Greed in uniform. The largest bribes in 2018
The largest bribes in 2018 were taken by security officials. Ordinary officials limited themselves to insignificant amounts, or just took things, accepted services or discounts. By the end of the year, neither major federal ministers nor governors, like in 2017, for instance, have been detained. It is obvious that officials were a bit alarmed by the high-profile cases of Ulyukayev, Belykh, Yurevich, and Markelov. While law enforcement officers still count on their own integrity. The CrimeRussia has drawn up the rating of the greediest corrupt officials who it was possible to catch taking bribes in 2018.
The average size of a bribe in Russia in 2018 was about 610 thousand rubles ($8.7 thousand). "The total amount of bribes, featured in all identified criminal cases under Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Bribe-Taking), was 1.8 billion rubles ($25.8 m)," said Alexander Kurennoy, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation. It is worth noting that this data reflect only 9 months of 2018, the Prosecutor General’s Office will provide the statistics for the whole year in a couple of months. In the past year, officials were held accountable for corruption mainly under articles on abuse of authority, negligence or fraud. Such cases include, for example, the purge in Dagestan (although some have been caught on bribes), the detention of Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Crimea Vitaly Nakhlupin or the criminal case against the Head of Serpukhov district of the Moscow region Alexander Shestun. Some of them even face a prison term under article on creation of a criminal group.
Mariya Slezkina – €2 million
The Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) for Moscow has opened a criminal case against former investigator Mariya Slezkina, who is suspected of extorting 2 million euros from Murmansk fisherman Yury Tuzov, arrested on charges of kidnapping. The businessman turned to the FSB with a statement on the fact that the employee of the ICR had demanded a bribe of 2 million euros for being commuted to house arrest right during the interrogation at Butyrka detention center. After working in the ICR for about 10 months, Slezkina resigned, went to the bar in North Ossetia, and went abroad. Despite the record bribe in 2018, the case did not cause a major stir, since the investigator did not have time to make a name or to hold a high-ranking post. So far, nothing is known about her fate. The decree on the initiation of proceedings against the ex-investigator Mariya Slezkina under part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale) was signed personally by Colonel of Justice Andrey Strizhov, acting Head of the ICR’s Main Investigative Directorate (MID) for Moscow.
Alexander Drymanov - $1 million
Former Head of the ICR’s MID for Moscow, Lieutenant General Alexander Drymanov was arrested on July 17, 2018. The investigation accused him of taking a bribe of $1 million from thief in law (vor) Shakro Molodoy for releasing crime lord Andrey Kochuykov (Italianets). The money came from businessman Dmitry Smychkovsky. The businessman was detained in December by UK law enforcement officers. Russia has sent a request to London for the entrepreneur’s extradition to Moscow. However, Smychkovsky has already been released on bail. Suspicions about Drymanov’s involvement in corruption were raised back in summer 2017, when most of the senior staff of the ICR was rounded up. The Head of the capital's head office of the ICR was arrested after the testimony of his former Deputy General of Justice Denis Nikandrov, whom Drymanov allegedly provided patronage for 9.8 thousand euros.
Sergey Fedorov – 26 million rubles ($372.9 thousand) and $150 thousand
In March, the Moscow Basmanny Court arrested the First Deputy Head of the Far Eastern Customs Administration (DVTU) Sergey Fedorov on charges of taking bribes. According to the investigation, in the period from December 2015 to October 2017, Fedorov repeatedly received bribes from the Head of Dalzavod-Terminal CJSC Rodion Tikhonov. In total, the First Deputy Head of the DVTU got 26 million rubles ($372.9 thousand) and 150 thousand dollars. In exchange, he patronized Dalzavod-Terminal in the work of the customs administration. Fedorov himself does not admit his guilt. The official calls himself a victim of slander. His lawyer noted that the accused was going to cooperate with the investigation to prove his innocence.
Mikhail Baryshev – 24 million rubles ($344.2 thousand)
The former Head of the Main Department for Work with the Personnel of the Ministry of Defense and the former Head of CSKA, Mikhail Baryshev, was charged with receiving three bribes worth 24 million rubles ($344.2 thousand). The Colonel is charged under part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale). The arrest request says that the case concerns the period of Baryshev's work as the Head of CSKA. He was detained on November 21. According to investigators, together with the former Deputy Head of CSKA, Andrey Khamazin, and the ex-Head of the Automobile Service of the institution, Yury Mukhanov, Baryshev took money for facilitating club's contracts for the supply of goods and services for the World War Games held in 2017 in Sochi. In particular, this concerns state contracts of CSKA with companies RedSys, Forward and Pyat Semerok (Five Sevens) - these are suppliers of software, sports equipment and transport services, respectively.
