Investigators crack Matrosskaya Tishina extortion case

Investigators crack Matrosskaya Tishina extortion case
Former Head of the operational department at the Matrosskaya Tishina jail Mikhail Zakharov

Officers of the pre-trial detention fit in kingpins to other inmates. The gangsters extorted huge contributions from their ordinary cellmates in exchange for relatively comfortable conditions in jail.

Investigators have cracked the high-profile case of extortion in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center. As reported by Rosbalt, all defendants are currently familiarizing with the case. Then the indictment will be sent for approval to the prosecutor's office and the materials will be transferred to the court.

The defendants are ex-Head of operational department at Matrosskaya Tishina Mikhail Zakharov, current employees Valentin Bazaev, Pavel Petran, Anton Devyataev, former employee Anatoly Osmachko, a doctor at a Moscow clinic Fatima Nayfonova, and a kingpin Eldar Vekua. The last two are accused of Extortion (Art. 163 of the Criminal Code), while the rest have also been charged with Exceeding Official Powers (Art. 286 of the Criminal Code).

Investigators believe that Zakharov, together with other members of the detention center, conspired with the kingpin contained in the facility in order to extort money from detainees in economic criminal cases. Threatening victims with unbearable conditions and use of brute force, the defendants demanded to transfer them money in the amount of 10 million rubles into their pre-emptively registered bank cards.

The main victims were those arrested for economic crimes and corruption. Eldar Vekua joined them in the cells, and demanded huge sums of money for relatively comfortable conditions in prison, in addition to the traditional contribution to the 'common fund'. If the ‘client’ did not agree, he was ‘handled’ by the prison staff, who transferred him to overcrowded cells, to hardcore criminals, or to a single cell. Money was divided between the kingpin and the staff.

The investigation revealed that Nayfonova was Vekua’s common-law wife. In contrast to other defendants in the case, she has been charged with only one episode of extortion. She received 30 thousand rubles on her credit, which she used, at the direction of Vekua, to buy some food and medicines for transfer to prison. The remaining money was spent on their common child. "In fact, Nayfonova committed withdrawals from her credit card by order of her child’s father, without questioning the origin of the money. However, the investigation insists that she knew about the illegal origin of the funds," Nayfonova’s lawyer Karen Nersisyan told Rosbalt.

Nevertheless, she has remained in jail with all the other persons involved for the complete duration of the investigation. Her 6-year-old child is in her sister’s care.

Eldar Vekua himself represents the Mengrel criminal clan and is associated with a number of Abkhaz crowned thieves. Eldar, his brother Teimuraz, and a number of their accomplices were engaged in thefts of bags and handbags from cars. Vekua was repeatedly held in Matrosskaya Tishina and became a renowned person both his crowned colleagues and the prison staff. The last time Eldar Vekua was arrested back in 2013 for robbery. He was sentenced only in January 2015, but the court had to postpone sending him to jail. Roughly at the same time, investigators were questioning the owner of the Spetsstroymontazh company Dmitry Komissarov, who cooperated with the investigation and told about extortion in the prison. Then the FSB operatives started to monitor Eldar Vekua and prison employees, tapping their telephones. In May 2015, all persons involved in the case of extortion from prisoners at Matrosskaya Tishina were detained and placed in custody.

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