Accountants of ‘king of cashiers’ Matselevich turn everybody in
The criminal case against Stanislav Matselevich, the ‘king of Omsk cashiers’ and concurrently founder of a major Omsk self-regulating construction organization, has triggered a new wave of arrests. Nikolai Petrov, the Head of the Omsk Insurance Company Limited Liability Company (STINKO) controlled by Matselevich, has been arrested on charges of swindling committed by a group of persons by previous concert on an especially large scale. On the same day, the criminal case against Elena Zyryanova, an accountant in the underground bank, has been transferred to court. Her case was separated from other defendants because the woman had told the investigators about all operations of the organized criminal group. Who else is facing jail after the confessions made by accountants of Matselevich?
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Omsk Region has submitted the case against 30-year-old Elena Zyryanova, a former accountant in Omsky Buhgalter (Omsk Accountant) Limited Liability Company, to the court for examination. The defendant was a member of the criminal community created by ‘underground banker’ Stanislav Matselevich.
The First Deputy Prosecutor of the Omsk Region has approved the indictment against Elena Zyryanova. She has been charged under part 2 of Article 210 (Participation In a Criminal Community (criminal organization) for the purpose of joint committing one or several grave or especially grave crimes) and items (a and b), part 2 of Article 172 (Illegal Banking Activity committed by an organized group attended by profit-making in an especially large amount) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. According to the investigation, for seven years, in the period of 2008–2014, Zyryanova and other members of the organized criminal group created by Matselevich had been running illegal banking operations, including cashing in money through controlled banks and dummy companies. Their commission from each such transaction was at least 3.5%. The total amount of illegal banking operations performed by this criminal community was over 9.2 billion rubles, while the members of the group have earned over 322 million rubles. They used some 50 dummy companies for shady banking operations; some of these firms were classic fly-by-night companies.
Shadow banker Stanislav Matselevich
The investigation believes that Elena Zyryanova had managed accounts of companies controlled by the illegal bankers remotely, using the ‘bank–client’ electronic payment system, and also accepted and dispensed cash. Hoping for leniency of the court, Zyryanova has fully admitted her guilt and made a plea deal with the Prosecutor’s Office. Therefore, the court has separated her case from other defendants and cancelled the initial decision to remand Zyryanova in custody. Similarly with Ekaterina Bunakova, another former accountant in Omsky Buhgalter Limited Liability Company, she will wait for the sentence not in the pretrial detention facility, but at liberty. The criminal case against 31-year-old Bunakova is already being examined by the court; she had also fully admitted her guilt and made a plea deal – therefore, her case has been separated from other defendants and she was released on pledge not to leave the city.
After spending some time in the pretrial detention facility, both female suspects started collaborating with the investigation. According to a CrimeRussia source in law enforcement authorities, the accountants have provided all details of the criminal scheme. It was not very original: clients had received banking information of legal entities controlled by the group of Matselevich and transferred funds to their accounts. The reason for the payment required for billing documents had been discussed with the clients in advance. Normally, these reasons included provision of some services or works, for example, audit or production of advertisement structures. Upon receipt of the money, accountants of the criminal group led by Matselevich were transferring the funds to accounts of other self-employed entrepreneurs or limited liability companies. Most of these legal entities were dummy companies. Upon withdrawal of the cash using bank cards of individuals, the clients had received their money back less 5% commission. In some cases, the commission could reach 7−8%; should the investigation use a higher rate for calculation of the criminal proceeds instead of the minimal commission rate of 3.5%, the profit gained by the organized criminal group would be not 332 million, but 1.3 billion rubles.
To avoid attention of law enforcement authorities, the personnel of the ‘shady bank’ had acted very carefully and never used words that could alert special services in telephone conversations. In the electronic correspondence, they used codes, abbreviations, and purposively wrong dates. The criminals had been frequently changing the physical location of the accountants by moving from one office to another. Every office was guarded by security guards; a sophisticated access system, including magnet locks and keycards, was in place. The underground bank had a strict hierarchy: everybody knew his/her task and performed it precisely. However, all the conspiracy turned out to be useless. The CrimeRussia source in law enforcement authorities said that Matselevich had attracted their attention several years ago – he was a witness in a number of criminal cases related to illegal banking. In order to hide money from tax authorities, the defendants had been cashing in funds through him. Therefore, the extreme caution exercised by the ‘king of Omsk cashiers’ could not save him from prosecution.
The criminal group of Matselevich has been busted in 2015 by operatives of the Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) in the Omsk Region and Administration in the Omsk Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation. Eight members of the group have been arrested one by one: Stanislav Matselevich; accountants Elena Zyryanova and Ekaterina Bunakova; shipping agent Andrei Kopeikin; lawyer Evgeny Luzinsky; Evgeny Nasenkov, the founder of a number of First Guilds in various regions of Russia; some I.Z. Chipizubov; and Yulia Aristova, the Senior Accountant of the First Builders Guild Self-Regulating Organization, Head of the Banking Risks Department, and member of the Board of Directors of Ediny Stroitelny (United Construction) Bank controlled by Matselevich. Most documents and funds of the criminal community had passed through the hands of 41-year-old Aristova. Accountants Elena Zyryanova and Ekaterina Bunakova had worked under her supervision. According to the CrimeRussia source, the safety deposit box in Sberbank, officially registered in the name of the mother of Aristova, contained some $15 thousand, €7 thousand, and several dozens of millions of rubles. The senior accountant had also kept there some important documents related to the organized criminal group of Matselevich and operations of Ediny Stroitelny Bank. By the way, this bank had contributed 700 thousand rubles to the election fund of Viktor Nazarov, the Governor of the Omsk Region. And despite the arrest of Matselevich, Ediny Stroitelny Bank managed to boost its capital and rise to the second line in the rating of Omsk banks.
