How to earn from state of emergency: Transbaikal officials earned millions on kickbacks
Loud arrests of officials from the team of the former Governor have taken place in Transbaikal. They were receiving kickbacks at the conclusion of the state contracts connected with elimination of consequences of emergency situations in the region.
After arrests of officials from a team of the ex-governor Konstantin Ilkovsky, talks about detention of the former head of the region in Chita started, but this information was not proven to be true.
On December 14 the staff of the Federal Security Service and the Investigative Committee performed operation on detention of three former heads of the Unitary Customer Service of Transbaikal director Gennady Litvintsev, chief engineer Konstantin Vyzhlov and deputy director Maxim Mayorov in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Chita and in Yakutia. Litvintsev and Vyzhlov were detained at a service office of Moscow, after that both were transported under guard to Chita. At the place of residence of persons involved and their close relatives in four regions of the country searches are carried out, arrests are imposed on real estate and accounts in banks. Criminal case initiated upon materials of investigation and search operations of Administration of the Federal Security Service across the Transbaikal Region. The Trinity is accused under part 6 Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation over Bribe-Taking on especially large scale as a part of organized group. By receiving kickbacks, they were helping heads of firms to win auctions on a construction of socially important objects in the Transbaikal Region. At the moment, persons involved in the criminal case are accused of 5 episodes for the total amount of 14 million rubles. According to the investigators, in 2014−2016 the suspects, holding executive positions, used the powers in the mercenary purposes.
The state governmental agency Unitary Customer Service of Transbaikal Region exists since 2002. It prepares documents, holds auction and controls execution of the state and municipal construction contracts of highways, subjects to housing-and-municipal appointment, health care, education, industrial and civil engineering. It is engaged in execution of functions of the state customer builder on construction of facilities at the expense of municipal, regional and federal budgets.
It is unknown, when did the idea to earn, using all delights of their position, came to minds of the officials. Investigating officers say that the first episodes of corruption activities had taken place in 2013. Litvintsev, Mayorov and Vyzhlov united in organized criminal group to receive kickbacks in conclusion of the public and municipal contracts with heads of various organizations and firms. Roles were arranged in the following way: Vyzhlov and Mayorov were engaged in search of the contractors ready to pay kickbacks, rendered assistance to heads of such entities in successful passing of auctions and the conclusion of contracts, personally received from them money in the form of bribes. Litvintsev, being the director of the Unitary Customer Service signed contracts with businessmen, provided them protection on service, and distributed the earned large amounts of bribes among participants of the criminal group. Today the criminal case includes data on 5 similar contracts, for the help in conclusion of which the suspects received bribes on the amount of at least 14 million rubles.
Chief engineer Konstantin Vyzhlov
The scheme of crimes in all cases was standard and was not original. But swindlers could only develop really in 2014−2015, and generally on the state contracts connected with elimination of consequences of emergency situations in the region.
One of the episodes − construction of housing to residents of the settlement of Smolenki, victims of the fires in the spring of 2015. During this period the situation with wildfires in Transbaikal went out of the control of the authorities, fire passed to several settlements. More than 200 houses and 250 country houses burned down, eight people died, more than 20 were injured. Smolenka, where country cooperative Polyanka and former military camp No. 57 completely disappeared, burned most strongly, also the residential district Dobrotny was partially damaged. Construction of new houses for fire victims was conducted under close attention of the federal authorities, at the request of the president Vladimir Putin. Housing was leased in time, but in December of the same year the Prosecutor's Office of the Transbaikal Region took on special control the numerous violations revealed in the houses built for victims of the fires, inhabitants of the region.
Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov checks a construction of houses for fire victims in the village of Smolenka
At that moment, the Transbaikal Region was in the state of emergency, because of wildfires, what, under the law, allowed the authorities to sign contracts without carrying out the obligatory biddings. Vyzhlov and Mayorov were matching the companies for conclusion of these contracts. Litvintsev had a right to sign. Money for the construction then were received from the federal budget, in total about 365 million rubles. All of them, before hit to the contractor, passed through hands of the Trinity from the Unitary Customer Service. According to the Prosecutor's Office, officials allowed financial violations for the total amount over 600 million rubles in concluding the contracts. This organization changed essential conditions of contracts without the conclusion of supplementary agreements to the amount over 300 million rubles. The accounts payable for accomplishment of installation and construction works more than for 16 million rubles was not repaid. Besides, works for 700 million rubles were illegally paid to builders.
