Mayor of Kopeysk is arrested for 2 months for helping businessmen
The Kopeysk Administration Head is arrested for 2 months on suspicion of bribery amounting to 2 million rubles. The accused does not admit his guilt and is sure that he acted in accordance with the law.
The Central District Court of Chelyabinsk arrested the Kopeysk Administration Head of the Chelyabinsk Region Vyacheslav Istomin for two months on suspicion of taking bribes in the amount of not less than 2 million rubles, says the press service of the ICR Investigative Directorate in the Chelyabinsk Region.
According to the investigation, the official took bribes from businessmen in return for offering them land. Istomin himself is confident that he distributed land in order to improve the business climate in the city, and does not admit his guilt.
The court granted the investigators’ request on the official’s arrest, and the Mayor will remain in custody until 25th of September. The investigation was able to convince the judge that the accused may escape, including to other countries the Mayor has repeatedly visited: in Istomin’s passport, according to the investigator, there are seals on the entrances into France and Hungary in 2016. Moreover, according to the investigators, the defendant has connection in the executive authorities, can destroy the evidence (minutes of meetings, orders, instructions), and is also able to lean on witnesses in the case, some of whom are his immediate subordinates, according to Kommersant.
At the trial, the investigator said that Istomin’s criminal activities lasted for more than three years. During the operative-investigative measures, it was revealed that the Head of Kopeisk in the period from December 2011 to December 31, 2014, received bribes in the form of money or other property from the co-owner of Sotsialnoye Pitaniye (Social Nutrition) LLC Andrey Priba, and from December 3, 2012 to December 31, 2014 year - through the intermediary Mikhail Cherkevich. In gratitude for this, Istomin signed the documents, necessary for the conclusion of land lease agreement with TD Alanta LLC, which is managed by the same Cherkevich.
Andrey Prib, who received a suspended sentence of three and a half years for swindling in July 2016 , testified against the mayor. Moreover, Prib said he was afraid of 48-year-old Istomin’s revenge, because the mayor has connections in the criminal world.
The judge refused to mitigate the sentence and change the pre-trial restriction to the house arrest and bail in the amount of 1 million rubles, as requested by the defense, despite the Mayor’s many achievements, two young children and tachycardia.
Istomin refuted the investigator’s about his possible escape and announced his readiness to cooperate with the investigation. In addition, the Mayor pointed out that all his actions were lawful.
It is to be recalled that Istomin heads the Administration of urban districts of the Chelyabinsk Region, where among other issues the problem of creating a favorable business environment is considered as well. The Mayor says that he always acted within the law and the interests of the applicant, not paying attention to his status.
During the trial on the pre-trial restrictions, Istomin was calm. In court, his wife and the Deputy of the Chelyabinsk City Duma Mikhail Dedovich, who said that he had come to court "for no particular reason", waited for him.
It is to be recalled that, Istomin was detained on 25th of July on suspicion of swindling.
In the Kopeysk mayor’s income declarations everything is more than transparent. Over the past year, he earned a little more than 1 million 320 thousand rubles. Istomin owns six apartments ranging from 45 to 119 square meters, a garage and non-residential premises of an area of 13 square meters. The official's wife, according to the declaration, did not earn anything. One of apartments and garage are registered on her.
The sensational criminal case prompted the Chelyabinsk Region officials to talk about hypothetical purge of the ranks. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that over the past two months, the investigators had already become interested in the details of the work of the Deputy Mayor Valery Prihodkin and the Head of the Committee on Municipal Property Management and Land Relations Dmitry Kurilkin, whom as well as Istomin, are suspected of swindling related to the sale of municipal property.
Moreover, political analysts believe that this trend will continue until the presidential election of 2018, and some of them even predict, in which city the ICR may intervene in the activities of municipal officials next time. The Chelyabinsk political analysts have called Istomin’s case a political bomb.
Rosfinmonitoring (Federal Financial Monitoring Service) analyzed the data of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers and discovered thousands of offshore companies through which the Russians laundered billions of rubles. Materials on deputies and governors were handed over to law enforcers.
A spokesperson of the Prosecutor's office said that the ECHR had not studied all the materials of the criminal case, so they were offered not to overturn the verdict, but to send the case for a new review in court.