Defendant in Mezhprombank case Rosturism Deputy Head Dmitry Amunts hiding offshore business
Investigating the high-profile case of multibillion embezzlement from the International Industrial Bank (Mezhprombank), the Investigative Committee has found a violation of the law on civil service in the Ministry of Culture.
During investigation of the high-profile case of multibillion embezzlement from the now-bankrupt International Industrial Bank, the Investigative Committee referred to Head of the Ministry of Culture Vladimir Medinsky a representation to eliminate the violations of law. It was primarily associated with the fact one of the main defendants in the case of International Industrial Bank Dmitry Amunts had engaged in commercial activities while in the civil service, hiding his income.
Kommersant stressed that the ICR’s representation dates back to a later period of Amunts’s activity than that to which the embezzlements in the International Industrial Bank relate. According to investigation, in the period from 2008 to 2009, while heading OPK Development closely related to Mezhprombank, Dmitry Amunts was involved in embezzling 28 billion rubles, allocated by the Central Bank of Russia as an unsecured loan.
Dmitry Amunts was appointed the Advisor to the Minister of Culture on June 1, 2012. Sometime later, after becoming the Deputy Head of the Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturism), Amunts signed a contract, imposing a number of limitations on himself, in particular, concerning business activities. However, as ICR reports, Amunts disregarded these limitations, concealing his activities as director of a Cyprus company Wikima Ltd, and Gimont Overseas Inc, registered in the British Virgin Islands, which used to own the Russian company Atlas Group, at the admission to the civil service.
The ICR believes that by doing so, Dmitry Amunts gave rise to a blatant conflict of interest, since Atlas Group, headed by him through an offshore, was awarded a government contract for the reconstruction of the educational and exhibition complex of the Ilya Glazunov Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow in 2014. In addition, it is possible that Amunts had deliberately concealed his ongoing business activities in order to avoid problems at admission to the civil service.
Moreover, according to investigation, when holding executive positions in the Ministry of Culture and the Federal Tourism Agency in 2012-2013, Dmitry Amunts provided incomplete or incorrect data on income. Violations on compliance with state secrets have also been revealed. After getting a position in the Ministry of Culture, the official failed to hand over his international passport to the ministry within five days, as required by the existing rules. Then, without reporting, he visited the UK, China, Spain, Norway, Turkey and Jordan in the period from 2012 to 2014.
The ICR also have questions regarding Dmitry Amunts’s declared property. According to reports, the officer and his wife own a luxurious mansion on Rublevskoe highway, which previously belonged to former State Duma deputy Ashot Egiazaryan who had escaped from the investigation to the US, a Mercedes-Benz S500 and Porsche Cayenne, as well as an apartment in the center of Moscow. The Basmanny Court of Moscow has seized this property as repayment of damages in the criminal proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture has commented on the ICR’s representation, noting that they are unable to determine the degree of the employee’s fault without an official investigation, which should involve Amunts himself; however, he is currently in a pre-trial detention. The decision to dismiss Amunts can be taken after the judgment to be delivered by the court.
Let us recall that Dmitry Amunts is accused of complicity in Embezzlement committed by a group of people on an especially large scale (part 5 of Art. 33 and part 4 of Art. 160 of the Russian Criminal Code). Investigators believe that Amunts’s beneficiary and former Senator from Tuva Sergey Pugachev, who has been declared internationally wanted, is the organizer of the 28-billion-ruble embezzlement.
However, Dmitry Amunts had also played an important role in the fraud, signing false documents allowing for the unsound remittance of credit funds to OPK Development’s accounts. Another person involved in the case, the former Head of the Directorate of International Industrial Bank, Aleksandr Didenko had previously been sentenced to three years after concluding a plea agreement.