Police, FSB, and Prosecution worked for Zakonovskie gang. Sweeping purge of Samara law enforcement structures continues
The Directorate for the Samara Region of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation continues, jointly with Moscow colleagues, a sweeping purge of regional law enforcement structures. An operative of the Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption for the City of Togliatti of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation and the police chief of the Kuibyshevsky district of Samara have recently joined the long list of suspects in this large-scale probe. The officers are suspected of bribe-taking. The Center “E” of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region is also in trouble: two its operatives are suspected of corruption and ties with legendary Zakonovskie organized criminal group. Who is next to be dismissed in disgrace and criminally charged?
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, operatives of the Regional FSB Directorate have detained two Samara policemen. Andrei Reshetov, Senior Operative of the OViRP for the Avtozavodsky District of the MIA Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption for the City of Togliatti, is suspected of bribe-taking. The officer has accepted money from a local resident for returning financial documentation of two commercial companies earlier seized by the police. According to the Press Service of the FSB Directorate for the Samara Region, Reshetov received 300 thousand rubles ($4.4 thousand). Alexander Khinshtein, Advisor to the Director of the National Guard of Russia, provided a different amount – 700 thousand rubles ($10.3 thousand). Reshetov claims that he is not that money-minded, and a portion of the bribe was intended for his superiors. Apparently, the operative is going to turn in other corrupt officers responsible for combating the corruption and economic crimes in the region.
On the same day, FSB operatives detained Ivan Neshchadimov, Deputy Head of the Police Station № 7 of the Kuibyshevsky District of Samara, red-handed during the receipt of 200 thousand rubles ($3 thousand) from a local resident. In exchange for this sum, the officer was supposed to extend ‘patronage’ to some limited liability company, including provision of conditions for unrestricted sand extraction and transportation in the Kuibyshevsky district.
Together joined the service, together worked for a gang
Vadim Neshchadimov, brother of detained Ivan Neshchadimov, is the Head of the Center for Combating Extremism of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region. In early 2018, Deputy of the State Duma Andrei Lugovoi has accused him of ties with Zakonovskie organized criminal group. Neshchadimov and Oleg Trukhman, ex-Head of the Investigations Department in the Promyshlenny District of the Investigations Directorate in the Samara Region of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR), could cover up crimes committed by the gang, including framing up cases against innocent people.
According to sources, Vadim Neshchadimov used to remove members of the organized criminal group from the operative register – criminal cases instituted against them were either suspended or closed under various pretexts.
“Neshchadimov handled a criminal case against three journalists that were convicted on very questionable charges pertaining to publications about Zakonovskie organized criminal group,” – Lugovoi notes. He also claims that Oleg Trukhman and Vadim Neshchadimov have purposively concealed the voluntary surrender of the killer of Natalia Soldatova murdered in the course of illegal distribution of assets. In his petition submitted to Yuri Chaika, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, the Deputy also states that members of Zakonovskie gang, who had attacked Mr. Il’in, an official at the Samara Mayor’s Office, have escaped unpunished, while dummy persons were convicted for this assault instead of them.
Andrei Lugovoi, Deputy of the State Duma
The both officers still continue their service in the law enforcement structures. Oleg Trukhman has been demoted to a forensic specialist, while Neshchadimov remains the Head of the Center for Combating Extremism of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region.
Center “E” and Zakonovskie gang
In fact, Vadim Neshchadimov may be criminally charged pretty soon. In early August 2018, two his subordinates – Aleksander Pertsev and Andrei Illarionov, operatives of the Center for Combating Extremism of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region, – have been accused of ties with the organized criminal group. The policemen have attracted the attention of the FSB after a scandal at one of the TogliattiAzot enterprises: a sports bag with an RPG-18 (Mukha (Fly)) grenade launcher, ammunitions, and extremist literature was discovered on the territory of Togliatti-based MSA Stroy company. Magomed Shishkhanov, head of the company, claims that he has been framed up. Then it became known that Oleg Antoshin, Head of the TogliattiAzot Security Service, and his deputy Aleksei Alekseev, had helped members of Zakonovskie organized criminal group to enter the restricted territory where MSA Stroy is located.
