Purging of law enforcement agencies-2016. No one is immune this year
At least one key state approach to combating corruption proved to be in place in 2016; not even ministers, governors, and generals have immunity when the rubber meets the road. What follows is the CrimeRussia overview of last year’s headline-making arrests of law enforcement officers.
Russian law enforcement agencies began purging its own ranks for abuse of power in fall of 2013. Vladimir Putin called for the supervisory agency eradicating corruption “on every level, including law enforcement agencies and public prosecutor’s office” when giving a speech at a Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation meeting. The Russian President took it a step further by pointing out that corrupt yet high-ranking and decorated civil servant should not feel safe in his latest Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on December 1, 2016. Police detaining and arresting Gennady Lopirev, a Lieutenant General of the Federal Guard Service of the Russian Federation, the day before the speech backed up the assertion.
Man who stole a road. Aleksandr Protopopov, the former Head of the Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation in the Komi Republic
Corrupt law enforcement officers began the year in dismay; Aleksandr Protopopov, the former Head of the Directorate of the Service the Republic, was arrested in Moscow on January 13. He moved to the city after having been promoted to the Service Deputy Head.
However, Mr Protopopov was arrested for Embezzlement (part 4 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) while working in the Republic. The General and 2 other accused Service employees stole a 50 km long federal road near the Volzhsky village, the Udorsky District, according to the investigation.
Valery Ivanov, the former Deputy Head of the Directorate of the Service in the Republic, and Roman Korzhov, the Prison №34 Warden, arranged the dismantling and stole more than 7 000 reinforced concrete road slabs using motor vehicles through the agency of General Protopopov, according to the investigation. The budget suffered at least 6 million rubles in damages due to the swindling.
Mr Protopopov who was arrested for embezzlement was accused of yet another crime, namely of bribe-taking on especially large scale. The Directorate of the Service in the Republic entered into a 10.5 million rubles agreement for supply of vegetables to prisons under its supervision through the agency of Mr Protopopov in 2014. The agreement was signed with a for-profit company. Mr Protopopov received a 600 000 ruble cut for his assistance, according to the investigation. The new case was added to the old embezzlement one.
Investigators of Shakro Molodoy’s case
Denis Nikandrov, the Deputy Head of the Central Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in Moscow
Mikhail Maksimenko, the Head of the Central Department for Inter-Agency Cooperation and Internal Security of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation
Aleksandr Lamonov, the Deputy Head of the Central Department for Inter-Agency Cooperation and Internal Security of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation
Investigators of Shakro Molodoy
The 3 high ranking Committee officers were detained and arrested on July 19 on the allegation of taking a 1 million ruble bribe from Zakhar Kalashov, a criminal lord also known as Shakro Molodoy (Young). The officers should have prosecuted Kalashov Andrey Kochuykov, Zakhar Kalashov’s assistant also known as Italianets (Italian), under an article providing for softer punishment. Mr Kochuykov was taken to pre-trial detention facility in the wake of the shoot-out at the Rochdelskaya Street, Moscow in December 2015. The criminal lord was willing to pay up to $5 million for release of Mr Kochuykov.
Denis Nikandrov, the Deputy Head of the Central Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in Moscow, Mikhail Maksimenko, the Head of the Central Department for Inter-Agency Cooperation and Internal Security of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, and Aleksandr Lamonov, the Deputy Head of the Central Department for Inter-Agency Cooperation and Internal Security of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation being arrested resulted in a major public outcry. It was the 1st time such high-ranking public servants were prosecuted by the Committee. It could not but cast a slur on the reputation of Aleksandr Bastrikin, the Committee Head, and for a rumor to spread that he was to be dismissed soon. Suddenly, all the closed cases that might have been influenced by General Nikandrov were called into question. All the cases that he judged are being revised. It is suspected that he did not even sign all the documents he was supposed to and ‘subcontracted’ this duty to his subordinates.
The accused are in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention facility, Moscow, now. They did not plead guilty.
It is worth mentioning that the shoot-out that launched the case of Shakro Young and the Committee officials resulted in several other law enforcement officers being dismissed.
