Former Izvestia director general suspected of 5 swindling episodes

Former Izvestia director general suspected of 5 swindling episodes
Erast Galumov

One of the episodes involves violations in renting of FSUE premises in Nastasyinsky Lane in Moscow, the damage from which amounted to 10 million rubles ($177.500).

The Lefortovo Court of Moscow has arrested former Director General of Izvestia publishing house FSUE Erast Galumov upon request of the FSB until March 14, Kommersant reports. The 59-year-old political analyst is suspected of Swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code), associated with the lease of FSUE premises under the jurisdiction of the Department of Presidential Affairs.

Judge Elena Galikhanova found the investigation’s arguments that Galumov may use his extensive connections in political circles and the business community to avoid responsibility, put pressure on the investigation, or escape, compelling. The former Izvestia director was detained last week at the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi. The suspect was urgently escorted to Moscow, where he was sent to a pre-trial detention center by a court decision.

It is reported that Galumov’s case may include at least five swindling episodes, the damage from which amounted to tens of millions of rubles. The suspect headed Izvestia publishing house FSUE, dealing with printing and servicing of real estate, from 2002 to 2013. Already after Galumov abandoned his post, the Department of Presidential Affairs filed several claims for damages against him.

One of the episodes concerns the conclusion of an agreement on leasing of two premises under the jurisdiction of Izvestia in Nastasinsky Lane in Moscow to Foliant company. The rental value of the premises was 470 thousand rubles ($8342) and 290 thousand rubles ($5147) a month. Later, an investment agreement was concluded with another company, providing for a reconstruction “with elements of restoration.” After the FSUE was checked, it turned out that a catering establishment was opened in the premises. At the same time, according to the normative documentation, the premises could only be used to store goods. The audit also found that by his order, Galumov had suspended the receipt of payment from the lessee, while Foliant continued to receive money from the subtenant – PMC Property Management LLC. The inspectors reported the violations revealed to enforcement agencies, who initiated a criminal case after a pre-investigation check.

In 2013, Izvestia FSUE was involved in the scandal that occurred in its subordinate company Izvestia Hall on Pushkinskaya Square. According to the Federal Drug Control Service and the Federal Security Service, drugs were massively distributed in the club. After an anti-drug raid, several suspects were detained in Izvestia Hall. A few months after the incident, Erast Galumov, who was called the brainchild of then-Head of the Department of Presidential Affairs, left the post of FSUE director general. Currently, he is known as an economist and political scientist, as well as publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazines Mir I Politika (Peace and Politics) and Moskva-Pekin (Moscow-Beijing). The latter is published in Russian and Chinese.

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