Ex-head of Ogni Moskvy bank who died in custody diagnosed with tuberculosis and hepatitis

Ex-head of Ogni Moskvy bank who died in custody diagnosed with tuberculosis and hepatitis
Former Chairman of Ogni Moskvy board Denis Morozov

Despite the diagnosis and the severe condition of Denis Morozov, his arrest had been extended six times. Prison doctors had also assessed Morozov's condition as satisfactory.⁠

Deceased ex-head of Ogni Moskvy bank Denis Morozov was infected with hepatitis C and tuberculosis. This was reported to RBC by Member of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) in places of detention Ivan Melnikov and anonymously confirmed by Morozov’s relative. The former head of the bank, who was under arrest, died on May 12 in Botkin Hospital; his death came to light only on June 5, 2017. 

As it turned out, already at the time of his arrest in July 2015, Morozov had tuberculosis in closed form and hepatitis. By law, these diseases are contraindicative to detention. 

Nevertheless, Investigator Irina Zineeva had petitioned for the banker’s arrest, since she feared that, "while at large, Morozov could hinder the preliminary investigation and influence the participants of criminal proceedings in his own interests." After that, the Moscow City Court extended his arrest 6 more times, despite Morozov's complaints about poor health. He suffered a rare hereditary disease that affects blood coagulability. People with Willebrand-Diane disease periodically require the introduction of plasma preparations, yet Morozov had never had a blood transfusion in the pre-trial detention center. 

As a relative of the banker said, the latter had tuberculosis for a long time – for more than twenty years. He had even been in follow-up by a tuberculosis clinic, but had been removed from the register due to statutory limitations shortly before his arrest. He got sick of hepatitis C due to the constant blood transfusions. 

In August 2016, Morozov became ill and was transferred from the Butyrka prison to the medical sanitary station of the Matrosskaya Tishina detention center. After seeing he had a hemorrhage and was in a bad state, doctors feared that he would die there, so they sent him back to Butyrka. In prison, they called him an ambulance as late as during the night of August 28 to 29 and then sent him back to Hospital No.40. According to lawyer Alena Zhemchugova, in the hospital, Morozov was fastened with handcuffs to the bed and underwent a surgery under the convoy supervision. September 7, the next day after Morozov's discharge from the hospital, Judge of Moscow City Court Sergey Gruzdev extended his arrest by over a year. 

During the proceedings in the Basmanny Court of Moscow, the defense requested Judge Natalia Dudar not to hold hearings every day, since it was hard for Morozov to be convoyed from the pre-trial detention center every time. However, according to the lawyer, the hearings were held every day. 

February 19, 2017, the banker was hospitalized with acute impairment of cerebral circulation. Shortly after hospitalization, Morozov fell into a coma. While unconscious in the intensive care unit, he was kept in handcuffs and under escort. In March, when he was unconscious for already three weeks, the court changed his measure of restraint from custody to house arrest. May 12, the banker passed away. 

The investigation had refused all requests for an independent medical examination of the prisoner. Prison doctors had also assessed Morozov's condition as satisfactory. “No hospitalization treatment is needed. No facts of failure to provide medical care has been revealed,” Acting Head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate in Moscow Aleksandr Ovsyannikov said in a message to the lawyer of October 13. The same wording is repeated in the response of October 21 signed by Head of the medical unit No.77 Galina Timchuk. 

Ogni Moskvy was recognized bankrupt in 2014. The MIA Main Directorate in Moscow initiated a criminal case on embezzlement of money from the bank. According to the investigation, shortly before the license was revoked, the bank management had organized an embezzlement by transferring money from customer accounts to firms under its control. In total, the damage was estimated at more than 7.5 billion rubles ($126.9 million). Some of the accused pleaded guilty right away and were put under house arrest. Morozov was only partially ready to admit his guilt in the embezzlement of depositors' money. He was charged with two episodes of Swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code), one episode of Misappropriation or Embezzlement (part 4 of Art. 160), and Organization of a Criminal Community (Art. 210). Lawyer Zhemchugova said that the embezzlement schemes had been in use in the bank long before her client joined Ogni Moskvy in September 2013. 

With the consent of relatives of the deceased, member of the PMC Melnikov intends to apply to the Prosecutor General's Office with a demand to check the conditions of detention and convoy of late Morozov.

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