The construction of 73 apartment houses for injured citizens began without allowing documents, was conducted without project documentation, while acts of acceptance-transfer of residential premises with an unapproved form were signed with fire victims after its completion. Low-quality materials were partially used in construction. As a result of construction defect, walls in apartment houses were freezing because of what the mold appeared and internal finishing was falling. Similar violations were fixed in the case of a construction of houses for victims of the fires in the city of Shilka, the villages of Smolenka of the Chita district, Bazanov of the Aleksandrovo-Zavodsky area and Znamenka of the Nerchinsk district. According to prosecutor's office, under submission madet in the address of the Unitary Customer Service LLC Business-Industriya, LLC Road Transbaikal Real Estate Development Company, LLC Rostekhno guilty workers were punished. By results of checks, the prosecutor's office of the Transbaikal Region sent information to the Ministry of territorial development of the area and made in the address of the Unitary Customer Service submission on elimination of violations of the law of purchases, the budget and town-planning legislation.
Despite so severe violations, in December, 2015 nine representatives of the Transbaikal Region, including director of the Unitary Customer Service Gennady Litvintsev were awarded for liquidation of the fires by the medal “For Merits before the Fatherland of the II Degree” by Vladimir Putin's decree.
In general, using the state of emergency for enrichment has become a habit for a top of the Unitary Customer Service. In emergency situation the main thing – short deadlines for the problem resolution therefore details of transactions were not exposed to the fixed and impartial analysis. What gave a reason, how they say, “to seize the moment”.
In case of the emergency mode budgetary funds for mitigation of consequences are allocated out of the competition. The organization has the right to sign the contract with the unique supplier based on the item 9 part 1 Article 93 of the Law 44-FZ of 05.04.2013. Such purchase is not usually approved with monitoring body.
The state governmental agency Unitary Customer Service of Transbaikal Region has ben found in 2002. It prepares documents, holds auctions and controls execution of the state and municipal construction contracts of highways, subjects to housing-and-municipal appointment, health care, education, industrial and civil engineering. It is engaged in execution of functions of the state customer builder on construction of facilities at the expense of municipal, regional and federal budgets.
Possibly, for this reason the emergency regime was artificially introduced when matching the contractor for project development on preservation of the 300-year temple of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the village of Kalinin of the Nerchinsk district for 2,5 million rubles. Preservation was estimated at 20 million rubles, and the subsequent recovery – at 100 million.
Ancient church of the Dormition of the Theotokos — the last reminder of the monastery which was there before. According to Siberian Kiprianovskaya of the chronicle, the Transbaikal's first Nerchinsk Uspensky monastery was founded in 1664, in ten years after construction of the Nerchinsk jail. In 1706 new big stone temple with stonewalls and stone cells was constructed there. The stone temple, the first in the east from Baikal, was consecrated in 1712. Architectural details of facades of church are executed in style of so-called naryshkinsky (or Moscow) baroque. This style appeared in Russia in the second half of the 17th century and the name was received by last name of relatives of mother of Peter I who actively implemented it in cult constructions.
In June, 2014 local authorities in the territory of the temple introduced the emergency regime to put in motion a question on recovery of a monument, picking up forces of the regional power of the contractor capable to perform complex technical works on strengthening of the base. 9 months later, in February, 2015, the Unitary Customer Service found the contractor − the Irkutsk firm Restav-Service. The ready project for 2,4 million was approved by the customer rapidly – in one and a half months after contract signature, and here the project underwent state examination for 99 thousand rubles only at the beginning of 2016. Works were paid in June, 2016. By the way, according to the document, the contract should have been performed on December 31, 2015. Before the project was paid, the prosecutor's office and the Administration of the Federal Antimonopoly Service called violation the conclusion of the contract with inhabitants of Irkutsk without auction for what Litvintsev then was fined by 50 thousand rubles (maximum punishment for similar violation).
Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Transbaikal
It should be added that in the Nerchinsk diocese, which was collecting 14 million rubles on recovery of the temple at the expense of charitable gifts for several years, nothing is known about the developed project of preservation.
There is yet no official information on what transactions stand behind the remained three episodes. But if to recognize a prerequisite that they were concluded according to the known scheme with contracts in the emergency mode, then it is possible to consider first of all two kindergartens and a school in villages Big Tura and Kadakhta. These settlements suffered from explosions of ammunition in military warehouses at the end of April, 2014 as a result of wildfires. Then 11 people died, about 200 social objects and apartment houses in villages Big Tura and Kadakhta were damaged, of them 18 were recognized not subject to recovery. The damage made about 7,5 billion rubles.
