Perspectives of criminal case against Nikita Belykh
According to the Investigative Committee, the list of victims and the number of bribe amounts in the criminal case against the governor of the Kirov Region in course of time may increase significantly.
There are three episodes with bribes totaling to € 400 thousand in the criminal case against the governor of the Kirov Region Nikita Belykh. However, the Investigative Committee said that the list of victims, as well as the number of bribes that Nikita Belykh has received, over time, can significantly increase. It is possible that "the Belykh case" "will overgrow" with other episodes: in this way the investigations of the criminal cases against the Sakhalin Region Governor Alexander Khoroshavin and the Head of the Republic of Komi Vyacheslav Gayzer developed.
The Kirov Region Governor Nikita Belykh is accused of taking bribes on a large scale (p. 6, Art. 290 of the Criminal Code). The accused was taken into custody. Defence was trying to alter the pre-trial restriction but the court rejected the petition and upheld the decision of the Basmanny District Court in force. Subsequently, Belykh’s lawyer Vadim Prokhorov probably will appeal against the initiation of the criminal case. However, the Prosecutor General's Office has recognized the investigation’s actions in relation to Belykh substantiated.
It should be noted that as far back as 2014, Nikita Belykh was suspected of violating the interests of the state, but then there were no direct evidence of his guilt. The occasion for such charges was the construction of the Forestry management company of the prefabricated timber frame houses production factory. According to the prosecutors, there were serious violations in this project, which the Region's government just ignored. In addition, according to the investigation, Belykh received the bribe in the amount of € 400 thousand for the "aid" to the Forestry’s investment projects.
In 2014, the Kirov Region Prosecutor’s Office during the investigation drew attention to the fact how the investment project "Development of low-rise housing construction and modernization of wood-processing industries on the basis of units "Kirovles" was executed. The project started in 2011 and then it was included in the priority list by the order of Industry and Trade of Russia. The ultimate goal of the project was the construction of a plant for production of prefabricated timber frame houses. To turn these intentions into reality, the Forestry rented 574,4 thousand hectares of forest areas.
Note that the company received these hectares without any competition, no tenders were carried out, and the cost of rent has been reduced almost by half.
Moreover, the project was implemented very late. According to the approved plan, the equipment purchased in 2012 has had to be mounted in early 2013, and at the end of the year, the production of houses had to be arranged. But, as noted by the Prosecutor's Office, nothing was done. But the regional government has done nothing to speed up the process. No prescriptions regarding the necessity to eliminate the violations of the timing of the investment project execution by the Forestry(MC Leskhoz) were directed.
All this resulted in a situation where the Prosecutor’s Office, in May 2014, demanded to recognize such inaction of the authorities unlawful. Only after a claim, the regional government demanded the Forestry to fulfill its contractual obligations. Since the authorities began to perform their duties voluntarily, the prosecutors’ claim was denied.
In addition, the investment project implemented by the Novovyatskiy Lyzhny Combinat (Novovyatskiy Ski Factory) has been audited, but the auditors had no complaints in respect to it.
According the database Kartoteka.ru, from 2010 to 2014, 75% of the MC "Leskhoz", which in 2014 earned 271 million rubles with a net loss of 42 million rubles, belonged to MC "Lestekh" LLC, and this company is fully owned by the Novovyatskiy Ski Factory, another company, appearing in the criminal case against Belykh.
The real owner of the MC "Leskhoz" and NLC is the entrepreneur Albert Laritsky, Governor’s friend.
Laritsky was charged with fraud and he is now in the Lefortovo pretrial detention facility.
According to the investigation, in 2010, NLC, at the time engaged in wood boards manufacturing, entered into a contract with a Swiss company Champion Chemicals AG. The company has promised to supply the factory with equipment for the production of particle board, and for these purposes the entrepreneurs got a loan from Sberbank. Then, the investigators believe, $ 4.6 million has been transferred to an account of Champion Chemicals controlled by Laritsky, and then to his his personal account in the bank Credit Suisse.
The annual report of the NLC shows that the company has suffered damages, so the owner Laritsky was hoping that Belykh could have helped him to get public investments, and therefore tried (successfully) to bribe the official.
Rosfinmonitoring (Federal Financial Monitoring Service) analyzed the data of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers and discovered thousands of offshore companies through which the Russians laundered billions of rubles. Materials on deputies and governors were handed over to law enforcers.
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.