Mission “The Italian”: how Investigative Committee Generals were saving Shakro Molodoy’s people
RBC familiarized with the materials of the case of taking bribes by the IC generals, including the wiretaps of their conversations. From the case materials, it turns out that Shakro was provided with help at all levels of the IC, and the key role was played by the employees of the central office.
The RBC correspondent familiarized with some documents of the high-profile case against the senior ICR officers, namely the resolutions on the initiation of the criminal case, memos between the departments, the results of operational work, and talked to several people familiar with the investigation.
The most valuable of these materials for the investigation among the operational data are the wiretaps of the ICR generals’ conversations: the Head of the ICR Internal Security Directorate (ISD) Mikhail Maksimenko and his Deputy Alexander Lamonov. According to the FSB, for the money, they and the Deputy Head of the ICR Main Investigation Department (MID) in Moscow Denis Nikandrov, who was arrested on July 19 along with the latter two, promised to release from prison the confidants of the authoritative businessman Zakhar Kalashova (Shakro Molodoy): Andrey Kochuykov (the Italian) and Eduard Romanov (they were arrested in December 2015 after a shootout in the center of Moscow).
What’s on the wiretaps?
From the materials of the wiretaps, it is clear that we are not talking about the phone calls, but a few personal meetings between Lamonov and Maksimenko. During these conversations, the investigators were discussing in order to work out the issue the money must be transferred to the Central District. However, they were complaining that the Investigation Department in the Central District somehow holds back with a solution to the problem.
They also indicated the price - 200 and 500 - but did not specify the currency and the order of the amounts.
The senior ICR officers said that the money was supposed to be given by certain Dima. And that it was coming from Shakro.
Finally, from the context of these discussions, it is clear that Maksimenko and Lamonov knew to whom and how in the end the money should get to. In this regard, the surname Kramarenko sounds.
The purpose of these conversations and the names referred to in them, according to the investigation team, as explained to RBC by to interlocutors close to the investigation, is as follows.
Judging by the context of the conversation and later on the presented charges, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. The FSB investigators, immediately after the arrests of generals, estimated the total amount of bribes at $ 1 million, a source in law enforcement said to RBC. But a few days later, Lamonov’s lawyer Olga Lukmanova denied this information and told the reporters that the materials featured several amounts, the maximum of which is 500 thousand dollars, however, the operatives have not found the money yet, claim all the sources of RBC.
One of the interlocutors of RBC suggested that the investigation still has to prove that the ICR generals of the Security Service were discussing the transfer of bribes and did not try to provoke the colleagues: to provoke the inferior investigators to receive money and then bring them to justice.
Kramarenko, referred to above, according to this version, is the Head of the Investigation Department at the Central Administrative District of Moscow, who could affect the decision on the move of Shakro’s people: their case is investigated in the Central District.
Dima, as suggested by the investigation, is the name of the head of the Private Security Firm Zaslon Dmitry Zvontsev. As it follows from the July resolution to initiate a criminal case under the Article 210 (Shakro’s case), which RBC could get their hands on, this man was a link between the Shakro’s group and the ICR investigators.
RBC failed to establish the fate of Zvontsev. Rosbalt said that he was detained on July 12 together with Shakro. However, the request for his arrest court has not arrived in the Tverskoy court, they told RBC in court. According to Rosbalt, he is under the protection of the FSB as a valuable witness.
From the wiretaps and other materials - as they are interpreted by the FSB officers investigating the ICR generals’ case, the following is clear: it were Maksimenko and Lamonov from the central office of the ICR (i.e. the federal level employees) have played a key role in the mission to free Kochuykov and Romanov. It is to them with an appropriate proposal through an intermediary Shakro addressed, and they controlled the actions of the subordinate investigators from the CAD.
Until now, the prevailing version was different: the role of Lamonov and Maksimenko was an auxiliary one (brought the colleagues together with the clients, provided a cover), the motor of mission to free the Italian was supposedly on a lower level, in the Moscow head office, the management of which includes Nikandrov. So, earlier, Kommersant stated that all the active steps for the release of Shakro’s people came from him: "According to the investigation, after receiving the first tranche of $ 1 million in February, the general Nikandrov began to act immediately in three directions."
The wiretaps data, according to RBC interlocutors, confirmed the FSB version that at the center of decision-making was Maksimenko.
Maksimenko is one of the most influential ICR officers, said the interlocutor of RBC close to the FSB management, which was also confirmed by a source in law enforcement. Forbes openly calls him Bastrykin’s right hand, although, according the departmental hierarchy, heads of departments are at lower levels than deputy heads of the committee.
Indeed, Maksimenko, as the Department Head, was lower in status than Bastrykin’s deputies, but thanks to good relations with the ICR Chairman, he had considerable influence in the department, said RBC's source close to the FSB management.
