Former policeman behind multi-billion illegal trade empire in St. Petersburg
Illegal trade costs the state budget 5 billion rubles annually.
People behind the shadow trade in St. Petersburg make at least 40 billion rubles, Delovoy Peterburg found.
The newspaper claimed it is entrepreneur Aleksandr Konovalov, who manages the criminal empire in the northern capital; he is a former security officer of the Criminal Investigation with Central police station, division 28. The Delovoy Peterburg found that to enter the illegal market one must pay 10 thousand rubles. The former policeman provides personal assistance in picking a successful spot for trade. After ten days, the manager sets a monthly fee for the seller, which would not exceed a thousand rubles a day. Official rent will be cheaper, but it will also be accompanied by a number of bureaucratic procedures.
The Delovoy Peterburg discovered that the system of illegal business includes thousands of people and is covered by officials and policemen of various levels. Each trader is given a paper from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities with a note about Konovalov – this is how the law enforcement officials know the empire members.
The journalists under the guise of businessmen managed to speak with one of the empire leaders, presumably with Konovalov himself. The businessman openly admitted that street trading is a criminal business that could collapse at any moment. The former policeman offered a rich choice of selling spots, among which were named the Hermitage, the arch of the General Staff, Nevsky Prospekt, the Marsovo Pole, the Eternal Flame Square, garden at the Admiralty, and even the Kazan Cathedral.
Besides, the Delovoy Peterburg reporters held a sort of experiment: they called the police several times, informing there was illegal trade in the Palace Square. First time the police did not show up, however, the next time they called, the operator said that the measures had been taken. The law enforcement officers did not come at the second time either. Then the journalists came up to one of the traders and asked to show the necessary papers. The seller called a person named Evgeniy, who refused to talk to reporters and advised that the seller should just leave the spot. The journalists turned to policemen, but they ignored their claims. Besides, journalists noticed that all this time they were being video recorded by a man with a cell phone. After being discovered, the stranger disappeared, and all coffee machines in the neighborhood followed.
When they called the police for the last time, journalists revealed themselves and told about the experiment, and then the law enforcement officers immediately arrived and removed vendors from the square. However, all the sellers were back in their spots the very next day.