Third in a year: Another scandal in North-Western MIA Administration for Transport
The new Head of the Administration for Transport of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation in the North-Western Federal District has announced strengthening of departmental control. However, the Regional Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation has assumed the primary role in that ‘purge of ranks’ – without asking permission from the MIA Administration for Transport. As a result, another corrupt policeman has been caught – Roman Frolov, the Acting Head of the St. Petersburg Line Internal Affairs Administration for Transport.
Magic of numbers
The previous corruption scandal involving the transport police had occurred on July 8, 2016. At that time, a brief message had been posted on the official MIA web site: “a service audit against officers of the St. Petersburg Line Internal Affairs Administration for Transport has resulted in a criminal case initiated under Article 30 and part 5 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Attempted Bribe-Taking)”. Lieutenant colonel Roman Frolov has been arrested exactly five months later – on December 8, 2016.
The situation was pretty mundane. Roman Frolov, the Acting Head of the St. Petersburg Line Internal Affairs Administration for Transport (responsible for Moskovsky railroad terminal), has been arrested in the Moskovsky district of St. Petersburg during the handover of a bribe of 250 thousand rubles – a gratitude for future patronage. He had promised to provide such services to a businessman (or, may be, imposed those upon him). The entrepreneur decided not to pay the monthly levies but instead addressed the FSB Directorate. The handover of money was established, and Frolov has been detained. It is necessary to note that the Lieutenant Colonel did not try to hide and arrived to the meeting near Maxidom store in his service vehicle. Interestingly, in the past, Roman Frolov used to be the Head of the Department for Combatting Economic Crimes supervising the Oktyabrskaya railway.
The Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District was totally unaware of the operation performed by their FSB colleagues – despite the ongoing anti-corruption ‘purge of ranks’ (the CrimeRussia wrote about it earlier) initiated by Sergey Kostyrkin, the new Head of the Administration. The press service of the MIA Administration has learned about the arrest of their officer from journalists. On the next day, an official statement has been posted on the MIA Administration web site: “a criminal case has been initiated against an officer of the St. Petersburg Line Internal Affairs Administration for Transport for elements of an offence under Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Bribe-Taking). A service audit will be carried out due to this fact”. No one in the MIA Administration has commented the incident.
On December 12, 2016, the Moskovsky District Court – surprisingly for the public and Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation – has released the lieutenant colonel under home arrest. Upon reviewing the case materials, the court has decided that there is no real need to detain Frolov and his release will not affect the investigative actions. Defense attorneys expectedly intend to fight for his freedom.
This is the third corruption scandal in the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District during this year. To refresh background: in the end of July 2016, criminal investigation operatives of the transport police, jointly with their colleagues from the District Administration of Internal Security of the MIA General Administration of Internal Security, have arrested two policemen suspected of drug dealing. Major Oleg Ritman, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the St. Petersburg–Finlyandsky Line Internal Affairs Department, and Aleksander Ivanov, the Policeman of the Patrol and Checkpoint Service of the St. Petersburg–Vitebsky Line Internal Affairs Department, have been caught in complicity to drug dealing on an especially large scale.
According to the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District, the war on corruption has been proclaimed a top priority for 2016. In nine months, 353 corruption crimes have been identified, including bribe-taking, commercial bribery, embezzlements, swindling, and abuses of powers.
Purge of ranks
Of course, such incidents taint the image of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District – which is currently not in good books of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The restoration of its former glory – back in 2007, the Administration was one of the best in Russia – is an enormous task. However, the purge of ranks initiated by Sergey Kostyrkin, the new Head of the Administration, has already brought some results. Strengthening of departmental control has been announced in the transport police.