The ninth suspect has been arrested in February 2016 – Vladislav Eisner, the Director of Omsk-based Bely Svet (White Light) Real Estate Company, who was searching for new clients for the underground bank of Matselevich. The family of this businessman has relocated to Krasnodar. The operatives had supposed that Eisner would be willing to meet his relatives and arranged round-the-clock surveillance of the car belonging to his wife. Once the woman was driving her son to a training exercise in martial arts, and Eisner has got into their car. He was immediately arrested and escorted to Omsk.
According to the investigation, the criminal organization consisted of 11 members. The tenth suspect is Vasily Dyakun, Deputy Director of the Center for Builders Support of the First Builders Guild Limited Liability Company and owner of 20% of shares in Ediny Stroitelny Bank. He is hiding abroad, and an international warrant has been issued against him. The court has ruled in absentia to remand Dyakun in custody after his arrest.
The eleventh suspect – Vsevolod Igorevich Podkozhurnikov – has been put on the federal wanted list. Apparently, he is a son of Igor Podkozhurnikov, who used to be the Head of the Leninsky District Inspectorate of the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation and the Head of the Inter-District Inspectorate № 4 of the Federal Tax Service in the Omsk Region. In 2014, Podkozhurnikov was fired from the tax agency due to unknown reasons.
The investigation is now completed; the defendants are examining the case file, which includes over 200 volumes.
42-year-old Stanislav Matselevich, the General Director of the First Builders Guild Self-Regulating Organization and suspected creator of the underground bank, has been charged under parts 1 and 2 of Article 210 (Creation of a Criminal Community (criminal organization) and Participation Therein), Article 172 (Illegal Banking Activity), and part 4 of Article 174 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Legalization (laundering) of Funds and other Property acquired by other persons illegally). The investigation believes that Matselevich has spent the profits gained from illegal banking operations to purchase commercial space in Millennium Multifunctional Center where the First Builders Guild, Ediny Stroitelny Bank, Insurance Investments Company, and other organizations controlled by this businessman are located. The offences incriminated to him under Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation are punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of twelve to twenty years, with a fine in the amount of up to one million rubles.
It is quite possible that another criminal episode could be added to the case of Matselevich. After the arrest of the General Director of the First Builders Guild Self-Regulating Organization, Omsk-based developers have stated that Matselevich had been extorting kickbacks from them in the amount of up to 70% of the contract cost. Vasily Ushakov, the Director of Svarog Limited Liability Company, has provided an example related to the construction of a kindergarten and school in the Tevrizovsky district of the Omsk region. In May 2013, UniversalStroyPlus company has won the construction tender. This company is well-known for its practice to win tenders through dumping and then retain subcontractors to perform all the works. This tender was not an exception – Masterita Limited Liability Company had been retained as a subcontractor and, in turn, distributed the works between several construction organizations. Therefore, upon completion of the kindergarten and school, the district administration has paid the contracted amount, but the builders, who had actually performed the works, did not receive any money. Then Matselevich had a meeting with the hoodwinked contractors and proposed to pay them the money in exchange for a 70% kickback. The builders refused to get only 30% of the contracted amount and ultimately have been left with nothing.
Nikolai Petrov, the Head of the Omsk Insurance Company Limited Liability Company (STINKO)
The investigation believes that shortly before the arrest, Matselevich had attempted to gain an Israeli citizenship to evade liability for his crimes. Therefore, the underground banker remains in custody in the pretrial detention facility since September 2015. A whole army of expensive lawyers retained by Matselevich had tried to get him released under home arrest. The defense attorneys had submitted documents indicating that the businessman has to support two small children aged 1 to 5 years, unemployed wife, and retired parents. They had brought to the court 30 letters of gratitude received by Matselevich, including a letter from the Omsk Mayor. However, every time the court had being leaving the banker in custody because the Prosecutor’s Office had information that Matselevich is trying to put pressure on the witnesses, while a number of unidentified suspects in this criminal case are still on the loose. In December 2016, the court has decided again not to change the pretrial restrictions for Matselevich and extended his detention until March 17, 2017.
On February 3, 2017, it became known that Nikolai Petrov, the Head of the Omsk Insurance Company Limited Liability Company (STINKO), has been arrested. A swindling criminal case had been initiated against unidentified persons back in July 2017. This investigation was classified because in 2013, after the sale of STINKO to a “group of persons linked with the management of a number of self-regulating construction organizations” (according to the STINKO web site), this company has become closely linked with enterprises of Stanislav Matselevich.
Petrov has been charged under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling committed by an organized group on an especially large scale). Charges against several other suspects are to be laid soon – further arrests are expected in the framework of the STINKO case.
The ICR has reported on solving the murder of Ilya Pichko, who had been due to testify in the high-profile case of smuggling at the hearing on December 18. The search for the head of Yugo-Vostochnaya Torgovaya Kompaniya began after he failed to appear at the hearing scheduled for December 11.