Last case of former Moscow Criminal Police Chief
Viktor Trutnev, ex-Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, has finished his career ‘in style’ – he went to jail. The Moscow Garrison Military Court has recently detained the retired general for the duration of the investigation. The former police commander is accused of mediation in bribery and bribe extortion. Trutnev was turned in by his former accomplices – FSB officers trying to extort 3 million rubles ($52.3 thousand) from the Director of Snegirev Research Technological Institute in exchange for covering up violations identified at the enterprise.
In January 2018, searches have been performed in the house of the 57-year-old retired general located in Bykovka cottage community of the Podolsk district. It is unknown what the operatives of the Military Investigations Directorate in the City of Moscow of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) were looking for, but they have seized the ownership certificate for the land lot and cottage. After one of the questionings in the Main Military Investigations Directorate, the ex-policeman was admitted to Botkin Hospital – and the operatives have interpreted this as “evasion of investigative actions”. Immediately after the discharge from hospital, they have charged the general under part 4 of Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (mediation in bribery effected on an especially large scale) and brought a motion to change his pretrial restrictions from a written pledge not to leave the city to detention. The court has satisfied this motion.
The story that has resulted in the detention of several enforcement officers, including a retired police general, was pretty trivial: the people decided to make some quick money using their official capacity and connections – but they couldn’t predict the reaction of their potential victim. In summer 2016, operatives of the 7th Inter-District Directorate for the City of Moscow of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation had conducted a routine inspection at a leading Russian enterprise producing military detonating fuzes. They have discovered so-called ‘dead souls’ in the staff of Snegirev Research Technological Institute – non-existent people were officially employed with the organization and received salaries. An ultimatum was delivered to Igor Grigoriev, General Director of Snegirev Research Technological Institute Joint Stock Company: either a criminal case is instituted against him for swindling, official forgery, exceeding official powers, and embezzlement, or he pays millions of rubles for each identified violation to the inspectors.
It is necessary to note that Snegirev Research Technological Institute is a part of Rostec Corporation established in late 2007 to promote the development, production, and export of high-tech industrial products – both military and civilian. Colonel general Sergei Chemezov is in charge of the state corporation. Apparently, the greedy inspecting officers haven’t taken into account that it is better not to mess with structures controlled by Chemezov. Instead of keeping silence, Grigoriev has addressed the FSB Directorate of Internal Security. Under the surveillance of its operatives, the requested sum was initially reduced to 3 million rubles ($52.3 thousand) and then, on July 1, 2017, Andrei Kruglov, Deputy Head of the 7th Inter-District FSB Directorate, has been arrested during the handover of the bribe in a McDonald's restaurant.
On the same day, four more FSB officers have been arrested in their offices: operative Roman Nadezhdin subordinate to Kruglov; Denis Semenov, a department head in the 7th Inter-District FSB Directorate; and two officers of his department – Aleksei Vinokurov and Artur Yusufov. Kruglov and Nadezhdin have been charged with bribe-taking on an especially large scale with extortion of a bribe (part 6 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), while the others – with bribe-taking. Nadezhdin and Vinokurov have immediately admitted their guilt; colonel Kruglov joined them in September. Their confessionary statements have surprisingly brought a sixth suspect to this case – Viktor Trutnev having no official ties with the law enforcement structures for almost 7 years already: after the retirement, he had worked as a deputy general director in a metalworking company for a while and then worked as a security chief in a construction company. But apparently, the general managed to retain his connections, authority, and powers – otherwise, why would FSB operatives involve him into their criminal scheme as a mediator? The case against the three ‘repentant’ extortionists has been severed from other defendants and is currently examined by the Moscow Garrison Military Court. The case against Trutnev has been merged with the case against Semenov and Yusufov also charged with mediation in bribe-taking and vehemently denying their guilt.
With regards to the victim Igor Grigoriev, it remains unclear whether his ‘sins’ have been forgiven in exchange for turning in five rogue cops or the ‘dead souls case’ is still under investigation. No information is available in open sources. It is necessary to add that this is the second high-profile scandal involving Snegirev Research Technological Institute in the last ten years. In 2012, the institute management were suspected of complicity in sales of written-off weapons and ammunition of the Ministry of Defense. At that time, managers of Oborontekh Enterprise Closed Joint Stock Company co-owned by Snegirev Institute were detained in the Moscow region. Aleksander Kudryavitsky, General Director of Oborontekh, was a son of Vladimir Kudryavitsky, then-General Director of Snegirev Research Technological Institute. The Oborontekh office and its outlet Orbar, a major store selling various weapons and ammunition, were located on the institute’s territory. Kudryavitsky junior and 5 more people were arrested for illegal sales of discarded weapons. Their main customers were criminal groups and North-Caucasian rebels. According to the investigation, military mines, Kalashnikov submachine guns, pistols, explosives, and various ‘accessories’ had been shipped to Snegirev Research Technological Institute for disposal and then stolen by Oborontekh personnel. No criminal connections between the institute and its subsidiary company were identified at that time.
