Former deputy minister tells court FSB asked to badmouth Internal Affairs leaders

Former deputy minister tells court FSB asked to badmouth Internal Affairs leaders
Pavel Uglanov Photo: Social media

Back in 2017, FSB officers tried to get incriminating evidence against high-ranking police officers from the Internal Affairs Directorate for the Western Administrative District, which had been involved in the Golunov case scandal.

In 2017, the FSB obtained bribery evidence on the leadership of the Moscow Internal Affairs Directorate for the Western Administrative District, as well as on the head of the Moscow Metro Prosecutor’s Office, Andrei Kulakov, RBC reports. This was told in court by Pavel Uglanov, a businessman and the former deputy minister of industry and energy of the Saratov region.

According to Uglanov, he promised the policemen and prosecutors compensation for the persecution of those who had deceived him with civil service employment. The police statement Uglanov filed back then was under control of the WAD police chief Andrey Puchkov and his deputy Igor Petukhov, both of whom quit in the summer of 2019 after the scandalous Ivan Golunov case.

Sergey Alpatov, the current deputy head of the FSB Economic Security Service, supervised Uglanov’s detention. After interrogating the man, intelligence officers began wiretapping the police officers and prosecutors he mentioned. Later in court, Uglanov refused to testify against the policemen, saying that he had falsely accused them at the request of the FSB.

Until 2011, Uglanov worked for the Saratov region, and later owned a gas station chain in the region and a business in the United States. In 2017, he returned to Russia and was detained on suspicion of fraud. Alexander Bobovnikov, the former deputy head of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and businessman, accused him of a 30-million-ruble swindling.

During interrogations, Uglanov stated that Bobovnikov was the real fraudster; Saratov ex-deputy Aleksey Krasilnikov had introduced the men to each other. Upon his return from the United States, Uglanov was looking for a new job in a public position, and Bobovnikov allegedly promised to help him for a fee. For 19 million rubles, he allegedly arranged an interview with Sevastopol governor Dmitry Ovsyannikov, who verbally approved his appointment to the post of head of the regional housing and communal services department. However, he was never appointed. In July 2019, Ovsyannikov resigned.

To all Uglanov’s questions Bobovnikov answered that “things happen” and offered new options. The businessman suspected that he was being deceived and turned to the FSB for help. When no answer was coming, he contacted a friend of the Saratov Region prosecutor’s office, Alexei Neznamov, who, in turn, introduced him to Moscow Metro Prosecutor Andrei Kulagin.

According to Uglanov’s testimony, Kulagin stated that the initiation of a criminal case would cost 3 million rubles, and called Sergei Temnikov, deputy chief of the economic security department of the WAD police department. The latter proposed Uglanov for the administration and promised that "he would arrange everything." For that, Uglanov had to transfer 5 million rubles to the law enforcement officers who helped him initiate the case: 1.5 million to Neznamov, 500 thousand to Kulagin and 3 million to the WAD police department.

Uglanov filed a police statement on Krasilnikov and Bobovnikov. The WAD Internal Affairs chief, Puchkov, authorized the statement and gave passed it on to his deputy Petukhov for reviewal. All the papers are in the case file. Uglanov was given sound recording equipment. He arranged a meeting with Krasilnikov and promised to pay 5 million rubles in addition to the sum already paid for a civil service job. At the next meeting, the ex-deputy was detained by WAD police officers during the money transfer.

After that, Uglanov demanded 30 million rubles from Bobovnikov’s representatives, promising not to seek criminal prosecution. According to Uglanov, the amount consisted of the compensation paid for failed employment and compensation for "moral damage". Bobovnikov turned to law enforcement agencies. During Uglanov’s next meeting with the businessman’s lawyers Konstantin Skrypnik and Rolan Gagoev at the Jean-Jacques cafe, he and his lawyer Fedor Shlyakhin were detained while accepting the money.

Bobovnikov was named in the case as the victim. During interrogations, he denied that he had offered Uglanov to buy a post, received any money from him or introduced him to the Sevastopol governor. According to him, Uglanov threatened him with criminal prosecution and extorted money.

Sergei Alpatov, the then head of the FSB’s M department, approved the decision to conduct the operational experiment to detain Uglanov and his lawyer. During the detention, Uglanov asked Skrypnik, one of Bobovnikov’s lawyers, “why they did it to him.” He replied that "he shouldn’t have contacted the FSB in the fall." Uglanov had to sign an undertaking not to leave the place. When he was released from the ICR, Skrypnik took him to his own hotel and accommodated him in a VIP room. In the opposite apartment, there allegedly were three gunmen. When Uglanov would go outside, one of them followed him. However, the ex-official did not believe that he was being held at the hotel by force.

There are transcripts of Uglanov’s telephone conversations with Prosecutor Neznamov obtained by the FSB, which were attached to the case file. The former official said to the prosecutor, “I’ve put aside a five for you” and “Look, there’s three and two like you asked me. I want to give it so that I finally have it lifted off my shoulders." Neznamov’s answers were short.

The charges against the prosecutors and police officers under the bribery articles (Art. 290, Art. 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) were severed from the Uglanov case. However, from the verdict in the case of the ex-official it follows that he refused to testify against the prosecutors and WAD police officers when speaking in court. According to him, they did help him but did not ask for money. Kulagin, Neznamov and WAD Internal Affairs officers gave the same version to the court.

According to Uglanov, it was an operative of the M department named Vladimir Golubenko, who suggested he framed them. On the day of his arrest, he allegedly told the ex-official to call Neznamov and say something that would hint there’d be a bribe. In exchange, the FSB officer promised Uglanov would remain just a witness.

Neznamov stated in court that he had received calls and messages of "strange and provocative content." Uglanov allegedly told him that he “wanted to settle up”, sought a meeting, the word “dough” was used in the conversations.

In the spring of 2017, Neznamov reported to his superiors that he had been predisposed to commit a corruption crime, but an internal audit “found no reason for taking prosecutorial response measures”. Meanwhile, Neznamov was fired from the prosecutor's office in April 2017, RBC was told by the department.

In September 2018, the Tagansky court of Moscow sentenced Uglanov to three years in prison. His lawyer Shlyakhin got a five-years’ prison term. Dorogomilovsky court sentenced Krasilnikov to four years in prison for fraud in March 2019. Bobovnikov’s lawyers, Skrypnik and Gagoev, were later arrested in connection with other crimes.

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