Denis Romashkin, Ildar Shakirov, and Renat Zinnatulin, employees of the MIA of the Russian Federation, were accused of breaking part 3 of Article 285 of the Code (Abuse of Official Powers). They ordered a meal instead of imposing order after arriving at the shoot-out scene that happed to take place near the Elemants Restaurant.
Eight and a half billion
Dmitry Zakharchenko, the Deputy Head of the Department T of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the MIA of the Russian Federation
Dmitry Zakharchenko, a Temporary Deputy Head of the Department T of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the MIA of the Russian Federation, was arrested during an FSB special operation on September 9, 2016. About 8.5 billion rubles (mostly in foreign currency) were found and confiscated as a result of searches in his apartment and car. Mr Zakharchenko was accused of breaking the articles 285 (Abuse of Official Powers), 290 (Bribe-Taking), and 294 (Obstruction of Carrying out of Justice and of Preliminary Investigations) of the Code.
Pictures of bags filled with cash weighing at least 1 ton made a lasting impression on Russian public. Rumor had it that that he received the money for ‘covering’ illicit agreements with the Russian Railways and embezzlement in the Nota-Bank bank (the Central Bank of the Russian Federation discovered a 26 million ruble embezzlement in the bank). Some even said he received it as a result of the Directorate having an established system for blackmailing Fuel & Energy companies.
Dmitry Zakharchenko had access to secret police investigative information. He was involved with several headline-making criminal cases, according to the investigation. He warned Fatima Misikova, a suspect in the shout-out case, and Mikhail Slobodin, a former Renova Company manager suspected of bribing a former establishment of the Komi Republic, who then fled from prosecution, according to some sources.
The Presnensky District Court blocked accounts of unknown people containing more than $16 million in the framework of investigation of the Mr Zakharchenko’s case. It was also reported that Viktor Zakharchenko, Mr Zakharchenko’s father, has several accounts in Swiss banks containing €300 million in total. The 65 y. o. pensioner, a former Rostov Region village teacher, also owns real estate in Spain and Switzerland. Other members of Mr Zakharchenko’s family own several luxurious Moscow apartments worth 50 to 250 million rubles each, as well as numerous elite crossovers worth 25 million rubles in total.
Gang of MIA employees who established a chain of disorderly houses for pedophiles
Arrest of the suspect
Several police officers were arrested this fall in Moscow. They ganged together with their former colleagues and civilians to make money from pimping.
They dragged minors from difficult families into a Moscow chain of disorderly houses for homosexual pedophiles.
They also blackmailed wealthier customers, threatening to prosecute them. They successfully operated until one pedophile reported to police despite the threat of prosecution.
The Moscow Criminal Investigation Department monitored the police pimps for several months. Criminal cases for violation of the articles 210 (Creation of a Criminal Community (Criminal Organisation) and Participation Therein) and part 4 of Art. 159 (Swindling committed by an organised group or on an especially large scale) of the Code were opened after several gang members were arrested on December 29.
7 people were arrested in the framework of the criminal case. 3 of them were later sentenced to house arrest. Aleksandr Rubanov, a former criminal investigator of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Department of the MIA in the Perovo District, is the gang founder, according to the investigation. The following people were gang members, too: Sergey Lomakin, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Department of the MIA in the Ivanovo District; Aleksandr Valuev, a Senior Police Sergeant and Mr Lomakin’s subordinate; Igor Frolov, a former employee of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Department of the MIA in the Perovo District; Vadim Loyko, a former MIA investigator; Mr Amiraslanov, an unemployed; Aleksandr Golikov, a realtor.
Under investigation. Leningrad Prosecutor Stanislav Ivanov
Judicial Counselor 3rd Class Stanislav Ivanov, who had been Prosecutor of the Leningrad region until November 2016, is accused of a large-scale Bribe-Taking (part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code) from St. Petersburg entrepreneurs. According to investigators, since Ivanov took office, he has received at least 20 million rubles both in cash and things of value or services. For instance, he was given a Toyota Camry and a sponsored family vacation abroad.
On October 31, the President relieved Ivanov from his post. He remained free due to a medical report the investigators have got.
Currently, Ivanov is being treated in oncology clinic, where he was taken to on October 11. Before he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, doctors feared the Leningrad prosecutor had poisoning or even radiation exposure.
