Switzerland returns seized money to ex-Deputy Head of Agriculture Ministry

Switzerland returns seized money to ex-Deputy Head of Agriculture Ministry
Alexey Bazhanov

In Russia, the charge of a major fraud against Alexey Bazhanov remains in force.

In Switzerland, the criminal prosecution of former Deputy Head of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Alexey Bazhanov was terminated, Kommersant learned. The local Prosecutor's Office carefully checked the "sources and flow of funds" on the accounts of Bazhanov and agreed that the money was not obtained by criminal means. The attachment of 7.15 million francs of the former official was lifted. In addition, Bazhanov will receive 15 thousand francs as compensation for unreasonable persecution.

In Russia, an investigation into runaway official Bazhanov continues. At home, he is accused of creating criminal schemes, according to which the Masloprodukt company, controlled by Bazhanov, received funds from state structures and banks for the construction of an oil extraction plant in the Verkhnekhavsky district of the Voronezh region.

According to the investigation, Bazhanov and his accomplices Roman Malov, Sergey Dudenkov and Sergey Tsvetkov withdrew 1.125 billion rubles ($19m), provided by Rosagroleasing for the purchase of equipment for the plant through the controlled company Vita. All the defendants were accused of fraud on an especially large scale, which was soon re-qualified as fraud in the sphere of entrepreneurship. Soon Bazhanov received another accusation of fraud in the sphere of lending. The prosecution concluded that the former official committed embezzlement of 10 billion rubles ($169m) of Rosselkhozbank, Moscow Industrial Bank and Svyaz-Bank, taken for the purchase of raw materials for the same creamery near Voronezh. A little later, another charge (money laundering) was added.

Bazhanov was detained in 2013, 9 months he was in custody, but then he was released under a written undertaking not to leave. Once again violating the law, Bazhanov disappeared abroad. In Russia, he was put on the international wanted list, but he is not listed in Interpol's database.

According to sources in the security services, almost all the defendants in the case actively testified, "exposing the former official," and the trial itself "is in the final phase." "The testimony of these people creates a solid basis for finding Bazhanov guilty of criminal group organization."

Lawyer of Bazhanov Leonid Rosenthal said that his client could not express his position on the charges in Russia because "Alexey Anatolievich is not allowed to review materials and he could not defend himself. He only knows the fact that the investigation is ongoing."

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