Ex-Head of Komi may face more severe punishment

Ex-Head of Komi may face more severe punishment
Vyacheslav Gaizer Photo: Vyacheslav Prokofiev / TASS

Vyacheslav Gaizer is now facing up to 25 years in prison.

The investigation has reclassified one of the articles of the charges against the former Governor of the Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gaizer from fraud to taking bribes on a considerable scale (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code), RBC reported with reference to sources close to the investigation and the defendant’s lawyer, Vyacheslav Leontiev. The bribe in question is the one received from former Senator Yevgeny Samoilov in the form of assets.

Sources imply that the new edition of charges against Gaizer was introduced at the end of August. Now Gaizer is charged in the aggregate with four offenses of the Criminal Code: the creation of a criminal group, bribery on a considerable scale, laundering of proceeds from criminal activity, and fraud. The maximum penalty under the article bribe on a considerable scale is imprisonment for up to 15 years. According to the new charges, the ex-Governor may face a maximum term of imprisonment — 25 years for multiple offenses.

Investigators refer to the bribe as the case in 2014, when 50% of the shares of the Avtotsentr Limited Liability Company, which owned the Avalon hotel, were transferred to persons controlled by the administration of the republic. The Avalon hotel is a 9-storey building in the center of Syktyvkar, built in 2007. This asset was previously owned by former senator of the Republic of Komi Yevgeny Samoilov. According to the investigation, in 2014, for the protection of his business in 2014, Samoilov gave the hotel to Gaizer’s people.

"Samoilov transferred his property due to debts to third parties. What does that have to do with Gaizer?" the lawyer Leontiev asked, perplexed. According to the attorney, every governor in the country could be held responsible on such trumped up charges.

It is worth noting that the Deputy Head of the ICR department for Cooperation with the Media Svetlana Petrenko denied any changes in the Gaizer’s case.

As a reminder, on September 20, 2015, the Moscow's Basmanny Court arrested the Head of Komi Vyacheslav Gaizer and 15 more people (including Samoilov), high-ranking officials and businessmen. In May 2016, Samoilov was placed under house arrest. Immediately after the detention, Samoilov confessed, and his testimony served as an important evidence against the republic's leadership.

The defendants in the Gaizer’s case were initially suspected only in Organization or Participation in a Criminal Organization (Art. 210 of the Criminal Code), created for Swindling (Art. 159 of the Criminal Code) of state property in the Komi and the withdrawal of assets abroad.

The case now has three more defendants: the co-owner of the Renova group of companies Yevgeny Olkhovik, the CEO of T Plus Boris Vainzikher, and the ex-CEO of Vympelcom Mikhail Slobodin. They are suspected of bribing senior officials of the Komi Republic.

It is assumed that the Gaizer’s case will be submitted to the court before the end of 2017.

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