Maksimenko, 43 years old, fought in the first Chechen campaign, then, served in the Department for Organized Crime Control. After the establishment of the IC, he headed the Office of Physical Protection, and then moved to the post of Head of the Internal Security Department. According to RBC’s interlocutors, Maksimenko had a difficult relationship with the first IC Deputy Chairman Vasily Piskarev. In late April, Piskarev was dismissed by the presidential decree.
However, according to the investigators, the decisions were taken and initiated, not only at the federal and municipal levels. The role of the investigation department of the Central District in the story with the Italian’s release was also active, as it follows from the other materials of the case, which RBC could familiarize with.
Who is Shakro Molodoy?
Zakhar Kalashov (Shakro Young) is a 63-year-old native of Georgia. In Spain, he was recognized as the leader of the Russian mafia which was engaged in money laundering. He spent 8 years in the Spanish prison and was deported to Russia. Here, as it follows from the resolution to initiate the criminal case under the Article 210 (Organization of the Criminal Community), Shakro took the place of the thief in the law Ded Hasan, who was killed in 2013. In July 2016, he was detained on charges of extortion of 8 million rubles from the owner of the cafe called Elements. According to the investigators, the direct participants of the extortion were Shakro’s confidants: Kochuykov and Romanov. Negotiations on this money led to a shootout in which two people died. On July 13, Shakro was arrested by the Tverskoy Court of the capital for a month.
Initially, in December, Kochuykov and Romanov were charged with hooliganism (article 213 of the Criminal Code), the investigation of which was conducted by the capital’s Chief Directorate, and only in the spring the case lowered into the ID in the CAD to the investigator Andrey Bychkov.
As it turns out from the case, with the initiative of the move of their charges to even softer corpus delicti (Article 330 of the Criminal Code - Arbitrariness) in May 2016 was made by the Head of the ID in the CAD Alex Kramarenko: he wrote a memorandum addressed to the management of the capital's CD. RBC was able to familiarize with this document. In it Kramarenko says that finds it "appropriate to move the criminal case to the article 330 of the Criminal Code and finish the preliminary investigation until 15 June."
By law, this crime is not serious and the accused of such a crime cannot be detained for longer than six months. With this change, Kochuykov’s and Romanov’s arrest terms were to expire on June 15 and the accused were to be free.
In the ID, on May 16, a meeting was called on the move of the case, two sources close to the investigation told RBC. On it, according to one of the interlocutors of the agency, the investigator Bychkov was present in person, as well as management of the Investigation Department and the capital of central board. Whether the Deputy Head of the capital's central board Nikandrov was there, RBC failed to learn. That same day, according to one of the RBC’s interlocutors, the charge was changed to the softer corpus delicti.
On June 14, Kochuykov and Romanov were formally released, but they were immediately arrested for extortion and the investigation itself has been transferred to the Central Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry.
The lawyer Ruslan Koblev notes that the Investigative Department in the CAD had enough independent authority to move the charges. But given the complexity of the case and its resonance, without the consent of the central board of the Moscow Central Administrative District, the investigators were unlikely to have decided on it.
Now, as told RBC the source close to the ID in the CAD, Bychkov, Kramarenko, and his Deputy Alexander Hurtsilav resigned from the department of their own accord. In the department the searches were conducted and three former investigators were questioned. But no official charges were brought against them.
The ID in the CAD refused to communicate with RBC. The RBC’s interlocutor close to the management of the ID in the CAD told RBC that the former ID investigators in the near future are unlikely to talk to journalists.
Level of participation
The most important question in this case is to understand, if the version of the investigation to be proved, at what level the criminal authorities could influence the decisions of the investigators, said lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov, because the decision to release Kochuykov and Romanov was made at three levels - the Investigation Department in the Central Administrative District, the Moscow Central Board and the highest level of the central apparatus of the ICR, where Maksimenko and Lamonov worked.
"Here, not only one investigator may be involved, but also the managers, and even the security service. Everything speaks in favor of the version about the stable connection established, as in the Italian Mafia which has taken its tentacles in all directions", said Zherebenkov.
Corruption is so outrageous that, if it is confirmed, it is a precedent in the history of the Investigative Committee, says the Deputy Director of the Russian branch of Transparency International Ilya Shumanov. "The chain of people with the involvement of the Chief of its own security is very serious", says Shumanov.
The ICR and the FSB did not answer the RBC’s requests
"The work of cleansing the ICR and all other law enforcement agencies will be continued", commented the chairman of the ICR Alexander Bastrykin on the matter in an interview to Rossiyskaya Gazeta a week after the arrest of the generals. He noted that this case should not "cast a shadow on the thousands of honest and decent professionals" working in the ICR, as well as serve as a lesson to anyone who may have selfish motives.
All three accused ICR officers declared his innocence in the court. Later, Nikandrov wrote a letter to Bastrykin with a request to take the case to the ICR, noting that the case arose from a conflict between Maksimenko and the FSB M Department management, which is now investigating this story.
According to the source, charges against the FSB officers in the high treason case with classified files are directly related to a series of arrested Russians suspected of cyber crimes all over the world.