Official bribed through fridge: case comes to trial
The Head of the city of Inta is accused of taking bribes totaling 30 million rubles that were delivered to him through a refrigerator in his office.
Pavel Smirnov, the Mayor of Inta in Komi Republic has been brought to court with allegations under the articles Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code) and Obstruction of Legal Business or Other Activity (part 2, Art. 169 of the Criminal Code), according to the Kommersant.
According to investigators, Smirnov would regularly receive kickback money from local businesses in return for state contracts. In November 2015, MIA and FSB officers conducted an operation to detain the official red-handed. The officers found that the Mayor intended to assist a local businessman in obtaining municipal contracts for courtyard development as well as acceptance of all works performed. When the Monolit’s Deputy CEO Sergey Tuchkovsky brought over 1 million rubles to Smirnov as a thank you gift, the official asked him to put the money in the freezer of an office refrigerator. As soon as the Inta Mayor opened it to count the money, law enforcement officers raided. He started to assure them that he was surprised to find money in the fridge as well and just wanted to see how much, however, after he saw the video taken with a hidden camera installed in his office the arrested altered his testimony. Later, while in prison, he explained that the money he received was intended for a good cause: gifts for children, funding of city holidays etc.
The Komi’s Investigative Committee said Smirnov had similar relations with other organizations mainly dealing in housing sector. In particular, he is known to have obtained at least 3 million rubles from the CEO of a city management company Ivan Zavadsky. He got over 7 millions from another entrepreneur, Andrey Makarov. In total, between 2012 and 2015 Smirnov received more than 30 million rubles. Now Smirnov’s bank accounts having over 26 million rubles are under arrest.
Earlier, Smirnov had been granted amnesty regarding the case of defamation. He would spread knowingly false information discrediting the Inta’s ex-Deputy Vasily Kiriyenko. The charges were provoked by leaflets distributed allegedly on his behalf in March 2015 in the village of Verkhnyaya Inta, inviting to a lecture on same-sex marriages. Vasily Kiriyenko considered it slander and filed a complaint with the police. The arrested promoters pointed at the Deputy, who in turn said the Mayor had ordered that.
Former member of the Federation Council believes that this once again points to numerous violations and falsification of evidence during the investigation of his criminal case on charges of bribe-taking in the amount of 27.5 million rubles ($457 thousand).