Initially, there was a version that Ivanov’s illness was no accident and he had been poisoned. So, in early October, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika instructed Rospotrebnadzor to inspect the Prosecutor’s office and see if there were any toxic substances there. The results have been withheld. The investigation on the case of the former Prosecutor continues and new incidents may soon be revealed.
Knocked down by redistribution
Sergey Kalinkin, Kemerovo region Investigative Committee official
On November 14, 2016 a criminal case was initiated against Major General of Justice Sergey Kalinkin (the Chief of Investigation Department with the Investigative Committee of Russia in the Kemerovo region) on charges of extorting a bribe.
Along with Kalinkin, two other senior officials of the Kemerovo ICR were detained, as well as two deputy governors of the region.
According to investigators, the suspects had been extorting 51% of Razrez Inskoy (coal-mining enterprise) worth at least 1 billion rubles from Anton Tsygankov, a businessman.
General Kalinkin denies any involvement, linking the criminal case against him to an attempt to partition region’s business interests. He claims Gavriil Yushvaev (Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods co-founder and an influential Russian businessman) may be behind the escalated tension around Razrez Inskoy.
Meanwhile, the version of the investigation suggests that Kalinkin had conspired with businessman Aleksandr Shchukin to take over the coalmine given the criminal case on non-payment of wages. Aleksandr Shchukin, who is close to Governor Tuleyev, owns several coal assets in the Kemerovo region. His mines Gramoteinskaya and Polosukhinskaya are located close to Razrez Inskoy. By the way, the billionaire got the former under similar circumstances. This time, however, he failed to grab the assets. Shchukin was the first to see the mistake he had made, when in October he flew to Moscow to do some paperwork and meet other owners. It was then that he found that Tsygankov was affiliated with people who had a much bigger clout. It turned out that Razrez Inskoy’s 30% belonged to Swedish citizen David Yakobashvili, Gavriil Yushvaev’s partner and relative (known in certain circles as crime boss Garik Makhachkala).
Governor Tuleyev did not turn his back on his friends and claimed the extortion charges were absurd. All of the arrested regional administration officials retained their jobs. However, Tuleyev did not seem to have just enough influence on the security forces and Sergey Kalinkin was eventually removed from his post as the Chief of ICR Investigation Department.
GUEBiPK detectives Aleksandr Sobol and Sergey Abramov
Long before the big arrest of Acting Head of the MIA GUEBiPK Department T Dmitry Zakharchenko, the institution's reputaion had already been stained by the high-profile case of the former department chief, Lieutenant General Denis Sugrobov and his deputy Boris Kolesnikov. The trial of Sugrobov and nine of his subordinates on creation of a gang is presently being heard behind closed doors in the Moscow City Court.
GUEBiPK’s raids on December 8 followed by arrests of Department И operatives Aleksandr Sobolev and Sergey Abramov are also associated with the case against the former anti-corruption official and his deputy. They defendants in the case of so-called 'torpedoes': operational agents who instigated officials to take bribes. In addition, Sobol had previously acted as witness for the defense in Denis Sugrobov’s trial.
Let us recall that Sugrobov and his deputy, General Kolesnikov, (who later committed suicide by jumping from a window of the ICR building), had been arrested for a similar offense. According to the previous reports, they introduced themselves as businessmen and were trying to discredit a FSB officer, offering him a monthly fee of $10 thousand for his protection. According to investigators, at least 30 similar criminal cases have been initiated against GUEBiPK officials and businessmen.
Later, Novaya Gazeta cited a competent source and spoke of the reasons for the arrests of Sobol, Abramov and torpedo-agent Vadim Alferov. According to investigators, in September 2013, the suspects urged ex-director of Zemlyane band Sergey Cherenkov and his assistant Sergey Pohilyuk to commit fraud. Alferov under the guise of a Qiwi top manager gave 5 million rubles to the accused to purchase a seat in Edinaya Rossiya high council followed by opening of a criminal case on fraud against Cherenkov and Pohilyuk.
