Abyzov charged with receiving $480 million from illegal business activity
The investigation believes the ex-minister conducted entrepreneurial activities both personally and through proxies.
The Investigative Committee of Russia formally charged the ex-Minister for Open Government Mikhail Abyzov with receiving income of 32 billion rubles ($479.8 m) from illegal business activities. This was stated by an investigator at a trial of Moscow City Court, which considered the complaint about the seizure of Abyzov’s property.
The money went into the accounts of the company, the final beneficiary of which was Abyzov. August 23, the Investigative Committee opened a new case against Abyzov under Art. 289 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Illegal Participation in Entrepreneurial Activity).
According to investigators, in 2018, contrary to the ban imposed on him as a member of the government, Abyzov conducted entrepreneurial activities both personally and through proxies.
In turn, Abyzov’s lawyers called the initiation of a new criminal case illegal. The lawyer of the ex-minister, Alexander Asnis, said the new case was not related to the events of 2011-2014, which formed the basis of the first criminal case, and did not aggravate the charge already brought against Abyzov.
Earlier it became known that the court seized property and accounts for 27 billion rubles ($404.8 m). That said, the damage from theft was estimated at 4 billion rubles ($59.9 m).
The former official does not admit his guilt. The investigation believes Abyzov organized a fraudulent scheme to steal money from shareholders of Regional Electric Networks OJSC and Siberian Energy Company OJSC. According to law enforcers, he stole 4 billion rubles ($59.9 m) from the companies and funneled them abroad. The ex-minister himself called the criminal case against himself and other defendants “a great global nonsense.”