Leonid Markelov on his arrest: "Investigation wants a dead body"
According to the former head of Mari El, arrested on suspicion of bribe-taking, the investigation wants to "finish him off" with this case. Markelov believes that he will not survive in jail.
Leonid Markelov, arrested by the Basmanny Court for 2 months, does not plead guilty, although he does not deny that he used to lobby for the interests of the enterprise, of receiving a bribe from the owner of which he is suspected, Kommersant reports.
According to the investigation, Markelov had received promissory notes for 235 million rubles (4.1 million dollars) as a kick-back, and then cashed them. Acting in the interests of former founder of Akashevskaya Ptitsefabrika OJSC (Akashevskaya Poultry Farm) Nikolay Krivash, the ex-head of the republic achieved the allocation of 2 billion rubles to the company in 2014 and 1 billion more in 2016.
The kick-back was disguised as a simulated transaction, the investigators believe. Nikolay Krivash paid this amount to Telekompaniya 12-y region LLC (TV channel), which gained control over Teplichnoe OJSC. However, according to the investigation, it was Markelov himself who owned both Teplichnoe OJSC and the TV channel through proxies and relatives.
Leonid Markelov fundamentally disagrees with the investigation's conclusions. The defendant claims that the agreement with Teplichnoe OJSC was a real one, and that the subsidies for Akashevskaya Poultry Farm were a step to create a powerful agricultural holding in the region, which Teplichnoe would later join. However, the Arbitration Court of Mari El is currently considering a lawsuit for Teplichnoe OJSC's bankruptcy; supervision procedure has introduced at the enterprise. According to the investigation, Nikolay Krivash, who had given bribe to Markelov, has sold Akashevskaya Poultry Farm and left Russia.
Markelov said that he is ready to testify, but “not the way the investigation expects me to.” In particular, he confirmed that he had lobbied the interests of Akashevskaya Poultry Farm, but he also attracted subsidies and investments for the republic’s other enterprises that experienced financial difficulties. He revealed their total amount – 140 billion rubles (2.48 billion dollars). According to Kommersant, the investigation is already looking for possible bribers among them.
Leonid Markelov in Basmanny Court
"It seems that they want to finish me off with this case. Let them do it; not for this transaction, but for something else," Markelov said at the court session.
In addition, the ex-head of Mari-El also said that during the search in his house, operatives allegedly used explosives to open safes, thus damaging the weapons contained in them. According to the defendant, his blood pressure increased to the stress, and the FSB doctor had to make him an injection.
Let us recall that the criminal case against Leonid Markelov was initiated on April 12, and the following day, the ex-head of Mari El was detained in his house in Yoshkar-Ola. Yesterday, he was charged with bribe-taking on an especially large scale (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Russian Criminal Code), after which he was escorted to Moscow for election of a preventive measure and conduct of further investigative measures. In case of a guilty plea, Leonid Markelov and his accomplices may face up to 15 years in prison and fines of half a billion rubles.
When a preventive measure against Markelov was being elected, the defense of the ex-governor applied for house arrest, offering a bail of 3 to 5 million rubles. However, the court placed the former head of Mari El in jail until June 12. Moreover, the court arrested former director of Telekompaniya 12-y region LLC Natalya Kozhanova on charges of mediation in transferring the bribe.
Meanwhile, Markelov himself believes that he would not bear the imprisonment. According to the defendant, he takes 15 medications daily because of numerous diseases, and it is most likely he “would be lying down” after the court. "It seems that they want me dead," he noted.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).