Nikita Belykh finds witness willing to testify he did not take bribe
Nikita Belykh’s attorneys are promising to present a witness who is to confirm the former governor was paid money meant for Kirov.
The defense has a witness who can confirm entrepreneur Yuri Zudkhaymer did not give a bribe to the former Kirov Region governor but sponsored development of the city, according to Nikita Belykh’s attorney Andrey Grokhotov’s announcement made during a hearing in Moscow City Court on June 20.
May we remind you that Nikita Belykh was arrested when taking a 150-thousand-euro bribe in a Moscow restaurant on June 24, 2016, as earlier reported by the CrimeRussia. It was a third of a bribe entrepreneur Yuri Zudkhaymer was to pay him, according to investigators. Zudkhaymer is the current Novovyatsky Lyzhny Kombinat owner. The entrepreneur paid the public official for promoting his interests. The first two thirds of the bribe were handed to him by Albert Laritsky; he is in prison now. Laritsky, being a member of Novovyatsky Lyzhny Kombinat board of directors at the time, handed Nikita Belykh 200 thousand euros and then 50 thousand euros more in May of 2014, according to the police.
However, Belykh was not given a bribe, according to a Belykh’s defense team claim made during trial. The money was meant for the city, they argued. Nikita Belykh had made a similar claim after being arrested. He claimed the money was meant for development of the city. City mayor at the time Vladimir Bykov pointed out Belykh would gather entrepreneurs to share several Kirov development projects with them. There was a need for money to repair the Kirov Saviour's Cathedral, historical part of the city, facades, and monuments, according to the governor. “However, no money was given to the city administration,” Bykov pointed out.
Meanwhile, Andrey Grokhotov’s attorney made an announcement during the June 20 hearing, saying they now have a witness who is going to shed light on Nikita Belykh’s arrests. When saying this he mentioned entrepreneur Aleksey Pikhteev, Belykh’s old acquaintance. He is Nikita Belykh’s City of Perm assets manager, according to the media. Moreover, he is CEO of Gazeta (Vyatsky Nabludatel, ‘Vyatka Observer’).
Pikhteev transferred 50 thousand euros to the Russian Military History Society’s bank account in June of 2016, after Belykh asked him to, according to Grokhotov. The attorney claimed the investigators were presented with documents proving it.
“It may be this money that the investigators believe to be the bribe. In reality, this is money that was transferred for a particular reason. One can check where they are, as well as to find out that they are on the Kirov Military History Society’s bank account,” the attorney emphasized.
Pikhteev confirmed he transferred money to the Society after having been asked to do so by Nikita Belykh.Nikita Belykh’s defense team is trying to argue that the 150 thousand euros, which the public official was arrested for, were meant for the city and were not a bribe, according to the media.
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).