Surrendered Omsk ex-Minister Merenkov insists on his and Gamburg’s order
Vadim Merenkov uphold the former Deputy Governor Yuri Gamburg in the court. The ex-Minister, who was previously in hiding, gave the first testimony in the high-profile criminal case.
The former Minister of Property Relations in the region Vadim Merenkov was questioned in the Omsk Regional Court. Being on the long-term run years official voluntarily surrendered to the investigation authorities a week ago. The ex-Minister was interrogated as a witness on the ex-Deputy Governor Yuri Gamburg appeal. At the same time, it was opened a criminal case against Merenkov for abuse of official powers in the sale of land.
In the court Merenkov insisted that neither he nor Gamburg conspired and committed any crime in the allocation of land in the Kirov district of Omsk. All their actions, according to Merenkov, were within the legal field.
Gamburg's lawyer Oleg Lyubushkin remembered about Merenkov's video message, which appeared on the network during his detection. The lawyer asked the ex-official about his statement on political motives of a criminal case. The former official said that shortly before his escape there was a meeting of the Omsk division of the Communist Party leader Alexander Kravets and the Head of the ICR Alexander Bastrykin. The ex-Minister said that at that meeting it was decided to make the case against Gamburg.
As previously reported the CrimeRussia, former officials of the Omsk Administration Gamburg and Merenkov are accused of selling state land to affiliated persons at a reduced cost. According to the investigation, to the private ownership it was transferred 24 plots with a total area of 5.5 hectares. In addition, an area of 21 hectares was transferred to the company LLC Krona for vegetable gardens purposes. The total damage from the activities of public officials is estimated at 200 million rubles.
On June 15, 2014 Yuri Gamburg was arrested and then sentenced to 5.5 years in prison, though he did not recognize his guilt. In March 2014 Merenkov managed to escape from the hospital, where he was in inpatient treatment, after which he was put on the federal and international wanted list.
With regard to the appeal of Gamburg judgment, the court postponed the consideration of the complaint on October 14. The former Deputy Governor's defense insists on his complete innocence. The prosecution, in turn, requires the court to mitigate the sentence and reduce the term of imprisonment up to 4 years, on this term the Prosecutor originally insisted.
The State Duma member is not happy about the fact that the budget surpluses that rolled in as a result of additional income following the oil and gas sales are being forwarded to the Russian National Wealth Fund.