Three iPhones and Highlander: bribe for corruption fighter or set up by entrepreneur? 

Three iPhones and Highlander: bribe for corruption fighter or set up by entrepreneur?

In Tomsk, the trial of Konstantin Savchenko, a corruption-fighter who was caught in a bribe, began. He is accused of patronizing a businessman Andrey Krivoshein. Police, in turn, said that the businessman set him up.

The Tomsk Regional Court began the trial of the former Chief of the Department of Economic Security and Anti-Corruption (UEBiPK) of the Russian MIA in the Tomsk Region Konstantin Savchenko. The basis for the initiation of the investigation and the subsequent arrest of the policeman are materials of the regional FSB. The Directorate started the investigation after the businessman Andrey Krivoshein, who owns the company Remavto in the city of Seversk, Russia appealed to the President with a complain on Savchenko and the Head of the MIA Directorate in the Tomsk Region Major-General Igor Mitrofanov. 

To date, as reported by the CrimeRussia, Konstantin Savchenko is charged under Part. 5 Art. 290 of the Criminal Code (Bribe-Taking). The penalty for this article provides for imprisonment up to 12 years with a fine in the amount of 60-fold greater than the sum of bribe. According to the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee in the Tomsk Region, the police Colonel took Krivoshein provided private protection, for which he received bribes "in property and monetized services" from the businessman.

Promising the businessman to settle any issues with all inspections, the Head of UEBiPK got three smartphones iPhone 5S worth more than 100 thousand rubles, received a discount on a Toyota Highlander in the amount of 612.5 thousand rubles, as well as additional equipment and accessories for the SUV in the amount of 177 thousand rubles. According to the investigators’ estimates, the total value of gifts and services received by Savchenko from Krivoshein from October 2013 to December 2015, amounted to 913 thousand Rubles.


Prior to his reassignment to Tomsk, Konstantin Savchenko was the Head of the operational-investigative part of the Directorate for Combating Economic Crimes of the Main Department of Internal Affairs in the Krasnoyarsk Region. In 2011, he was appointed as the Head of the MIA UEBiPK in the Tomsk Region. In autumn of the same year, Victor Kress, who was at that time the Head in the Region, included Savchenko in the Anti-Corruption Council of the Governor in the Tomsk Region. Also, the police officer was a member of the attestation commission for the MIA employees. In public speeches, Konstantin Savchenko claimed that the cohesive team headed by him successfully resists corruption crimes in the Tomsk Region, "although the methods used by offenders are becoming more sophisticated."

For the period of investigation and trial, Konstantin Savchenko is removed from office and detained. At the first court hearing, he said he does not admit his guilt and is interested in the most open and objective coverage of the course of the process. Then, the accused provided the judge Dmitry Demidov with two petitions. The first one had a request to postpone the trial due to the fact that his main defender is currently in a legal holiday. The second was on returning the case to the Prosecutor's Office because of violations of criminal procedural law. According to Savchenko, the investigator Evgeny Krutovsky did not give his lawyer Andrei Lisitsyn the chance to familiarize with the 9th volume of the criminal case, because it contained sensitive information to which the latter had no access. In addition, the defender was not allowed to participate in the preliminary hearing.


Konstantin Savchenko Photo: Dmitry Kandinsky

The public Prosecutor Irina Buell considered Savchenko’s arguments unconvincing and offered to begin the process. The judge agreed with her opinion and rejected both petitions. The lawyer was asked to familiarize with the case materials after the end of the hearing. After this, the indictment was announced, in which all the gifts and services received by the high-ranking police officer from Andrey Krivoshein were listed in detail. According to the investigators, there are aggravating circumstances in the case: Savchenko knew about the illegal activities of the businessman’s encashment and possible tax evasion, however, continued to patronize both Krivoshein and the firms controlled by the businessman during tax audits. To protect them from sanctions, the UEBiPK leader personally gave relevant instructions to his employees, as well as held talks on the matter with the Head of the Federal Tax Service of Russia in the Tomsk Region Gennady Morozov.

After hearing the accusation, which lasted for more than an hour, Savchenko promised next time to explain why he did not agree with it. Earlier, at the hearing on a preventive measure, the policeman has already stated that all services provided by Krivoshein were not a bribe but a civil transaction. The entrepreneur has been so kind that let the Colonel to use his discounts at the Apple store. Therefore Savchenko first bought the iPhone 5S smartphone for himself, and then two more as gifts to his wife and daughter. For each of them, he allegedly gave Krivoshein 30 thousand rubles. Tragically, no one saw Savchenko actually giving him the money and can not confirm this. 

As for the Highlander SUV, Savchenko said that he did not get it with a huge discount but sold his two other cars to be able to buy it. According to the policeman, he gave the businessman his Toyota RAV4 estimated at 1.2-1.3 million rubles and Opel, which cost 500 thousand rubles. Thus, Krivoshein became the owner of two used car of total cost of 1.7-1.8 million. In exchange, the owner of the car dealership offered to take a brand-new Highlander by paying 200 thousand rubles. Savchenko agreed not even knowing that the deal may seem questionable. He sees nothing unlawful in his own actions.

