“We carry rabbits in such cars.” London court declined Dmitry Smychkovsky's extradition
The lawyer insists that Mikhail Maksimenko did not receive a bribe in the form of a Jeep Wrangler from Smychkovsky, but wanted to buy an SUV and took the car for a test drive.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation turned to the UK for extradition of businessman Dmitry Smychkovsky, accused of giving a bribe to ICR Colonel Mikhail Maksimenko, Kommersant reports. However, the Westminster Magistrate’s Court of London rejected the request, pointing to a lack of submitted documents confirming his involvement in corruption. According to the participants in the proceedings, the English judge considered a photograph of the tuned Jeep Wrangler in the extradition request for a long time, and eventually doubted that the subject of a bribe could be a “farm car.” “We carry rabbits in such cars, not people,” the representative of the Magistrate's Court considered.
Irina Limanskaya, Smychkovsky's lawyer, filed a petition to the Deputy Head of the FSB Investigation Department, Mikhail Savitsky, demanding to stop the criminal prosecution of her client on a count of Bribe-Giving (part 5 of Art. 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) in the form of a jeep. In her opinion, the investigation did not indicate for exactly what actions the illegal remuneration was transferred to the officer, having made abstract statements that Smychkovsky was looking for contacts in the ICR in order to gain access to the materials of criminal cases and influence the promotion of his acquaintances.
To recap, Mikhail Maksimenko, the ex-Head of the Main Directorate for Interdepartmental Cooperation and Internal Security, sentenced to 13 years for corruption, was charged with receiving a bribe in August 2018, although the jeep itself had been mentioned in the case file since 2017. Then it was reported that the Colonel extorted a Jeep Wrangler worth 1.5 million rubles ($22.8 thousand) from the owner of the construction business Dmitry Smychkovsky in exchange for helping to cease the investigation against the management of one of the firms related to Smychkovsky. Maksimenko himself does not agree with the new charges brought against him. He also denied his involvement in other bribes, including from the entourage of thief in law Shakro Molodoy. Dmitry Smychkovsky has been hiding from the investigation in London for several years. He has been put on the international wanted list. Earlier it was reported that it was Smychkovsky that gave Maksimenko a bribe of 500 thousand euros in exchange for facilitating the release from prison of Shakro Molodoy's henchman, crime boss Andrey Kochuykov (Italianets). Another part of the bribe for the release of Italianets was handed over through an intermediary by the owner of the restaurant business Oleg Sheykhametov, who confessed to everything and turned himself in.
According to lawyer Limanskaya, Smychkovsky bought the new Wrangler released in 2013, enriching his vehicle fleet of two dozen cars in Odintsovo with the SUV. Immediately after the purchase, the jeep got to a tuning studio, but the improvements were disappointing, and the businessman decided to sell it. Maksimenko, who was friends with Smychkovsky, decided to buy the car, but first test it. Having reached the Novgorod region, the Colonel refused to buy it, because the jeep had serious problems after unsuccessful tuning. Reducing the price to 1.5 million rubles ($22.8 thousand), Smychkovsky and Maksimenko decided together to put the car up for sale. In the summer of 2016, when the FSB opened a criminal case on corruption in the ICR and among other things started to investigate the count of the 'automobile' bribe of Mikhail Maksimenko, the “bribe” was evacuated from the Novgorod forests and put on the guarded parking lot in Moscow as material evidence.
Limanskaya backed this position on the count with Wrangler with the testimony of not only Dmitry Smychkovsky, but a dozen witnesses interrogated by her. However, the investigators ignored the defense's position, which indicates the “subjective, tendentious and repressive nature” of the conducted investigation.
In December 2018, British law enforcement officers detained Smychkovsky, but soon released him.