Dangerous Liaisons. Why charge of bribery is only pretext for arrest of FSB Colonel Naumov?
FSB Colonel Anatoly Naumov is arrested for bribery. The investigation believes that he covered large swindlers, helping them to steal nearly 400 million rubles ($6.1m) while building houses for special services in Sochi. When the developers were caught and convicted, they testified to the patron in the capital's office. However, some observers believe that the charge of bribes is only a reason to arrest the Colonel, and the real reason for the arrest is his proximity to high patrons. Why does the prosecution of the FSB Colonel be the next stage of an attack on Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev?
The central office of the FSB faces another corruption scandal. Anatoly Naumov, the deputy chief and chief engineer of the Capital Construction Directorate of the Federal Security Service of Russia, was detained. The Colonel was suspected of taking bribes on a large scale. According to the investigation, Naumov received more than 7 million rubles for general patronage from people in business who stole about 400 million rubles during the construction of departmental housing for FSB officers in Sochi.
In 2011–2012, the FSUE Caucasian Military Construction Division of the FSB of the Russian Federation entered into contracts with Moscow Invest-Viktoria LLC in the amount of 1.2 billion rubles for the construction of two phases of a residential block on Gastello Street in Sochi for security officers. But the developer has completed only a part of the work stipulated by the contracts. The houses should have been built for the Olympic Games, but the deadlines for commissioning the two phases of the residential complex were disrupted. By March 2014, the works were not completed: only the foundation and 5 out of 18 floors were erected. However, former heads of the construction company Invest-Viktoria Management Company Mikhail Lyagin and Andrey Simonov kept the actual cessation of work from the customer and received more than half a billion rubles from the security officers in the form of an advance.
Making sure that no one is going to finish building the houses, FSUE KVSO demanded that Invest-Viktoria Management Company return a part of the advance payment. In the fall of 2014, the claims were satisfied, and the defendants did not even consider it necessary to appear at the court hearing. The decision was not challenged. However, it did not fully return the money. As a result, in 2016, criminal proceedings were instituted against Lyagin and Simonov under part 3 of Art. 159.4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling with the deliberate non-fulfillment of contractual obligations in the sphere of entrepreneurial activity, committed on a large scale) and part 4 of Art. 174.1 of the Criminal Code (Legalization of Funds). During the investigation, it turned out that part of the funds received from FSUE KVSO for 391.549 million rubles were cashed out through transactions, allegedly for the payment of building materials. 7.5 million rubles were exchanged and siphoned off to Ireland.
Mikhail Lyagin, who was also a co-founder of the Leningrad Regional Branch of the Business Russia organization for entrepreneurs, fled from the investigation to Spain. However, he was detained at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation and deported to Russia. On February 21, 2018, the businessman was handed over to the Russian authorities at the Madrid airport and taken into custody. Both defendants pleaded guilty and were convicted for fraud and money laundering; Lyagin and Simonov were sentenced to four years in prison in a general regime colony.
Relatively lenient sentences could be the result of the frankness of the accused. The next day after Lyagin’s extradition, Colonel Sergey Sovertokin, the Director General of the FSUE Caucasian Military Construction Division was detained. The Colonel became a defendant in the criminal case because, despite the failure to meet the deadlines for putting the houses into operation for security officers, he continued to pay for works that were no longer conducted. Moreover, Sovertokin paid an advance payment to fraudulent contractors, which significantly exceeded the contractual limit of 30%. The prepayment was 80%. The Colonel fully admitted his guilt. In February of this year, the North Caucasian District Military Court found Sovertokin guilty of Exceeding Official Powers (part 3 of Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and imposed the same punishment four years in a general regime colony. Also, the judge deprived the accused of the rank of Colonel in reserve.
Already doing their time, Lyagin and Simonov decided to give new evidence. The former leaders of Invest-Viktoria Asset Management reported that when they delayed the execution of work for the FSB, they paid off checks from the central office of the department, paying the bribe to Anatoly Naumov. According to contractors, the total amount of bribes to the Colonel reached 7.4 million rubles. According to Lyagin and Simonov, the director general of FSUE KVSO did not participate in this corruption scheme, but he knew that the developers transferred bribes. Sergey Sovertokin confirmed this information, after which a criminal bribery case was initiated against Naumov.
Naumov was detained and then was arrested by the decision of the 235th Garrison Military Court. The Main Department of the ICR confirmed that Anatoly Naumov was under investigation, but did not give any comments. Recently, the court extended the terms of detention at the SIZO. A source of Kommersant reported that a whole number of former and current employees of FSB are being checked for involvement in bribery.
It is worth noting that in 2012–2013, the Invest-Viktoria was engaged in contract work on the repair of the congress center in the Sochi sanatorium Rus, belonged to the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. The amount of the contract was more than 2 billion rubles. Andrey Simonov, one of the convicted executives of the company and co-owner of Invest-Viktoria, also has a stake in Russian-European Cinema Association River. From 2007 to 2014, it entered into state contracts with the Ministry of Culture to hold the Window to Europe film festival, annually receiving amounts from 5 to 18.4 million rubles from the budget.
However, some observers believe that the story of embezzlement in the construction of houses was only the reason for the arrest of Naumov and not the real reason for his criminal prosecution. Thus, the Shumanov Telegram channel suggested that the arrest of the Colonel might be the next stage of the attack on Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev, whose henchman detainee Naumov was.
The capital construction department, which Naumov headed, is part of the 7th service of the Federal Security Service of Russia - Operations Support Services. Since 2007, this structure is directed by Colonel-General Mikhail Shekin. Moreover, Shekin was appointed Head of the FSB Support Service when Patrushev was the director of the special service.
Colonel-General Mikhail Shekin
Now Shekin is on the board of the Russian Volleyball Federation. Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Patrushev, who until 2009 was the president of the Russian Volley Federation, is the chairman of the supervisory board of the federation. According to the Shumanov Telegram channel, this is one of the proofs that the Colonel General has his former leader's back.
Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev
Alexey Khotin, the recently arrested main shareholder of Yugra Bank, also supported Patrushev. His arrest caused a spate of assumptions that that was the beginning of an attack on the Patrushev-Gryzlov group since Patrushev always patronized Alexey Khotin as his father’s longtime friend.
Khotin is associated not only with the Security Council secretary but also with his former subordinate. Thus, the banker has repeatedly sponsored projects of Anastasia Zadorina, the daughter of Colonel General Shekin. Although the girl is only a novice designer, that did not prevent Anastasia to wipe out Bosco’s 15-year-old monopoly and won the right to wear Russian Olympians for 8 years. Before this, Equipsport LLC, owned by Anastasia Zadorina, received orders for tailoring a form for Dynamo, which president is her father; he also owns one of the founders of the club - the Dynamo 24 regional company controlled by the FSB.
Daughter of Mikhail Shekin Anastasia Zadorina
Close ties between Khotin, Patrushev, and Shekin lead to the conclusion that Naumov’s arrest is another attempt to get on to FSB secretary.
General’s son Mikhail Sal’nikov, Professor of the Department of Theory of Government and Law at the St. Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, has been detained for real estate fraud. Amid other corruption crimes hitting the headlines, this offense does not seem a high-profile one. But the point is that this is not the first criminal case instituted against professor Sal’nikov, and he is not the only relative of MIA general Viktor Sal’nikov having problems with the law.