The defendant asserts that he does not understand what kind of patronage and reciprocal gifts for the help they are talking about. He did not do anything for him. The UEBiPK only once received a statement from a certain businessman Semenov, Krivoshein counterparty who argued that the latter had violated his interests. However, this statement has been considered in the usual manner, and Semenov was rightly refused in the initiation of criminal proceedings. Krivoshein received no help in evading tax audits neither from the Chief of the UEBiPK, nor even from his subordinates. "I cannot put pressure on my employees, because each of the MIA officers knows about its own security service, where they can apply confidentially", said Savchenko. 

The defense lawyer Andrey Lisitsyn made a statement that Savchenko intends to continue to follow the same line of defense. In an interview with local television, the defender explained that the case against his client is nothing more than corruption hysteria. The Colonel, according to the lawyer, owns only one studio apartment in Krasnoyarsk, one decent car, bartered for the other two and some 200 thousand rubles on attached salary account. "And this is a corrupt oligarch!", outraged Lisitsyn.


Lawyer Andrey Lisitsin Photo: ТВ2 

According to the lawyer, his client is now paying the price for just doing his job. Yes, Savchenko refused to initiate a criminal case on Semenov’s complaint against Krivoshein, but "he signed dozens of such orders per month." The UEBiPK Chief also did not ask the Head of the Tax Service in the Tomsk Region to agree with this decision. And indeed, he got no benefit from that. The car was fairly traded, the money for all three smartphones was paid. And the fact that no one has seen that is the issue of trust: "Whose words have more faith: the Colonel of the police or of dubious merchant?" In addition, the lawyer does not understand why the prosecutor alleges that the UEBiPK Head knew Krivoshein was engaged in cashing money. If so, then why no criminal case has been initiated against the businessman, asked Lisitsyn. 

The lawyer refuses to consider his client’s relationship with Krivoshein to be friendly. He came up with a new definition - operational. The policeman and the owner of the dealership got acquainted "on the basis of car swapping" when Savchenko moved from Krasnoyarsk to Tomsk. The "operational" relationship between them developed when Krivoshein voluntarily started to deliver useful information to the Directorate for the economic security. There is no "protection" or "protection racket" here, according to lawyer, no. As evidence, the defender gives the following example: if Savchenko patronized Krivoshein, he would not have just refused to initiate a criminal case against him, but also would have initiated one against Semenov. "And if Savchenko at Krivoshein’s request banged up his four competitors and covered up five times for Krivoshein, then it would be a "protection racket", - said the lawyer who also previously wore a police uniform.


Businessmen Andrey Krivoshein

Contrary to expectations, on the second court session, Savchenko decided that the previously selected line of defense is not aggressive enough. He said that not only did he not take bribes and patronized Krivoshein, but in fact became his victim. The dishonest businessman decided to accuse him falsely because the police officer broke off relations with him. The reason for that was based on three circumstances. Firstly, Krivoshein "started affecting the family badly", trying to engage the Colonel's wife, Olga Savchenko, in questionable business projects. Secondly, according to the defendant, Krivoshein is the member of the doctor Konovalov’s sect, and, as well as its other members, is a threat to others. But the main thing is the rumors about his friendship with such a businessman harming the reputation of the UEBiPK Chief. After all, according to Konstantin Savchenko, Krivoshein was nothing more than an informant who reported to the police about economic crimes committed by other entrepreneurs of Seversk. Therefore, the policeman strongly disagreed with all the charges and was unhappy about the course of the trial. He wanted the whole process to be open, but at the second hearing, the journalists were taken out of the hall.


The Former Head of the MIA of Russia in the Tomsk Region I.A. Mitrofanov Photo: Dmitry Kandinsky

The victim of the policemen’s patronage Andrey Krivoshein also is not satisfied with the progress of the trial. He wants Savchenko’s superior, to whom the high-profile corruption scandal meant only a dismissal, on the dock next to him. "The former Head of the MIA of Russia in the Tomsk Region I.A. Mitrofanov also has carried out illegal, corrupt practices for a long time and, having considerable administrative resources, was involved in illegal seizures of businesses in the Tomsk Region, covering his criminal activities by forging formal document flow and engaging in relationships with the business not personally but through the members of his family", said the businessman in his letter to Putin. In the same letter, he spoke about the Pertsy (Peppers) LLC specially established for legalization of bribes. The founders of the firm are Krivoshein himself as well as Mitrofanov’s wife and son. The Investigative Committee in the Tomsk Region has checked Krivoshein’s information and initiated a criminal case under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (Swindling committed by an organized group on a large scale), which provides for the sanction of imprisonment up to 10 years with a fine of up to 1 million rubles. However, Igor Mitrofanov is only the witness in this case, while Andrey Krivoshein is already recognized as a victim. The investigation is underway.

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