FSB, ICR forced to testify against ex-Senator Tsybko — former Chelyabinsk region Vice-Governor
Former Vice-Governor of the Chelyabinsk region Nikolay Sandakov claims that investigators have difficulty proving Konstantin Tsybko was taking bribes.
Sandakov was questioned as a witness in the high-profile criminal case of bribery against former Senator Konstantin Tsybko. As reported by Kommersant, the ex-official gave his testimony via videoconference — being accused in several other cases, he currently remains under house arrest.
Nikolay Sandakov is connected to Tsybko’s case through a common key witness — former Head of the Ozersk Administration Yevgeny Tarasov. Investigators believe that Sandakov offered him the post of the Head of Magnitogorsk for 1.5 million rubles, and Tsybko promised the position of the Head of Ozersk for 20 million rubles. Investigators also have a theory that Sandakov was present at the talks between Tsybko and Tarasov. The meeting supposedly took place on July 9, 2011 in one of the restaurants at the Ouvildy village.
However, Sandakov stated in court that he knew nothing about the circumstances of Tarasov’s appointment as the Head of Ozersk. Sandakov said that he had a roadmap, confirming that on July 9, 2011, the driver took Sandakov to Satka for the celebration of the eldest daughter’s birthday. The former official also said that he had documents confirming his presence at the hotel in that town (300 km from Ouvildy) with his family. It is worth noting that earlier Tarasov’s driver, Sergey Putikov also gave a testimony, saying that on July 9, his boss had been on the territory of the Ozersk city district and that they had not been in any restaurant. The judge refused to enter this information into the case file.
During the hearing, Sandakov for the first time declared that Head of the regional FSB department Igor Akhrimeev demanded from him to testify against Konstantin Tsybko. Sandakov said that the conversation with the FSB official had taken place in November 2014 at the residence of Chelyabinsk region governor. Sandakov claims that Akhrimeev put forward an ultimatum to testify and "discredit Tsybko."
Sandakov recalled that to this he had replied, "If I am summoned to the court, I will tell the truth." The ex-officials claims that following his conversation with Akhrimeev, the FSB started pressuring him and telling that the decision regarding Tsybko had already been made "at the top level." Moreover, according to Sandakov’s testimony, in late 2014, he met with Magnitogorsk businessman Oleg Laknitsky, who had previously testified against Tsybko. The businessman admitted that he had done it because he had been threatened with criminal case against his daughter.
The prosecution of Nikolay Sandakov, who refused to testify against Tsybko, started in 2015. In March, he was detained in Yekaterinburg.
However, as follows from the testimony of the former Vice-Governor, after the arrest he was contacted by a member of the ICR Main Investigative Department Igor Bederin, who asked him testify against Tsybko to avoid arrest. Sandakov believes that the investigators have difficulty proving Tsybko’s guilt and thus have to resort to such measures.