Sergey Kostyrkin, the Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District
Strict checks have been carried out in all line departments. As a result, the Pskovsky and St. Petersburg–Vitebsky Line Internal Affairs Departments (together with their heads) have been put on a special control. Now, Ivan Kolupaev, the Head of the St. Petersburg–Vitebsky Line Internal Affairs Department, and Igor Belousov, the Head of the Pskovsky Line Internal Affairs Department, have to prove their right to hold these positions. Especially Igor Belousov, who has been holding his post since 2002 and must now answer numerous questions of the superior command.
The changes have also affected other divisions of the MIA Administration. For example, Vladimir Netesov, the ex-Head of the Petersburg Line Internal Affairs Administration, had to leave the office; now Lieutenant Colonel Eduard Khorkov, the Acting Head of the Department, has to deal with his ‘legacy’.
According to the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District, in the framework of the departmental control strengthening, operatives of the MIA Administration have performed 7 special-purpose checks of line internal affairs departments with regards to their operational and service performance. Based on the results of inspection, control, and special-purpose checks of the line administrations and line departments of the transport police, 15 senior officers and 37 servicemen have been brought to disciplinary liability; 1 officer had to stand a special attestation commission.
There are more issues looming over the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District. As the CrimeRussia wrote before, high-profile scandals related to the arrests of Oleg Ritman and Aleksander Ivanov and discovery of 36 kg of heroin in possession of Aleksey Levkovsky, the Deputy Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the St. Petersburg Line Internal Affairs Administration for Transport, have forced the MIA Administration to revise its approaches to the drug-trafficking interdiction. According to the report produced by the MIA Administration, its operatives do not believe words of their colleagues anymore and act in collaboration with other enforcement agencies. Raids against smuggling and smugglers are carried out jointly with the FSB, the Federal Customs Service and the Border Service.
According to the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District, in nine months of 2016, over 230 kg of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and potent substances have been seized.
According to some sources, the joint operative work with colleagues from other special services is maintained on a continuous basis. And the key role in this counternarcotic collaboration is played not by the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District – but by the FSB Directorate for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. The CrimeRussia sources state that no one had asked the opinion of the MIA Administration for Transport in this regard – because nobody can guarantee today that another antidrug raid won’t result in catching more transport policemen with a consignment of narcotics on an especially large scale. From that point of view, the leading role of the FSB seems pretty logical. The sources even say that these ‘corrupt policemen’ are the main target of such raids.
Andrey Boiko, the Deputy Head of the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District
In addition, the Administration of the MIA of Russia for Transport in the North-Western Federal District has to deal with links established between its officers and business structures that had been uncovered this summer. In July 2016, the transport police had arrived for searches to Cartier jewelry boutique located on the Moika River quay in St. Petersburg. Andrey Boiko, the Deputy Head of the MIA Administration for Transport, had put pressure on Dmitry Zarubin, the boutique owner, who is currently in detention. Allegedly, he acted in the interests of his friend, businessman Igor Khavronov. Since then, the transport police had visited the store for searches 10 times. According to the sources, Boiko and Khavronov had been ‘working’ together for a while, and the purposes of their close ‘interaction’ with businessmen were protection racket and extortion.
It became known that Colonel Boiko has attracted close attention of the MIA Administration of Internal Security in the North-Western Federal District. A service audit has allegedly been performed against him, and corruption links between him and businessman Igor Khavronov identified. However, no official statements had been issued so far. Andrey Boiko continues performing his service duties. The CrimeRussia will continue monitoring this case.
Larisa Markus, ex-President of failed Foreign Economic Industrial Bank (Vneshprombank) made a deal with the investigation and named her brother Georgy Bedzhamov the mastermind behind the embezzlements and siphoning off funds from the bank. Was there an arrangement between the relatives–bankers on who shall demonstratively go to jail and who shall take the blame for all the crimes and abscond abroad with stolen billions of rubles? Vneshprombank co-owner Georgy Bedzhamov is currently beyond the reach of law enforcement structures and creditors. Perhaps, it is now time for everybody to forget about the fugitive banker? Especially taking that, according to The CrimeRussia sources, some persons are interested in ruining the case against Bedzhamov.