Vera Rabinovich – 20 million rubles ($286.9 thousand)
Vera Rabinovich, Head of the Main Investigations Directorate of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation for the Samara region, was caught red-handed when receiving a hefty bribe in the amount of 2.5 million rubles ($35.8 thousand). In total, a businessman was to pay 20 million rubles ($286.9 thousand) in order for the police officer to influence the transfer of the criminal case, in which he was a victim, to the court. The operational video, published by the press service of the ICR, shows how the hands of the official in uniform, stained with paint from marked bills, shine. A criminal case was initiated against the Colonel of Justice under part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking), part 3 of Art. 30 of the Criminal Code (Attempted Crime) and part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (Swindling on an especially large scale). However, the defense of Rabinovich tries to boil everything down to the fact of fraud: this way she faces a shorter term of punishment. The official in uniform, known by the nickname Bankomat (ATM), loved the luxurious life, drove an expensive foreign car, attended social events, dressed in brand shops and even appeared in a glossy magazine advertising a clothing collection of the famous Italian fashion house Emporio Armani. The Colonel of Justice is also said to be close to local gang Indians.
Vladimir Shelepov – 18 million rubles ($258.2 thousand)
The former Head of the Federal Tax Service Directorate (UFNS) for the Nizhny Novgorod region, Vladimir Shelepov, is suspected of receiving 18 million rubles ($258.2 thousand) from an unknown entrepreneur in exchange for "general patronage." According to the lawyer of the official Oleg Tselevich, the investigation does not have any evidence of bribe-taking, except for the testimony of one of the entrepreneurs, to whom the former Head of the Nizhny Novgorod UFNS "was like a pain in the neck." While working at the tax authorities in the Rostov and Nizhny Novgorod regions, Shelepov allegedly constantly disrupted his criminal schemes and passed all the information on him to law enforcement agencies, the lawyer said. The searches at the UFNS ex-Head's apartment turned up a hiding spot under the kitchen ceiling, where he kept bundles of dollars and rubles. March 14–15, Vladimir Shelepov wrote a letter of resignation. He headed the Directorate of the Federal Tax Service in the Nizhny Novgorod region since July 2015
Oleg Kondrashov and his Deputy – 17 million rubles ($244.1 thousand)
Oleg Kondrashov, the former Head of the Nizhny Novgorod administration, as well as his former Deputy, Vladimir Privalov, are suspected of accepting a bribe on an especially large scale. Investigators believe, in 2012–2013, officials received a bribe from a local businessman in the amount of 17 million rubles ($244.1 thousand). For this money, he asked Kondrashov for protection in funeral services. The entrepreneur was allocated a plot on which he built a crematorium. The former Head of the Nizhny Novgorod administration was declared wanted. His Deputy and two mediators were detained. Businessmen Sergey Muravlev and Yury Grishin were involved in the transfer of the money. In 2015, the City Council decided on the early dismissal of Kondrashov in connection with the start of his prosecution due to abuse of authority. The investigation assumes that in 2014 company TEK-NN was sold for 52 million rubles ($746.1 thousand), while the value of its assets exceeded 314 million ($4.5 m).
Kashmatov and Atayev – 15 million rubles ($215.1 thousand)
In December, law enforcement officers launched a criminal case against Kashmatov, Head of the 12th Unit For Combating Economic Crimes, and Atayev, Head of the Ts department of the Main Directorate of Internal Security of the MIA of Russia. They were suspected of taking a bribe of 15 million rubles ($215.1 thousand). The high-ranking security officials are suspected of receiving a particularly large bribe for ceasing checks. The apartments of the detainees were rummaged.
Denis Rudenko – 11 million rubles ($157.9 thousand)
Denis Rudenko, Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service for the Moscow region, was suspected of receiving a bribe of $158,000. The official was detained, interrogated and placed in a temporary detention facility. Other persons involved in the criminal case of Bribe-Taking (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) also work in the Moscow region customs. According to investigators, at about 22 o'clock on November 28, 2018, in one of the metropolitan cafes, Rudenko received upwards of 11 million rubles ($157.9 thousand) for helping to escape punishment for violations detected during an inspection in a commercial firm.