The defense for Viktor Trutnev is currently trying to appeal the decision to remand him in custody claiming that, being on the lose, their client won’t be able to obstruct the investigation in any way. However, the prosecution believes otherwise – especially taking the police general’s past and his extensive connections in the judicial system. Even though Viktor Trutnev does not have a direct relationship to the law enforcement authorities for seven years already.
57-year old Viktor Trutnev had served in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) since 1982 and advanced through ranks from a patrol inspector in the MIA Administration for the Zhdanovsky District of Moscow to the Criminal Police Chief of the MIA Administration for the Southeastern Administrative District of Moscow. In 1991, graduated from the MIA Distance Education Higher Law School. After the appointment of his former commander Vladimir Pronin the Moscow Police Chief, became the Head of the MIA Administration for the Southeastern Administrative District of Moscow on his recommendation. In 2001, was appointed the Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department. After two years at this position, was appointed the Head of the MIA Administration for the Northeastern Administrative District of Moscow. In 2011, transferred to the Northern Administrative District of Moscow, passed re-qualification, but a few months later was dismissed over a scandal with Rashid Nurgaliev, then-Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. After the termination, worked as a security chief in several commercial structures. In the course of his service in the MIA, was awarded a Makarov pistol, the Order of Courage, Zhukov Medal, Good Conduct Medals of all the three Classes, and other departmental rewards.
Amid numerous panegyrical, obviously sponsored, articles published in the media during his time as a high-ranked Moscow police commander, plenty of negative information about Trutnev had popped-up as well. His ‘unsinkability’ was explained by general’s extensive connections in the top police echelons and government. In the mid-2000s, rumors had circulated about his family ties with Yuri Trutnev, then-Minister of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, – although no direct evidence was identified. It is known though that Viktor Trutnev was a protege of Vladimir Pronin, Head of the MIA General Administration for the City of Moscow in 2001–2009 and then an aide to Vladimir Resinov, First Vice Mayor of Moscow. Trutnev was a member of so-called ‘Kursk clan’ in the Moscow police conditionally led by Pronin. This informal group was named after Kursk – the home city of Pronin. The clan had involved both policemen transferred from Kursk to Moscow and former colleagues of Pronin during his time as the Head of the MIA Administration for the Southeastern Administrative District of Moscow.
Upon becoming the Moscow Police Chief, he has pushed his people to key positions in the MIA General Administration for the City of Moscow. Thanks to his protection, Viktor Trutnev became the Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department in 2001. First of all, the new boss has requested his subordinates to change the dress code – from jeans and T-shorts to suits. During his service in the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, Trutnev has been promoted from a colonel to major general. He had held this high post for two years and resigned amid a high-profile corruption scandal – a police gang has been busted in the legendary police division under his command. The ‘rogue cops’ expression invented by Boris Gryzlov, ex-Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, became common after that case. In summer 2003, a number of high-ranked officers of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department have been arrested: Evgeny Taratorin, Deputy Head of the Operations and Search Division № 2; Yuri Samolkin, Deputy Head of the Department for Combating Illegal Weapons Trafficking; operatives Aleksander Breshchanov, Igor Ostrovsky, and Nikolai Demin; Vadim Vladimirov, division commander in the 5th Department for Combating Illegal Weapons Trafficking; and Vladimir Ganeev, lieutenant general of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM).
Four more officers of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department managed to abscond at that time. According to the investigation, the police gang had been established back in 1997. The criminal group had orchestrated bandit attacks on commercial structures and then offered their owners to ‘settle’ the issue for a reward. The officers had planted weapons and drugs and instituted criminal cases against those refusing to pay them. Therefore, concurrently with personal enrichment, they had demonstrated high crime solvency rates. In total, some $5 million have been seized during the searches and arrests of the gang members, including $3 millions kept in safety deposit boxes rented by them. Numerous firearms and gas weapons were seized as well. According to the ‘black ledger’ of the gang found by the investigators, they have ‘earned’ some $10 million in a few years.
