Another embezzlement case over $19m-theft from Russian Railways

Another embezzlement case over $19m-theft from Russian Railways
Photo: TASS

One of the accused is businessman Sergey Vilshenko.

The Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs filed a criminal case over the embezzlement of 1.3 billion rubles ($19m) from the Russian Railways (RZD) state company, RBC reports, which had the materials of the investigation. The defendants are businessmen Sergey Vilshenko, director general of the Asia Trans company Evgeny Matveev and former director of the Projector company Alexey Kirillov.

According to the investigation, the thefts are related to the activities of Asia Trans. From June 2012 to October 2015, it was supposed to provide logistical services to the Central Directorate for the repair of the railway (a branch of RZD). The money transferred by the Russian Railways was siphoned off through one-day firms. In particular, Asia Trans shifted funds to Projector within three years allegedly for insurance of wagons and cargo. At the same time, the company did not have a license for insurance activities. The stolen money was laundered outside of Russia.

The case was filed on May 25. It was based on the materials of another investigation - the theft of 140 million rubles from NK Berdyaush of Artem Chaika. The company produces crushed stone and supplies it to Russian Railways. In 2014, Chaika purchased Berdyaushfrom Sergey Vilshchenko. The embezzlement was discovered during a subsequent audit. According to the investigation, the money was withdrawn using the same scheme as in the case of Russian Railways – signing fictitious contracts with technical firms. Vilshchenko fled the country.

In July, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin filed claims on behalf of the Russian Federation in the Meshchansky Court of Moscow for the recognition of RZD as a victim in a criminal case and recovery of 1.266 billion rubles in damages. The lawsuits will be considered together with the criminal case on the merits.

In August, the Tverskoy court of Moscow placed Matveev and Kirillov under house arrest. Vilshenko was arrested in absentia. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he is the actual owner of Asia Trans. According to SPARK, 99% of the company's capital belongs to Amaranth JSC, 1% of which belongs to Ekaterina Krasninihina, who also appears in the case of NK Berdyaush. The duties of the Amaranth director general are performed by Gennady Vilshenko.

The defendants in the Berdyaush case think that their persecution is the attempt of Chaika to avoid the obligations of the deal to buy the company, under which he had to pay Vilshenko about $80 million until July 2017. The criminal case of embezzlement was initiated a few weeks before that date.

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