Deputy Chief of Barnaul MIA Administration caught with bribe but not detained. Why?
Andrei Arestov, the Head of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the Administration in the City of Barnaul of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, has been arrested red-handed during the handover of a bribe.
The chief police investigator of Barnaul is suspected of bribe-taking. The Investigations Directorate in the Altay Krai of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) has initiated a criminal case against Andrei Arestov, the Deputy Head of the MIA Administration in the City of Barnaul. The 36-year-old officer, appointed to the superior position less than a year ago, has been charged under part 6 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale). In addition, a good friend of the high-ranked policeman 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). Searches and seizures of documents have been performed in residences of the suspects. 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. The policeman has priced his assistance at a ‘humble’ sum of 1.2 million rubles. The money had been paid to him in parts since May 2016. On January 18, 2017, during the handover of the next ‘installment’, Arestov has been arrested red-handed by the Directorate in the Altay Krai of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation. The investigators do not disclose who had handed 400 thousand rubles over to Arestov in a car parked near the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA Administration in the City of Barnaul. According to a CrimeRussia source, this is because the person acting as the mediator has made a plea deal with the investigation. In return, the investigators agreed to keep the confidentiality and do not disclose the name of the second suspect in this case. It is known, however, that this is a former colleague of Arestov, who had received money for him from a Biysk businessman suspected of swindling.
Andrei Arestov was born on May 9, 1980. Since 2014, has been working in the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA Administration in the City of Barnaul. Was the head of the department for investigation of crimes committed within the territory controlled by police stations № 5 and № 10. Has been awarded a Certificate of the Barnaul Municipal Duma for multiyear dedicated work. In February 2016, has been appointed the Head of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA Administration in the City of Barnaul and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. According to the CrimeRussia source, the colleagues expected the career of Arestov to skyrocket. However, now everybody is trying to forget about the former comrade – all the information pertaining to Arestov has been promptly removed from the web site of the MIA Administration for the City of Barnaul. Its press service has announced that, should the guilt of the Lieutenant Colonel be proven, he would be dismissed from the MIA, while his direct superiors would be brought to strict disciplinary liability. The CrimeRussia source has reported that an internal audit is currently ongoing. Based on its results, those who had pledged for Arestov during his appointment to the superior position would be punished.
On January 20, 2016, the Oktyabrsky District Court of Barnaul has shown its position in this case. The judge placed Arestov under home arrest for two months – although the investigation had requested to remand him in custody. Now, the Lieutenant Colonel of justice is able to affect the investigation and communicate with possible accomplices. On January 24, 2016, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Altay Krai has appealed the court decision; according to Maria Anoshkina, an official representative of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, the watchdog authority is insisting to remand Arestov in a pretrial detention facility.
It is necessary to note that this is not the first scandal involving Andrei Arestov: in summer 2016, Barnaul businessman Nikolai Karnaukhov had addressed the media asking for help. The large family of Karnaukhov had put down the land lot with their private residential home as a security for a loan taken in Banca Intesa. A few years later, when the business affairs went awry and Karnaukhov could not pay the interest anymore, a non-transferrable lien has been registered on the property: the Karnaukhov family had to pay the principal and interest in the amount of almost 6 million rubles.
In spring 2014, Nikolai Karnaukhov has become aware that Banca Intesa had assigned the loan to some Andrei Khatin, who requested to pay out the debt. In March 2016, after extensive negotiations, Karnaukhov has met with Khatin and paid him 6 million rubles in the presence of witnesses. In return, Khatin has issued a receipt stating that he abandons all claims for the home and land lot. A month later, Khatin has filed a lawsuit requesting to recognize his rights on the real property and evict the Karnaukhov family – because he allegedly had never received any money from them.
The Karnaukhov family have filed a report to the police station № 5 of the Tsentralny District of Barnaul. A criminal case was initiated; its investigation had continued for 1 year and 2 months. According to the victims, the investigator handling the case had admitted that she was purposively delaying the investigation as per instructions from Andrei Arestov, the head of the investigation division of the police station № 5. Karnaukhov submitted a complaint against the investigator to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Altay Krai; it was found that the female police officer had illegally put the investigation on hold. But the deadlines have already been missed, lawsuits lost, and the ownership of the home transferred to Khatin. The family with three children has got an eviction notice issued by the court. It is unknown whether Arestov had gained any profit from this story. But it would be logically to suppose that he had. Most probably, it was a cash bribe – similarly with the last bribe in his career.
After that episode, the Altay public activists have requested to reopen a number of questionable cases handled in the recent years by the department under command of Arestov. They believe that the arrested lieutenant colonel was only a link in a major corruption chain. Oleg Boronin, Head of the Sibirsky Rural Council of the Pervomaisky District of the Altay Kray and member of the regional branch of Spavedlivaya Rossia (the Just Russia) Party, considers necessary to reopen a high-profile case related to embezzlements during the reconstruction of the Altay Youth Theatre. A few years ago, Tatiana Kozitsyna, the ex-director of the theatre, had refused to sign the acceptance certificate for the expensive reconstruction because the works were not completed. Then the Governor’s team has managed to remove Kozitsyna from her post, while the police initiated a criminal case against her. The ex-director, who had been working in the Altay Youth Theatre for 16 years, was charged under part 3 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Misappropriation or Embezzlement committed by a person through his official position). Kozitsyna allegedly did not hand over the service laptop and cellphone to the new director – although by the moment of her termination, no one was appointed to this position yet. The public activists believe that Arestov was the mastermind behind the criminal prosecution of a woman awarded with the Premium “For Honor and Dignity”.
The criminal case against Kozitsyna had sparked a massive public outcry; over 4 thousand producers, actors, critics, theatre researchers, screenwriters, etc. have signed a petition in her support, including such prominent figures as Aleksander Kalyagin, Chairman of the Theatre Union of the Russian Federation; actors Veniamin Smekhov and Aleksander Filippenko; and Maria Revyakina, General Director of the Golden Mask Awards. After the escalation of the scandal to the federal level, the obviously framed-up case against Kozitsyna has been dismissed for absence of elements of crime. After the arrest of Arestov, the rights advocates have requested to reopen the case related to the embezzlements during the reconstruction of the Altay Youth Theatre and find the real perpetrators.
According to the CrimeRussia source, Andrei Arestov is currently denying any guilt. Perhaps, he hopes that his high-ranked patrons somehow help him to get off the hook. Especially taking that the court has granted him the possibility to communicate with them.
The Kremlin was told that they use Telegram for internal communications. However, if it is blocked, the staff of the Presidential Administration is ready to switch to another messenger, said Dmitry Peskov.
Deputy of Izhevsk Zakhar Milostivenko was detained the day before on suspicion of "restricting competition". Sources clarify that the case of the parliamentarian is connected with the criminal case of Alexander Soloviev, accused of multimillion bribes.