Maxim Kuksin – 11 million rubles ($157.9 thousand)
The Director of the Department for Audit of State Contracts of the Ministry of Defense of Russia Maxim Kuksin is suspected of receiving a bribe of 11 million rubles ($157.9 thousand). The Defense Ministry refrains from commenting. The investigators believe the official was going to promote a colleague up the career ladder for a monetary reward, “and also to give him general patronage in the future.” Initially, the amount of remuneration requested by Kuksin was 15 million rubles ($215.1 thousand), but in fact he received 11 million rubles ($157.9 thousand).
Roman Pakhomov – 6.5 million rubles ($93.5 thousand)
The former Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Republic of Tatarstan, Roman Pakhomov, is suspected of receiving a bribe in the amount of 100 thousand dollars (more than 6.5 million rubles). Lieutenant Colonel Pakhomov was detained on April 5 by staff of the FSB and the Investigative Committee. He was charged under part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking by an official for illegal actions, with extortion on an especially large scale, as part of an organized group or group of persons by previous concert).
According to investigators, in September 2017, the CID Head, in collusion with unidentified officials from the Tatarstan MIA Directorate, promised to resolve the issue of not criminalizing one of the defendants in an illegal banking case. The investigation believes that Pakhomov was supposed to transfer the money to other officials from the Prosecutor's Officer for Combating Organized Crime and the Investigation Department of the MID of the MIA. One of the defendants appealed to the FSB, and further events developed under the control of state security officers.
Immediately after his arrest and during a service check organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tatarstan, Pakhomov was dismissed from the internal affairs bodies on discrediting grounds.
Vladimir Bezrukov and his accomplices – 6 million rubles ($86.1 thousand)
In March, Moscow detained employee with the M Directorate of the FSB Vladimir Bezrukov and officer of the Operational Directorate of the Central Security Bureau of the FSB of Russia Nikolay Komarov, as well as the Deputy Chief for Migration of the Internal Affairs Directorate on the North-Western Administrative District of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia Yury Vasilyev, who created a sustainable group for illegal migration registration of foreign citizens. Komarov received money from bribe givers, the investigation considers. Bezrukov assumed the general patronage, as he occupied a high position in the M Directorate of the FSB. He also guaranteed the safety of the group when receiving a bribe. Vasilyev prepared documents of foreign citizens when they were registered as migrants.
Since December last year to the present, all three have received a large sum of money in the amount of more than 6 million rubles ($86.1 thousand) from some Seidov and Karayev.
Sergey Dubinsky and Andrey Trinev - 5 million rubles ($71.7 thousand)
Investigators for particularly important cases of the ICRs MID Sergey Dubinsky and Andrey Trinev were detained while receiving a bribe of 5 million rubles ($71.7 thousand). They were investigating frauds in Anatoly Motylev’s Russian Credit Bank. The bribe to the investigators may be related to the issue of lifting the arrest from any property that was imposed during the investigation of the case. During the investigation into the theft of money from the bank under the guise of loans, investigators petitioned in court to arrest the property of banker Motylev and his accomplices: houses, apartments, parking places in underground parking lots and several land plots in the Moscow region.
Vadim Nadvotsky – 5 million rubles ($71.7 thousand)
The Head of the Anti-Corruption Department of the MIA's Main Directorate for Altai Krai Vadim Nadvotsky and his former subordinate Yevgeny Grechishkin are accused of bribery. According to investigators, the police colonel for 5 million rubles ($71.7 thousand) promised to stop checking the enterprises of a local businessman. This may be the activity of a large operator in the market of the secondary metals, company Metallograd. The house of Vadim Nadvotsky, whom many in Altai Krai knew by the nickname Vadik Almighty, was searched. His bank accounts had cash in the amount of 1 billion rubles ($14.3 m). It is possible that Nadvotsky and Grechishkin were involved in other criminal episodes
Seventeen Russian Governors are facing criminal prosecution for bribe-taking. The rest of them may be jailed any time for exceedance of official powers. At least, Nezygar (@russica2) Telegram channel claims so citing an unidentified source in the law enforcement structures. However, according to that source, it is currently prohibited to prosecute top-level officials. In 2018, the operatives had only searched offices of Vice Governors or Deputy Ministers – not their bosses. The CrimeRussia found out what supreme functionaries are on the hook of the law enforcement authorities and may be immediately indicted if the President orders so.