Irkutsk Transport Prosecutor ‘Karo’ to drag down other accomplices with him? 

Irkutsk Transport Prosecutor ‘Karo’ to drag down other accomplices with him?
: Karapet Gevorkyan, nicknamed ‘Karo’ in the Prosecutor’s Office for Transport, was the leader of a criminal group Photo: The CrimeRussia

Arrests of high-ranked transport police officers continue in the Irkutsk region. The boss of the criminal community of bribe-takers – Karapet ‘Karo’ Gevorkyan, the former First Deputy Prosecutor for Transport in Irkutsk – has been detained. A CrimeRussia source believes that new episodes and suspects are to appear in this criminal case soon.⁠

The court has detained Karapet Gevorkyan, former First Deputy Prosecutor for Transport of Irkutsk. The local media have reported his arrest on February 28, 2017. Two days later, on March 2, the East-Siberian Investigations Directorate for Transport of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) has confirmed this information. Counselor of justice Gevorkyan was arrested by the Directorateof the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation in the Irkutsk Region on suspicion of complicity in receiving a multimillion bribe by transport police officers.

The name of Karapet Gevorkyan has popped-up shortly after the arrests of two high-ranked transport policemen – Aleksey Rakultsev, the Deputy Head of the East-Siberian Line Administration for Transport of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, and Grigory Prokofiev, the Head of the Line MIA Department for Irkutsk Passenger Railway Terminal. The colleagues of Gevorkyan have been detained in the beginning of February 2017 by the FSB, Investigations Directorate of the ICR, and Administration of Internal Security of the General MIA Administration for Transport. Aleksey Rakultsev has been arrested first on February 3 2017 during the handover of the bribe.

Video: Arrest of high-ranked police officer in Irkutsk

According to the investigation, Rakultsev and Prokofiev have received 20 million rubles from the head of an Irkutsk-based oil transportation company. In exchange for that sum, the policemen had promised to ensure unhindered rail transportation of cargo and no issues with the watchdog authorities. The businessman has paid the money through an intermediary for illegal transportation of oil products from the city of Angarsk of the Irkutsk region.

The court has remanded the both suspects in custody. A criminal case has been initiated under part 6 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Bribe-Taking by a functionary for unlawful actions (inaction) by a group of persons by previous concert on an especially large scale). The maximum punishment under this Article is deprivation of liberty for a term of up to 15 years. The case is investigated by the East-Siberian Investigations Directorate for Transport of the ICR.

Grigory Prokofiev and Aleksey Rakultsev

Grigory Prokofiev and Aleksey Rakultsev

According to the CrimeRussia source, Karapet Gevorkyan was nicknamed ‘Karo’ in the Prosecutor’s Office for Transport. He had close ties with the arrested colleagues. Furthermore, according to the investigation, Gevorkyan was the leader of the criminal group. Immediately after the arrest of Rakultsev and Prokofiev, Gevorkyan has hastily resigned from the Prosecutor’s Office for Transport: on February 26, 2017 he has retired due to the attainment of the maximum service age of 65 years. Prosecutor for Transport of Irkutsk Lev Chikichev, the direct superior of Gevorkyan, has endorsed his resignation letter as soon as it was submitted: Chikichev was already aware that ‘Karo’ is about to share the fate of his detained colleagues and rushed to get rid of the discredited officer.

After the resignation, Gevorkyan has promptly checked into a hospital in a hope to buy some time. But all the precautions were in vain – after the arrest, both Rakultsev and Prokofiev started actively collaborating with the investigation and turned the whole criminal community in. The investigation against ‘Karo’ continued and a decision has been made to detain him. As a result, Gevorkyan has become a suspect in the criminal case originally initiated against his detained colleagues.

Gevorkyan, who had started his career in the transport militia many years ago, has created a multi-step system to collect ‘levies’ from local businessmen. Transport policemen had held negotiations with interested businessmen, received remuneration for ‘services’ from them, and then handed over a major portion of the bribes to Gevorkyan. In return, ‘Karo’ had closed his eyes to numerous violations of oil transportation regulations and ensured the absence of prosecutor’s checks. The above-mentioned bribe in the amount of 20 million rubles – that has led to the initiation of the criminal case – also had to end up in his pockets. Aleksey Rakultsev, arrested during the receipt of the bribe, was supposed to deliver the money to Gevorkyan.

The CrimeRussia source believes that the corruption scheme created by Gevorkyan had been running smoothly for years. ‘Karo’ was one of the most senior and experienced officers in the Prosecutor’s Office for Transport. He has come to the watchdog authority from the transport militia – where he had been working since the Soviet period. Gevorkyan has started a career in the East-Siberian Prosecutor’s Office for Transport in the beginning of the 1990s; at that time, Yuri Chaika, the future Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, was in charge of the agency. Diplomacy, mild personality, and willingness to settle all possible conflicts made it possible for ‘Karo’ to retain his post under several bosses – Aleksander Pleshivtsev, Valery Andriyanov, Vladimir Kazanov, and Gennady Mikhailov. Gevorkyan managed to survive difficult times in 2001 – when all subdivisions of the East-Siberian Prosecutor’s Office for Transport had been transferred under the jurisdiction of local prosecutors, while the Prosecutor’s Office for Transport was, in fact, disbanded.

The career growth of Gevorkyan has resumed after the appointment of Yuri Chaika the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. On the next day after taking the office, Chaika decided to restore the East-Siberian Prosecutor’s Office for Transport. In 2007, the Prosecutor General has appointed Anatoly Merzlyakov, Prosecutor of the Irkutsk Region and his former deputy, who had inherited this post from Chaika after his transfer to Moscow, the head of the re-established watchdog agency.

Anatoly Merzlyakov

Anatoly Merzlyakov, the ex-Head of the East-Siberian Prosecutor’s Office for Transport

Merzlyakov, in turn, haven’t forgotten about experienced, diplomatic, and cautious Gevorkyan. However, ‘Karo’ did not receive the post of the Irkutsk Prosecutor for Transport – Merzlyakov has appointed his former deputy Andrei Sivokin to this position.

In 2010, Sivokin has been appointed the East-Siberian Deputy Prosecutor for Transport. But Gevorkyan did not get the vacant chair of the Irkutsk Prosecutor for Transport again – Lev Chikichev, almost 30 years younger than Gevorkyan and skilled in modern political realities, has been chosen to perform representative functions, while the role of Gevorkyan was to ensure the ‘continuity’ in the work of the watchdog authority.

Andrei Sivokin

Andrei Sivokin, former East-Siberian Deputy Prosecutor for Transport

The investigators anticipate Gevorkyan to be as talkative as his accomplices. The CrimeRussia source in the regional enforcement structures supposes that confessions of the former First Deputy Prosecutor for Transport of Irkutsk might trigger further arrests in law enforcement and watchdog authorities. Not only new suspects, but also new episodes are expected to appear in this criminal case – the investigation believes that there were plenty of such bribes, not the only one.

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