vice Governor of the Altai Krai. He has resigned two days before the arrest. The former official has been charged with attempted bribe-taking, while his wife Tatiana – with mediation in bribery. The investigation has identified four criminal episodes committed by Denisov in the period of 2009–2016.
Yuri Denisov, ex-Vice Governor of the Altai Krai
In total, over 270 corruption criminal cases have been initiated in the Altai krai in 2016. These corruption crimes mostly fall under the following Articles of the Criminal Code: bribe-taking and bribe-giving, swindling, misappropriation and embezzlement, and abuse of official powers. According to the Regional Investigations Directorate of the ICR, out of the 87 suspects whose criminal cases have already been transferred to the court, 36 people had committed their crimes being governmental officials. They used to hold positions in the public education system, health care, municipal control, police, and bailiffs service. Other defendants had attempted to give bribes to civil servants.
The current leaders of the Altai krai consider the above-mentioned criminal cases and court verdicts major achievements in the war on corruption. Governor Aleksander Karlin has stated that it is necessary to introduce effective anti-corruption measures in the region. To achieve this, the head of the region has established a Department for Prophylactics of Corruption and Other Offences in the regional government. However, some local experts believe that all these efforts are just a fight with windmills. Or even imitation of the fight. The corruption swamp of the Altai krai sucks down each and all.