Defendants in Gaizer case expose bribe-taking of Komi Election Commission ex-head 

Defendants in Gaizer case expose bribe-taking of Komi Election Commission ex-head
Elena Shabarshina

The trial of former official began on January 30, 2017. According to the investigation, the defendant had received 6 million 680 thousand ($118,500) over 9 years.

February 22, ex-Deputy Head of the Komi Republic Aleksey Chernov and former Head of the Information Department of Komi Administration and Government Pavel Marushchak were questioned in the Syktyvkar City Court as part of the criminal case of former Chairwoman of the Komi Republic Election Commission Elena Shabarshina.

The questioning was carried out by means of videoconferencing, since both suspects are defendants in the Gaizer case and are currently in a Moscow pre-trial detention center.

According to BNK, at the very beginning of the interview, Aleksey Chernov admitted that he gave money to Elena Shabarshina, having decided to provide her with financial assistance after he had learned about her husband’s illness. After this statement, the defense of the former Election Commission head demanded the press leave the courtroom due to reading out of personal information. The court accepted this argument.

Aleksey Chernov

Aleksey Chernov

Following Chernov, ex-Head of the Komi Republic Administration Head’s Information Management Department Pavel Marushchak was questioned. According to Marushchak, he had seen Chernov taking out packages from his drawer, opening them, retrieving money in 5,000-ruble banknotes, and putting the money in envelopes. Then Chernov would call his guard named Sergey and hand him several envelopes, explaining to whom he should deliver them. Marushchak claimed that the situation where Chernov passed the envelopes to his guard ordering to take them to Shabarshina repeated about five times in his [Marushchak’s] presence.

In early 2015, Marushchak also witnessed Chernov’s telephone conversation with Head of Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gaizer, who said that Shabarshina raised a question of purchasing an apartment for her daughter, who had moved to Moscow. In the course of the conversation, Marushchak realized that the two did not approve the purchase of an apartment in Moscow, but decided to double the monthly payments to Shabarshina.

Pavel Marushchak

Pavel Marushchak

To recall, ex-Head of the Komi Republic Election Commission Elena Shabarshina is accused of taking bribes for committing illegal actions on an especially large scale. The investigation found that from November 2006 to August 2015, Shabarshina held public office and received monthly payment from Aleksey Chernov in exchange for protection. In total, the defendant received 6 million 680 thousand rubles for the specified period.

The trial of the former official began on January 30, 2017. According to the prosecution, the Election Commission chairwoman illegally provided operative information on the course of elections, complaints, and preliminary results of voting in the region.

However, Pavel Marushchak has not confirmed the bribery version, since a bribe involves counter illegal services. According to him, Shabarshina did not commit any unlawful actions.

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