Non-existent renovations. Colonel of Siberian transport police embezzled millions from the state budget
The criminal case against Andrei Marchenko seems pretty ordinary among other corruption scandals involving law enforcement officers: a high-ranked policeman turned out to be a bribe-taker and swindler... But his larceny scheme was unbelievably primitive: the official was so confident that his machinations will not be noticed, that he acted openly, without any precautions.
Andrei Marchenko, the Deputy Head of the Administration for Transport for the Siberian Federal District of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, was arrested in December 2015 in Novosibirsk. The high-ranked police officer was charged with swindling on an especially large scale and bribe-taking. His machinations under both Articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation involved the same organization – the Construction and Assembling Administration #21 (SMU-21) Limited Liability Company.
The criminal story began in 2011, when Andrei Marchenko was appointed to his position. The new Deputy Head has immediately started dealing with economic and maintenance issues of the Siberian transport police, including signing governmental contracts for renovation of facilities belonging to the MIA Administration. In strict accordance with the regulations, tenders were conducted to identify optimal contractors. According to the investigation, Marchenko had taken all efforts to make Andrei Kolokolnikov, Director of the Novosibirsk-based SMU-21, the winner. Their relations prior to these tenders are unknown. But apparently, there must really strong connections between them – because only a very short-sighted person would engage into a multi-million larceny with untrustworthy partners.
According to the investigation, in 2011 the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District had signed three contracts with the SMU-21 Limited Liability Company to renovate facilities of its Police Canine Department. The total amount of the contracts was 6.5 million rubles. Later it was found out that some works in the kennel included into the contracts had been already performer earlier – and there was no need to renovate the facilities again. However, colonel Marchenko, being the supervisor of administrative services, has accepted the works in full. Based on the signed work acceptance act, funds have been transferred to the contractor. The investigation believes that Marchenko gained 1.5 million rubles on this deal.
Using the same scheme, the colonel managed to embezzle 2 more million rubles of budget funds in the following year. The money had been allocated for renovation of the fleet base of the MIA Administration located in the Novosibirsk river harbor. This time the total amount of the governmental contracts was 5.2 million rubles. The estimate included capital renovation of the retaining wall and repairs and maintenance of operational parameters of the fleet base territory. Although the SMU-21 Limited Liability Company did not purchase sand for the construction works and never performed earth compaction, Marchenko has again accepted the works in full and ordered to pay the contractor’s bills.
Photo: Andrei Marchenko in court / sibkray.ru
According to the investigation, the contractor, whom Marchenko had been awarding contracts to, was a grateful person. In return for wins in tenders conducted by the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District, Andrei Kolokolnikov, Head of the SMU-21, has performed some minor renovations in a cottage belonging to the spouse of the police officer. The cost of the renovations, according to various sources, was 60–80 thousand rubles. The investigation has qualified this friendly service as a bribe.
The corruption crime and involvement of Andrei Marchenko into the embezzlement have been uncovered by the Department of Internal Security of the MIA Administration jointly with colleagues from the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation. The analysts have linked the closed attention of the special service to the colonel with upcoming personnel shuffles in the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District. Andrei Marchenko is a protégé of Arkady Ivanov, the Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District since 2010, who earlier used to hold a similar position in the Trans-Baikal Territory. Marchenko used to serve there at the command of Ivanov as well. Five years ago he relocated to Novosibirsk together with his chief and was appointed to a senior position in his new team.
Andrei Alekseevich Marchenko, the Colonel of the Internal Service, has been serving in the police since 1995. Since 1997 served in the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Line Internal Affairs Department of Mogocha Railway Station. In the period of 2001–2004 was the Head of the Internal Security Service in this Department. Then was the Head of the Line Internal Affairs Department of Petrovsky Zavod Railway Station. In 2003 graduated from the Far Eastern Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. Since 2007 was the Chief of Support Services for Transport of the Russian MIA Administration for the Trans-Baikal Territory. In 2011 was appointed the Deputy Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District. Has been awarded with institutional medals of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
In May 2016, Major General of Police Arkady Ivanov was removed by a Presidential Decree from his post of the Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District. The reasons behind his dismissal remain unknown. The only cloud on Ivanov 's reputation in the recent years is the criminal case against his deputy Andrei Marchenko. According to analysts, the arrest of Marchenko was a signal to the general that it is time for him to leave.
Photo: Arkady Ivanov, the former Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District
Sources in the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport state that the embezzlement scheme used by the Colonel Marchenko had been used on the regular basis by other officers of transport police subdivisions in the Siberian Federal District. Should the special services initiate audits in other subdivisions of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District, the reputation of the MIA Administration headed by Ivanov could be damaged much more severely. However, there were no additional audits, which means – according to our sources – that this single episode in the Siberian Federal District was sufficient to demonstrate the nation-wide trend: there are plenty of corrupt officers in the transport police.
The case against Marchenko is only an episode in the recent series of high-profile scandals around the transport police. In December 2015, a service UAZ vehicle of the Transport Police Special Force was attacked in St. Petersburg. It turned out that the police officers were delivering cash to construction sites during the work hours. There were 25 million rubles in the car. Two months later, Vadim Kashirin, the Head of the MIA of Russia for Transport, was dismissed by a Presidential Decree.
Photo: A service vehicle of the Transport Police Special Force was gunned down on December 4, 2015
In March 2016 Igor Kukushkin, the Head of the Line Internal Affairs Department of Vnukovo International Airport, was arrested for bribe-taking. Aleksey Bogdanov, the former Deputy Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Central Federal District, was the intermediary in a swindling scheme created to receive kickbacks from shuttle traders bringing goods to Russia from Turkey. A month later, a criminal case was initiated against Viktor Shefler, the Deputy Head of the Line Internal Affairs Department for Transport of Syktyvkar. The Major of the Internal Service was charged with abuse of official powers – according to the investigation, he used to appropriate bonuses issued to his subordinates.
Photo: Igor Kukushkin, the Head of the Line Internal Affairs Department of Vnukovo International Airport
Immediately upon laying charges, Andrei Marchenko was detained by a court decision. The Transport Prosecutor and the Investigator of Special Cases of the West-Siberian Investigations Directorate for Transport of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) have been insisting on this pretrial restriction because the ex-policeman had a foreign travel passport and connections that could allow him to escape. In addition, the detention prevented Marchenko from communicating with the second suspect in this case and developing a common line of defense.
Following a request from the investigators, the court has also imposed a conservatory attachment on the colonel’s car worth 2 million rubles and 80 thousand rubles in cash seized during searches in the office of the Deputy Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport for the Siberian Federal District.
Currently the case against Andrei Marchenko is being examined in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Novosibirsk. Businessman Kolokolnikov has also been charged in the framework of this case. Marchenko is accused of bribe-taking (part 4 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), while the Head of the SMU-21 – of Bribe-Giving (part 3 of Article 291). In addition, both of them have been charged of Swindling committed on an especially large scale (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The damages sustained due to the machinations of Marchenko are estimated at 3.5 million rubles. It is known that the Kolokolnikov had made a plea deal – but he failed to fulfil the obligations under this agreement, and the Prosecutor’s Office has annulled the deal. The suspects face up to 10 years behind bars and considerable fines.
The court sessions are being held behind closed doors. It is known that currently both Marchenko and Kolokolnikov deny any guilt and claim that the accusations are groundless.
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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.