Could be bribery, could be theft. Money goes missing after search, police under suspicion

Could be bribery, could be theft. Money goes missing after search, police under suspicion
Ikhtiyar Urazalin

The money was used as a bribe to have the case against cashiers closed, the investigation believes.

The Investigative Committee of Russia has completed the investigation of the criminal case against Nizhny Novgorod employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They are accused of complicity in the handover of 44 million rubles as a bribe to federal investigators. The defendants are the former chief of support services, Ikhtiyar Urazalin, and the bribery negotiator Iosif Drits, who testified against him, Kommersant reported.

44 million rubles were stolen in 2014 from the room where material evidence was stored. The sum had been seized two years earlier during searches at Bogorodsky Bank and Maxim Osokin’s office next door. After the case of illegal bank activity against the cashier was terminated by an official pardon, the money was allegedly returned to Osokin. However, when he was re-detained for another cashing offense a year and a half later, Osokin said that he had left the 44 million rubles as a bribe to the police investigators for stopping the first prosecution and have the funds of his companies released.

In March 2016, a criminal case was opened about the crime, and last September, the already-retired Nizhny Novgorod MIA chief of support services, Ikhtiyar Urazalin, was arrested and charged with swindling (Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). Later, the charge was amended, and he was accused of mediation in bribery (Art. 291.1 of the Criminal Code). The other defendant was the alleged mediator on Maxim Osokin’s behalf, the former director of a car market, Iosif Drits. He signed a pre-trial agreement with the prosecutor and testified against the retired colonel, who is currently reading the case file in SIZO. The former chief of support services has not confessed and claims that the accomplice lied.

The investigation did not reveal where the money is now or who received the bribe, says the lawyer Stanislav Ryabtsov. A new criminal case against "unidentified persons" has been severed from other charges. There is information that Vladimir Volikov, the former head of the investigative unit, who resigned back in 2007, had also been considered an intermediary in the bribe hand-over. Subsequently, his case was severed from the Urazalin case, and Volikov was moved to house arrest. His defense lawyer also believes the charges were unfounded since the investigators only have testimonial evidence.

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