Taken from Russian Railways
Acting Head of the St. Petersburg Traffic Police Lieutenant-Colonel Roman Frolov
On the day searches and detentions in the Moscow GUEBiPK have been carried, in St. Petersburg, Roman Frolov, the Acting Head of the St. Petersburg Traffic Police was caught red-handed while taking a bribe. According to investigators, Acting Head of the St. Petersburg Traffic Police received a bribe in the amount of 250 thousand rubles from the Russian Railways for a ‘total protection’. However, the bribe-giver preferred not to pay a monthly tribute, and appealed to the FSB. Along with Frolov, his subordinate was detained – he was operative officer of the Economic Security Department of the Traffic Police Andrey Dokuchaev, who picked his chief up on a service car in order to receive a bribe. Frolov was charged under part. 5 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribery), the court sentenced him to house arrest until 7 February, taking into account the fact of his three young children of the defendant.
It is worth noting, this scandal is not the first in the St. Petersburg Department Traffic Police. At the end of July this year, Major Oleg Ritman, the Chief of the St. Petersburg-Finland CID Department, and Alexander Ivanov, a policeman of the St. Petersburg-Vitebsk Department, were detained on suspicion of selling drugs.
Colonel Yuri Timchenko, the Head of the Northwestern MIA BIA Head
The next, news about the detention of another police officer in St. Petersburg appeared. On the night of December 9, during a special operation of the FSB Colonel Yuri Timchenko, the Head of the Northwestern MIA BIA, was arrested on charges of extorting bribes.
According to investigators, the Colonel demanded a bribe in the amount of 100 million rubles from managers of the LLC Delovye Linii. In September 2016, the General Investigations Directorate of the ICR has opened a criminal case on tax evasion in relation to the transport company. According to ICR, the company managed to avoid paying VAT and income tax in the amount of 1 billion rubles. When became aware of the problems of the transport company, Colonel Timchenko offered to solve the issue for money. Representatives of LLC Delovye Linii decided to deal with the problem without the Colonel’s help, and filed a claim to the FSB. It was decided to take the extortionist red-handed. In the evening of December 8, Marchenkov and Zinovenko received fake money from the transport company’s representative, which was to be transferred to Timchenko. Businessmen Konstantin Marchenkov and Sergey Zinovenko acted as intermediaries in the transfer of the first tranche of 50 million rubles.
After the arrest of businessmen, operatives came to Colonel Timchenko, who was found in his office with 350 thousand rubles.
The investigation revealed that the Colonel had no property, yet his relatives did: his family members owned multi-million dollar property, particularly, houses, apartments and several luxury cars, tens of millions of rubles on the bank accounts. The ICR is considering arrest of Timchenko’s property for the period of the investigation.
FSO General Lopyrev: "I realize what is going to happen to me."
The detention of General of the Federal Guard Service (FSO) Gennady Lopyrev on December 25, 2016 made much noise in the media. It was the first time the General of the FSO had been detained for a bribe. The FSO is a secret Russian intelligence agency, which performance security of the President and the top officials.
According to investigators, the honored officer and a protégé of former Head of the FSO Yevgeny Murov, had been taking bribes on a large scale from commercial structures. For the money, Lopyrev helped the companies to get profitable government contracts for works for the needs of the department. According to another version by Interfax, Lopyrev was engaged in financial fraud with land in the Krasnodar region. It was also reported that during searches at Lopyrev’s service apartment in Sochi, 1 billion rubles was seized, yet the criminal case includes 6.2 million rubles as bribes only. It is known that the check against Lopyrev was initiated by Dmitri Kochnev, new head of the FSO, who replaced retired Murov.
With regard to the general Lopyrev, a criminal case over Bribe-Taking on an especially large scale (part 6, Art. 290 of the Criminal Code) have been initiated. By the decision of the Garrison Military Court Lopyrev was arrested until 23 January. He did not recognize his guilt. However, the veteran of the KGB and the FCO with more than forty years of experience said: I do not "harbor illusions, because realize what is going to happen."
Preliminary hearings of the case pertaining to embezzlements committed during the construction of notorious Zenit Arena haven’t commenced yet – but the trial of Marat Oganesyan already ceased to be monotonous. The former Deputy Head of the St. Petersburg Municipal Administration has directly hinted at the involvement of his successor – current Vice Governor Albin – in the embezzlement of billions of rubles.