Inspection of the Transbaikal Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service revealed signs of violation of the law in construction contracts of kindergartens in Karymsky district and Kadakhta worth 429 million rubles, which the regional authorities concluded with Energozhilstroy and DMRSU 328 without the biddings, referring to the emergency mode because of explosions of ammunition. According to the inspection statements of the Administration of the Federal Antimonopoly Service performed in December, 2014, the regional organization the Unitary Customer Service did not submit documents which established quantity and amount of works, necessary for recovery from the accident in the villages of Karymsky and Kadakhte, and also did not confirm that the necessity of a construction of a garden in Karymsky district is caused by explosions. In acts by results of check it is specified that the construction contract of school in Karymsky district worth 248 million rubles is signed with the attached garden on July 22, 2014, and the construction contract of a kindergarten in Kadakhta worth 181 million — on July 30, 2014. The justification of the cost was conducted by the regional institution the Unitary Customer Service. By the way, the area had claims to contractors for untimely delivery of works under both contracts. Some objects are still not constructed.
Literally the other day pedagogical collective and parents of pupils of school of the village Big Tura addressed the chairman of CPRF faction Gennady Zyuganov, having been indignant with refusal of the regional authorities to complete school, instead of those, injured by explosions. The construction began in summer of 2014, but as soon as the first floor was built, works stopped because of mistakes in the project. In August, 2015 the director of the company Stroyprestizh reported that builders intend to resume works by the end of month. Outside it is end of 2016. Building is not conducted. During this time the residents of the settlement addressed the chairman and deputies of the General Court of the Transbaikal Region in regional prosecutor's office, in the Ministry of territorial development and the deputy governor of the Transbaikal Region In one of documents signed by the acting minister of territorial development of the Transbaikal Region A. Butyrsku of May 26, 2016 it is said that the state customer of the object was the Unitary Customer Service and in May the project documentation on school was there for approval of the further work plan. 10 million rubles were allocated and mastered on the construction - it is funds of the federal budget for upgrade of system of preschool education. Due to the sharpest budget deficit of the Transbaikal Region, it did provide funds for Bolsheturinskaya schools neither in 2015 not in 2016.
Under the similar scheme the Unitary Customer Service transferred a kindergarten construction in Sretensk for 179 million rubles to the Yakut company Tekhresurs and work on the riverbed of Argun for 105 million rubles − to the Stroyprestizh company (this company already built a kindergarten in the Upper Tura). Almost on all objects contractors received decent funds in course of execution of works, at the same time the reporting on the website of state procurements does not appear everywhere, including this on acceptance of works. If to assume that at least one of these contracts was transferred for the kickback which, according to the investigation, constituted 5−10% of contract value, then it is possible to estimate approximate amount of a pecuniary benefit of a management of the Unitary Customer Service. And this is what was only transferred to contractors directly without the biddings on the emergency mode. At the same time the Investigative Committee in the release reported that, in addition to transfer of contracts, Litvintsev with accomplices also organized victories at auctions for the interested firms. It means that law enforcement authorities can have questions to all state contracts signed for stay at a wheel of 'service' of Litvintsev, Mayorov and Vyzhlov. And this is in three years − transactions on state procurements for billions of rubles. By the way, recently there was information that arrested on suspicion of corruption crimes ex-heads of the Unitary Customer Service of the Transbaikal Region Maxim Mayorov and Konstantin Vyzhlov can be connected with a management of real estate development company which in February, 2016 won an auction for 73 million rubles. It is about the Road Transbaikal real estate development company created in April, 2014. Its owners – certain Kolmakov, Panin and Usanov. Mikhail Usanov is the director of other firm – LLC Aramis. And persons under investigation ex-heads of the Unitary Customer Service Maxim Mayorov and Konstantin Vyzhlov are registered as one of co-owners of Aramis. Transbaikal RDC (Road development company) won in an auction on a construction of three apartment houses in Karymskom, Makkaveevo and Shishkino, which cost constituted 73 million rubles. In October, 2016 the Unitary Customer Service unilaterally terminated the contract with the Transbaikal RDC for violation of terms of a construction, however the deposit in the amount of 22 million rubles still had not been returned.
For today all three persons involved in criminal case are taken into custody. They might face 15 years of imprisonment with a penalty in the amount up to the seventyfold amount of a bribe.
All these episodes of the crime imputed to officials occurred during Konstantin Ilkovsky's government. The head of Transbaikal was elected the governor on September 8, 2013. And retired at own will in February, 2016. Yet investigating officers do not have claims to Ilkovsky. However, it is not excluded that within investigation of this criminal case the former governor will have to answer many inconvenient questions.
The founder and president of the Izhevsk football club Gazovik-Gazprom, known today as Zenit-Izhevsk, and the oldest professional football player in Russia has been detained for 48 hours, until the lawyers provide documents confirming that the accused cannot be kept in a pre-trial detention center on medical grounds.