Former A Just Russia member Oleg Mikheev hiding from prosecution
The man accused of attempting to steal over 2 billion rubles ($35m) did not show up at the first hearing.
The Volgograd’s Sovetsky District Court had to postpone the hearing on the case of Oleg Mikheev, the former State Duma deputy and Chairperson of the local A Just Russia (Spravedlivaya Rossiya) branch, when he failed to attend the hearing. According to his attorney, the former parliamentarian is not hiding, yet his whereabouts are unknown to him. Mikheev is accused of attempting to steal 2.1 billion rubles ($35m). The trial was postponed until April 6, and by that time the bailiffs are expected to find him and deliver to the courtroom, Kommersant wrote.
We should remind that the criminal case against Mikheev was initiated in 2013, after his immunity was removed. He is accused of Attempted Swindling on an especially large scale (Art. 30; part 4, Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). According to the investigation, being Volgoprombank owner, the accused signed fictitious contracts for the provision of services by certain firms, undertaking to repay their debts in the amount of 1.4 billion rubles ($24.5m). Then he instructed his subordinates not to reflect the bank's obligations in the accounting reports. Promsvyazbank became the owner of Volgoprombank in 2008, and Mikheev went to court intending to reimburse the ‘debt’ from Promsvyazbank as Volgoprombank successor in 2011.
However, the Volgograd’s Sovetsky District Court dismissed the banker-deputy’s claim. Then Mikheev used his official position to press the case, sending a letter to the chairman of the Volgograd Regional Court with a hint that he needed a particular verdict. This is how he got another count in his case, under Art. 294 of the Criminal Code (Obstruction of Justice). However, after the statute of limitations expired, Mikheev’s prosecution on the count was terminated.
Since last December, it has been impossible to pass the case files to the courts, as the indictment was not read to Mikheev and lacked his signature, and he was nowhere to be found. On March 23, the ex-deputy was sentenced to a house arrest in absentia.
The official website of A Just Russia’s local branch posted Mikheev's appeal, in which he said that he considered unlawful the criminal cases brought against him, as well as the investigation in general.
Mikheev was declared bankrupt in December 2015, after the Arbitration Court of the Volgograd region recognized his 175-million-ruble debt ($3m) to Zarina LLC.
The complainant stated that by blocking the messenger, Russian authorities make it impossible for people to read Telegram channels that, "under the strict state censorship," have become a source of information and exchange of socio-political views, “one of the few independent and free ones. "
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