University pays kickbacks to Gazprom 

 University pays kickbacks to Gazprom
German D’yakonov is considered the mastermind behind the scheme created to cash-out Gazprom money Photo: The CrimeRussia

The ex-Rector of the Kazan National Research Technological University (KNRTU), has been arrested amid a high-profile corruption scandal. The professor is believed to be the mastermind behind the scheme created to cash-out via dummy companies dozens of millions or rubles provided to the university by Gazprom as financial aid.

A swindling criminal case against Ildar Abdullin, ex-Vice Rector of KNRTU, that has resulted in a guilty verdict and arrests of Aleksander Kochnev, ex-Vice Rector for Academic Affairs of KNRTU, and Igor Dubovik, Director of the Center for Elastomer Production of KNRTU, had preceded the arrest of D’yakonov. Kochnev and Dubovik were placed under home arrest for the time of the investigation. According to some information, former teachers and vice rectors have told the investigators about a system of kickbacks and bribes thriving in the university. Convicted ex-Vice Rector of KNRTU Ildar Abdullin has submitted several applications to the law enforcement authorities of Tatarstan and told about the professors’ organized criminal group under the leadership of German D’yakonov. The former Rector of KNRTU has been arrested after a face-to-face questioning with Vice Rector Aleksander Kochnev suspected of embezzlement of funds allocated to the university by Gazprom to hold seminars.

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German D’yakonov, ex-Rector of KNRTU

‘Professors’ laundromat’

The Directorate for the Republic of Tatarstan of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for the Republic of Tatarstan became aware that a fraudulent scheme is running in KNRTU. The scheme involved signing contracts with affiliated commercial structures to supply various laboratory equipment and materials and hold seminars and conferences with subsequent embezzlement of the funds. Allegedly, Vice Rector of KNRTU Aleksander Kochnev has created that scheme as per instruction from Rector German D’yakonov. In 2015, Gazprom Public Joint Stock Company has transferred 23.8 million rubles ($411.5 thousand) to KNRTU in accordance with a donation agreement. Yumitrade Limited Liability Company was retained to conduct research and practice seminars. Vice Rector Aleksander Kochnev and Igor Dubovik have siphoned off the money received from Gazprom through this dummy company using various schemes. As a result, KNRTU has officially spent 1.3 million rubles ($22.5 thousands) on these seminars, while their real cost was only 80 thousand rubles ($1.4 thousand). The rest of funds have allegedly been cashed-out and transferred to Moscow as per instruction from Rector D’yakonov. The investigation does not name the recipients of these kickbacks yet. However, according to the testimony of convicted Ildar Abdullin, ex-Vice Rector of KNRTU, the cashed-out sponsor’s funds were handed over to high-ranked Gazprom functionaries.

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Ildar Abdullin, the ex-Vice Rector of KNRTU

Revenge of Abdullin

In December 2015, Ildar Abdullin, the ex-Vice Rector of KNRTU, was found guilty under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling on an especially large scale) and sentenced to 6.5 years in a general regime penal colony. In October 2016, Abdullin has submitted a letter to Rustam Minnikhanov, the President of Tatarstan, and complained that the case against D’yakonov is hushed up. The convicted Vice Rector has submitted more than ten reports against his former boss and other KNRTU employees plagued by corruption. In particular, back in 2015, Abdullin has provided the details of crooked relations between the university, in the person of German D’yakonov, and Gazprom.

According to Abdullin, since 2012, the gas monopoly had been allocating funding for KNRTU on the annual basis in the framework of the Innovation Development Program Until 2020. Abdullin claims that Rector German D’yakonov had embezzled the funds and handed over a portion of that money to Gazprom functionaries as bribes.

By the way, ex-Rector D’yakonov had repeatedly thanked the Gazprom management in public for the financial support and claimed that all the funds are used for “career guidance, equipment for chemical laboratories, and other needs of the university”. However, Abdullin claims that the lion’s share of funds received from Gazprom has been embezzled using fraudulent schemes. He has described the scheme used to siphon off the first portion of money received from the gas monopoly.

“A person had contacted D’yakonov and introduced himself as a Counselor of the HR Department of Gazprom Public Joint Stock Company. This person has demanded 15% of the funds transferred to the university by Gazprom. Only on that condition, the gas giant was allegedly ready to continue sponsoring the university. The guest from Moscow had assured that the amounts provided by Gazprom would increase if D’yakonov agrees to fulfill the requirement – cash out and hand over a portion of the sponsor’s aid,” – convicted ex-Vice Rector of KNRTU Ildar Abdullin told.

According to Abdullin, Vice Rector Aleksander Kochnev and Valentina Shkodich, dean of one of the KNRTU faculties, had allegedly acted as intermediaries handing over the kickbacks. The first bribe was given in 2013 in a cafe located in Kazansky Rail Terminal in Moscow. Abdullin believes that the bribes were given to Gazprom officials on a regular basis – because the financial aid to the university had never stopped.

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Aleksander Kochnev, the Vice Rector of KNRTU

Criminal chemistry

University staff and former colleagues of convicted Abdullin believe that he has testified against his former boss because KNRTU did not support him during the investigation of the criminal case. In any event, the reports against German D’yakonov submitted by Abdullin in 2015 haven’t resulted in the institution a criminal case against the Rector of KNRTU. The facts provided by the former Vice Rector have been checked, but allegedly, the law enforcement structures of Tatarstan could not find any crime in the actions of D’yakonov. Only after the testimony given by detained Vice Rector Aleksander Kochnev against his former boss, a criminal case has been initiated against D’yakonov.

Video: Ex-Rector of KNRTU D’yakonov: “I have to try and prove I am not four-legged”

Professor German D’yakonov has been charged under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling on an especially large scale). The ex-Rector denies any guilt and disagrees with the charges laid against him. According to the most recent information, Yuri Chaika, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, had held a conference in Kazan a few days ago and expressed interest to the kickback paid to Gazprom and the case against German D’yakonov.

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