The following persons have been charged in the framework of this case so far: Oleg Antoshin; his deputy Aleksei Alekseev; Sergei Sokolov, former security chief of Boris Berezovsky; and Ruslan Mil’chenko, Head of Analytics and Business Information Center.
The Center “E” officers – supposed accomplices of the suspects – were neither arrested nor fired, but just demoted. Pertsev became a Criminal Investigator at the Operations and Search Division for State Protection of the MIA General Administration for the Samara Region, while Illarionov became a Criminal Investigation at the MIA Department for the Krasnoyarsky District of the Samara Region. The internal audit hasn’t identified any violations in their actions yet.
National Guard, FSB, and Prosecution served an organized criminal group
Sources link the high-profile exposures of corruption crimes committed by law enforcement officers in the Samara region with the appointment of Vladimir Tataurov the Head of the FSB Directorate for the Samara Region in summer 2015 and assignment of Konstantin Bukreev to the post of the Prosecutor of the Samara Region in fall 2016.
During this period, Andrei Pavlov, Prosecutor of the Bezenchuksky District of the Samara Region, was arrested for taking a bribe in the amount of 750 thousand rubles ($11.1 thousand) from members of Zakonovskie gang. In April 2018, two FSB officers were arrested in Samara: Sergei Gudovanny, Deputy Head of the Economic Security Service, and Pavel Cheremshantsev, Head of Department “M” of the FSB Directorate for the Samara Region. They are also suspected of ties with the organized criminal group. 80 million rubles ($1.2 million) have been found in the apartment of Gudovanny.
Sergei Gudovanny and Pavel Cheremshantsev after the arrest
On July 25, 2018, Dmitry Sazonov, Deputy National Guard Commander in the Samara Region (and son of the Speaker of the Samara Regional Duma) has been detained for ties with Zakonovskie gang. According to operative information, for a long period of time, he had received ‘rewards’ from members of the organized criminal group for ‘patronage’.
Zakonovskie gang on the verge of extinction
Zakonovskie organized criminal group, also known as Barygi (Speculators), was created by criminal ‘authority’ Aleksander Zakonov almost 20 years ago, in the 1990s. The bandits had started with trivial racketeering. Then the business interests of the gang have expanded to markets, trade booth chains, parking lots, and boating stations. The criminal group had controlled Kirovsky flea market, the largest in the Samara region. By the end of the 2000s, Zakonovskie had a diversified business empire. According to some information, Solntsevskie organized criminal group had supervised the gang. In 2004, Zakonov was killed. According to the official version, this happened during a card game. After the death of Zakonov, Aleksei Ryzhov, his former bodyguard and former special forces trooper of the General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, became the gang leader. In summer 2016, Ryzhov died from pancreas necrosis. Then Sergei Gafurov has taken charge of the organized criminal group.
Arrests of members of Zakonovskie gang started in August 2017. At that time, a criminal case has been instituted against Sergei Gafurov (Gafur) for masterminding the murder of his opponent and former gang member Vladimir Izumrudov.
Concurrently, operatives of the FSB Directorate for the Samara Region have detained two other active members of the organized criminal group – Denis Kovegin and Radik Khairetdinov – charged with the murder of ex-policeman Vadim Vinokurov committed in May 2014 and remaining unsolved for a long time. In December 2017, the court convicted Kovegin to 9 years behind bars and Khairetdinov – to 1.5 year with suspended execution of the sentence.
On July 26, the leader of Zakonovskie organized criminal group has been sentenced to 3 years in a penal colony for complicity in and incitement to the intentional infliction of a grave injury to lawyer Tamazi Kerimov and illegal acquisition and storage of firearms and explosive devices. Tamazi Kerimov was brutally beaten in April 2016 for legal representation of a businessman who could testify against Zakonovskie gang.
The law enforcement authorities continue busting gang’s assets as well. In June 2018, a cache with weapons and explosives belonging to the organized criminal group was uncovered. On August 13, a floating bathhouse–restaurant on the Volga River controlled by the gang was dismantled in Samara.
The police had reported the complete liquidation of Zakonovskie organized criminal group many years ago. But in reality, the gangsters have just withdrawn into the shadows with the support of their ‘high patrons’ in law enforcement structures. Now the FSB started busting both the bandits and ‘rogue cops’, thus, giving a hope that Zakonovskie gang eventually becomes a thing of the past.