New Maksimenko’s case: Watch seized at thieves’ meeting and intradepartmental wars
With one high-profile case the Investigative Committee (ICR) officer wanted to help fellow policemen get rid of Roman Polozaev, the disliked chief of the ‘thief’ department of the MIA in St. Petersburg, and simultaneously remove Alexander Klaus, the Head of the Leningrad ICR.
The new charge of bribery of Colonel Mikhail Maksimenko, the head of the department for interdepartmental cooperation and internal security of the ICR, stems from the intra-departmental war and the desire to overthrow General Alexander Klaus, the head of the St. Petersburg Investigative Committee.
As it became known on the eve, Maksimenko is charged with receiving about 1 million rubles ($17.3 thousand) from the legendary raider of St. Petersburg Badri Shengelia. Allegedly, for a bribe the ‘authoritative’ businessman asked the officer of the SK to initiate criminal prosecution of the MIA officers that had seized an elite Hublot watch from him during the search and did not return it.
Fontanka writes that the Hublot watch was seized from Shengelia by law enforcers after the dispersal of the thieves' gathering in November 2014. About 30 people convened at Nevskaya Zhemchuzhina restaurant on Obukhovskaya Oborona Prospect. Among them was thief in law Malkhaz Kotua (Makho Ochamchirsky).
Among other issues the criminal was interested in purchasing the Hublot watch worth 1.5 million rubles ($26 thousand). It was Badri Shengelia, invited to the meeting personally by the thief in law, who offered him to purchase the watch. At that moment operatives of the ‘thief’ department of the MIA of St. Petersburg unexpectedly arrived at the ‘meeting’. All participants in the meeting were rounded up and taken to the department, where they were photographed and searched. After that the detainees were dismissed, however after the detention Shengelia’s Hublot watch, which for some reason the law enforcers decided to withdraw, disappeared. Badri wrote a claim on the theft to the Investigative Committee of St. Petersburg.
Meanwhile, after learning about the high-profile case, the West department of the MIA decided to take advantage of the situation and help ‘sink’ Colonel Roman Polozaev, the head of the ‘thief’ department, with whom the West had long had conflicts because of spheres of influence. The gist is that the department of Polozaev was a kind of monopolist on the ‘thief’ glade and did not allow other divisions to do business. The most influential at that time operative of the West, Lieutenant Colonel Fedosov rushed to bug Colonel Polozaev in search of compromising materials. The operative really did find something to cling to and blame for the head of the ‘thief’ department for abuse of or exceeding official authority. Evidence compromising Polozaev fell on the table of chief of the ICR in St. Petersburg Alexander Klaus, but he found the case insignificant and refused to prosecute. Then Fedosov and his chief – Colonel Timchenko decided to cut corners. They turned to their old friend – Head of the ICR Bureau of Internal Affairs Mikhail Maksimenko, who was a member of Alexander Bastrykin’s immediate circle.
Maksimenko did not refuse his friends, and soon met with Badri Shengelia, whom he had also known for a long time. Sources have repeatedly called the officer of the ICR the patron of the raider. Probably, it was then that Shengelia passed a bribe of roughly 1 million rubles ($17.3 thousand) to the investigator. According to Fotanka, for Maksimenko it was also beneficial to put Roman Polozaev behind bars. He hoped that for freedom the colonel would be ready to provide some compromising material on General Klaus, with whom Polozaev discussed most of the operations of the ‘thief’ department. Thus, the ICR initiated a criminal case against the colonel, moreover, in 2015 a petition was already prepared for the arrest of Polozaev.
But by this time Lubyanka was already preparing for an offensive against Maksimenko, so the case against the colonel of the St. Petersburg department of the MIA was annulled. Now the materials were collected on the very officer of the SK, who was arrested in July 2016 in the case of bribe-taking in the amount of $1 million from one of the most influential thieves in law – Zakhar Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy).
After the arrest of Maksimenko the State Security and the Investigative Committee of St. Petersburg embarked upon the West department of the MIA Bureau of Internal Affairs. In December 2016 the head of the department, Colonel Yury Timchenko was arrested in the case of bribe-taking in connection with the investigation of a criminal case involving tax violations of Delovye Linii company. In February Lieutenant-Colonel Vitaly Fedosov was detained. He was charged with swindling. According to the investigators, the lieutenant-colonel imitated payments to agents for denunciations, money was allocated from the Ministry of Internal Affairs fund. Notably, in April Fedosov was released under house arrest. According to sources, such mitigation was the result of his testimony against Maksimenko.
It is possible that the crime with the bribe from Shengelia will be the first and the most modest Petersburg episode in the case of the officer of the ICR, since Maksimenko (incidentally, a native of Leningrad) was involved in very grave cases in the northern capital.