In the course of the investigation, Interpol has notified the Russian MIA that Vladimir Ganeev owns a mansion in the Spanish town of Marbella – his villa is located 100 m from the Mediterranean cost, next door to the estates of Antonio Banderas, Sean Connery, and architect Zurab Tsereteli. It became known that Ganeev and his accomplices had accounts in Swiss, Italian, Spanish, and Cypriot banks. General Ganeev, leader of the criminal police group, had claimed that he controls “a brigade of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department consisting of 70 people”. A half of them were current police servicemen, while the other half – retired officers. According to Ganeev, this was “the strongest brigade in Moscow; if necessary, the guys would come and pin down”. Three years later, the Moscow Military District Court had found all the detained defendants guilty of membership in a criminal organization and sentenced them to 15 to 20 years in a maximum security penal colony. However, immediately after the busting of the police gang, Viktor Trutnev, Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, said on air in an interview to NTV Channel: “I don’t believe in the guilt of Evgeny Taratorin because he always was in my sight”.
He has also noted that the smear campaign in relation to this case had a sole purpose: compromise Vladimir Pronin and eliminate him from the list of candidates for Minister of Internal Affairs. The open opposition to Boris Gryzlov, then-Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Konstantin Romodanovsky, Head of the MIA General Administration of Internal Security, has cost Trutnev his post – in 2004 he was removed from office and taken off the payroll. For almost six months, the general was in limbo. Then his patron Pronin has found him a job in the Public Security Police of the Southeastern Administrative District of Moscow. Only after the appointment of Rashid Nurgaliev the Minister of Internal Affairs, Vladimir Pronin managed to return his protege to the top echelon and make him the Head of the MIA Administration for the Northeastern Administrative District of Moscow. To do so, Pronin reportedly had to reshuffle almost all the police chiefs of administrative districts.
During the Trutnev’s service in the Northeastern Administrative District of Moscow, Corrupcia.net web portal had repeatedly received complaints from his subordinates obliged to make him expensive gifts. For instance, in 2008, operatives of the MIA Department for Combating Organized Crime have presented the general a new foreign-made water scooter and an SUV with a trailer to transport is. According to the author of the complaint, many officers of the MIA Administration have voluntarily resigned “being unable to tolerate so cynical corruption appetites of their commander”. The policemen considered any complaints against the high-ranked bribe-taker in uniform a waste of time – especially taking his powerful patrons.
Officers of the MIA Administration for the Northern Administrative District of Moscow – where Viktor Trutnev was transferred in summer 2011 – were unhappy with their commander as well. First of all, the general has requested the operatives to improve the performance parameters, including the number of identified and solved crimes, and ordered the Department of Internal Security to audit operative subdivisions and district divisions in the administrative district. He has also deprived 60 officers of the allowance in the amount of 11 thousand rubles ($191), thus, causing an outrage among the servicemen. Therefore, a ridiculous incident that has occurred on September 1, 2011 and ruined the career of Trutnev in the MIA caused just a malicious joy among many of his subordinates.
On that day, Minister of Internal Affairs Rashid Nurgaliev, accompanied by Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Head of the MIA General Administration for the City of Moscow, has visited the MIA Academy of Management located in the Northern Administrative District. In front of the academy, the delegation has stumbled upon a ‘welcome address’ written on the pavement in big white letters: “Nurgaliev is a jerk”. The author of this ‘greeting’ was never found, but because of him, Viktor Trutnev became the first in the series of high-ranked police commanders dismissed after the re-qualification. It is necessary to add that Trutnev has passed the re-qualification with difficulties – unlike Vladimir Pronin, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the new Head of the MIA General Administration for the City of Moscow, hadn’t favored Trutnev and waited for a formal reason to get rid of the person representing a different team. But for some time, the general had managed to retain the post using his connections in the federal government. After the scolding given to Trutnev by the supreme command on September 1, the Head of the MIA Administration for the Northern Administrative District, has reportedly removed the doorplate with his name from the door of his office, then was admitted to hospital with a stroke, and then left on vacation. Ultimately, Trutnev was terminated – despite his age allowing the general to serve a few more years.
After the dismissal, the name of Viktor Trutnev wasn’t mentioned in the media for more than seven years. This is not surprising – retired police commanders rarely join politics or governmental service; they prefer to hold cushy jobs in major commercial structures and become deputy general directors for economic security, chiefs of security service, etc. Trutnev wasn’t an exception. But then his name has hit the headlines again in relation to corruption scandals involving FSB operatives.
How have the corrupt FSB officers and retired MIA general found each other? What benefits were derived from their 'collaboration'? These and other questions are likely to be answered closer to the trial. So far, this criminal case remains classified due to the special status of the suspects.