Federal Security Service suspects Russian Railways of delivering large part of its fortune to Colonel Zakharchenko 

Federal Security Service suspects Russian Railways of delivering large part of its fortune to Colonel Zakharchenko
Valery Markelov in court Photo: Kommersant

The co-owner of the largest Russian Railways’ contractor - 1520 Group - Valery Markelov has been arrested on suspicion of passing a 2 billion rubles ($30.5 million) bribe to the Colonel. However, the investigators believe that the amount may be much higher.

According to Rosbalt news network with reference to its sources within security services, the co-owner of the largest Russian Railways’ contractor - 1520 Group - Valery Markelov arrested on suspicion of being a bribery intermediary - while passing a 2 billion rubles ($30.5 million) bribe to a former head of MIA’s division of the Main Directorate for Anti-Corruption Enforcement Dmitry Zakharchenko - can be involved in much larger bribes. The investigators believe that the largest part of the money found in Zakharchenko’s apartment (over 9 billion rubles which are roughly $137.5 million) came from Markelov and entrepreneur related to him.

The source report that the testimonies against Markelov were born by a banker Vladimir Antonov - accused of embezzlement of Sovetsky bank - in August 2018. Antonov closed a deal with the investigation and pleaded guilty as to embezzlement of funds from the bank. Moreover, he reported other instances of crimes he was aware of. In particular, the banker told about his strong partnership with Markelov. Billions of rubles were allegedly being laundered and encashed through credit organizations supervised by Antonov. Then, this money went to the Russian Railways. The patronage within law enforcement was provided by - among others - Zakharchenko. According to a person interviewed by Rosbalt, the Colonel bore partial testimony related to his partnership with Markelov. After this information was checked, the Investigative Committee concluded to detain the co-owner of 1520 Group.

On October 2, Moscow’s Basmanny Court arrested Valery Markelov for two months. At the same time, the Investigative Committee of Russia requested the Court to arrest a lawyer Viktor Belevtsov who was Zakharchenko’s close friend and assistant. The Rosbalt source notes that other detentions of “persons who have ties with Zakharchenko and took part in delivering him large amounts of money” are expected in the near future.

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Viktor Belevtsov

At the present time, Markelov is suspected of passing a 2 billion rubles ($30.5 million) bribe to the Colonel (Article 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The investigation’s theory is that this amount was delivered by other people who are named unidentified in the case. The person interviewed by Rosbalt pointed out that it is about a former top executive of the Russian Railways. The Group that was headed by Markelov was the largest contractor. The investigation’s theory is that the larger part of money found in Zakharchenko’s apartment came through the entrepreneur.

Zakharchenko kept the funds he received (about $120 million) in plastic bags prewrapped in the U.S. Federal Reserve System - with codes and stamps. The request through Russia’s Central Bank was sent to the U.S. The response to the request cast light on the fact that the cash was ordered by two Russian banks that passed it to two other ones. The Rosbalt source believes that it is about Baltika bank (had its license revoked in November 2015), Enisey (license revoked in February 2017), Novoe Vremya and Interprogress.

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Boris Usherovich

The aforementioned credit organizations are related to Boris Usherovich - Markelov’s closest partner. The entrepreneurs used to supervise dozens of companies that got billion-ruble contracts from the Russian Railways. In this business-empire, Zakharchenko dealt with safety and security arrangements in terms of law-enforcement authorities. The financial fronts were being kept by a banker Ivan Stankevich. The Rosbalt source says that Markelov, Usherovich, and Stankevich, at different times, gave orders to the banks they supervised to give out Zakharchenko large amounts of money that are in his turn was shared with his relative - the Federal Security Service officer Dmitry Senin. One part of this amount was flown overseas, another was transformed into deposits, the rest was being kept in cash by the Colonel. The Rosbalt source says this information is gathered in the course of the investigation and confirmed in examinations of witnesses.

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Boris Usherovich and Valrey Markelov (right)

The Rosbalt source noted that Zakharchenko and Senin “preferred subscription fee to non-recurring money gifts.” Sometimes they charged percents of the incomes of companies - just like it was in the Russian Railways’ contractor’s case. “The ‘subscription fee’ could be hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. The percents of the incomes could be even higher. However, the ‘clients’ signed up for it.” Zakharchenko and Senin offered them a guarantee of patronage by Russia’s MIA and FSB. This gave them the possibility to easily deal with conversion into cash, illicit trafficking, and embezzlement of public funds. “I have to point out that they really worked off their money resolving the ‘clients’ issues permanently.”

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