Generals’ response: tries to dismiss FSB case against Investigative Committee management
The corruption case in the Russian IC may fall apart under investigation: the defense applied to the court asking to dismiss it. The advocates may point to a conflict of interests and that the case was initiated without Bastrykin’s authorization.
The Lefortovo Court of Moscow on Wednesday is resolving the issue of the legality of the criminal case against the Deputy Head of the capital's ICR Denis Nikandrov. The reason was the complaint of his lawyers, as the court spokesman Katerina Krasnova explained to RBK.
She noted that, so far, the court did not receive similar complaints from the other defendants in the case – the security Chief Mikhail Maksimenko and his deputy Aleksandr Lamonov. In turn, Lamonov’s defense assured RBK that soon the same complaint will be filed from Lamonov as well.
The investigation for the investigator
The lawyers of the accused refused to tell what evidence of the illegality of the case they are going to provide the court with. However, the two companions familiar with the investigation told what arguments the defense can present in court.
As the interlocutors of RBK explained, the criminal cases against Nikandrov, Maksimenko and Lamonov were initiated by three different resolutions of 15th and 16th of July. But only the resolution of the case against Nikandrov has been personally signed by the Head of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin. The two other cases were initiated by the Investigation Department of the FSB. This circumstance may be the cause for cancelling them.
According to the law (Article 29 of the Law "On the Investigation Committee"), the criminal proceedings against the ICR must be initiate by the Investigative Committee itself. "Checking information on crimes committed by the Investigative Committee employer, initiation of the criminal case against him and conducting investigation are the exclusive competence of the investigating authorities of the Investigative Committee", says the article. The only exceptions are cases when the investigator was caught right in the act.
And the criminal cases against the officers of the central office, whose status the law equates to the management positions, including Maksimenko and Lamonov must be personally signed the ICR Head Bastrykin, explains, in turn, the lawyer Eduard Isetsky. "The legislator has formulated this position to preserve the independence of the investigators, so they are not afraid of anyone’s ability to initiate a criminal case against them", said Isetsky.
The validity of these provisions was repeatedly confirmed by the Constitutional Court (the CC), points out the lawyer. In particular, in the Judgment of 12 May 2012 on Katkov’s complaint, the CC indicated that these provisions are an additional guarantee for the investigators.
When combining several major criminal cases, the case which for formal reasons will be considered improperly initiated can be the reason for dismissal of all the combined cases, said the lawyer Leonid Alperovich. However, since the main materials were produced as early as during the pre-investigation, in the framework of operational activities, it will not prevent from initiating a new case, continuing the investigation, during which the evidence will be examined, the lawyer said. In other words, these steps are unlikely to help the lawyers to completely dismiss the matter, sums up the lawyer.
Conflict of the security agencies
The Lawyers of the accused may refer to the fact that this case was initiated by the FSB officers who had a certain interest in placing heads of the ICR under the investigation.
On Monday, Nikandrov sent a letter to Bastrykin. In it, he insisted that the whole criminal case was a result of the conflict between the security agencies: the ICR Security Service and the FSB Department M. The essence of the conflict was not disclosed in the letter.
The ICR General asks to transfer the investigation to the Investigation Committee and urged his boss that "in the investigation conducted by the FSB will not be objective."
"Our case is the result of the conflict of some officers of the FSB Department M and ICR Security Service", wrote Nikandrov. The reason, according to the General, was that the security Head of the Department Maksimenko "was not on the bit regarding the appointments to the ICR senior positions."
"I think that it should be investigated by the Investigative Committee. You will examine the case, and if we are guilty, you will punish us", wrote Nikandrov to his boss.
We failed to get comments from the ICR the FSB promptly.
Shakro’s case and General’s role
Nikandrov, Lamontov and Maksimenko were arrested by the court on July 19. All of them are charged with Taking a Large-scale Bribe (Article 290 of the Criminal Code). According to a source of RBK familiar with the investigation, for the money, the ICR executives promised to change the measure of restraint for the close friends of the reputable thief in law Zakhar Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy), namely Andrey Kochuykov and Eduard Romanov. They were arrested in December 2015 after a gun-fight nearby the Elements café on the Rochdelskaya Street. Now, they are charged with extortion of 8 million rubles from the venue owner Joanna Kim.
In July, in the framework of this case, the respected thief in law Zakhar Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy) was arrested, on behalf of whom Kochuykov and Romanov allegedly acted.
Almost all of the persons involved in these cases, including the high-level investigators, deny their guilt.
One of the key roles in Shakro’s case the FSB assigned to Maksimenko, told the source close to the management of the security agencies to RBK, which was also confirmed by the law enforcement officer. According to them, Shakro’s colleagues had a deal with him. And Maksimenko passed the orders to Nikandrov through his Deputy Lamonov.
Maksimenko is one of the most influential officers of the ICR, claimed interlocutors of RBK. About the fact that Maksimenko is the right hand of the ICR Head Alexander Bastrykin, Forbes wrote once. After the Investigative Committee’s establishment, he headed the Department of physical protection, and then moved to the post of Head of UMViSB.
Although Maksimenko as the Head of the department was lower in status than Bastrykin’s deputies, but, thanks to good relations with the ICR Head, he had considerable influence in the agency, told the source close to the FSB executives to RBK.
On September 21, kingpin Vladimir Vagin, aka Vagon, hanged himself. Two years earlier another thief in law Max Pioner also committed suicide. Vagon's lawyer does not believe in the version of suicide and intends to apply for a forensic medical examination.