FSB general is a suspect in criminal case of fraud with "ghost employees"
A criminal case has been initiated against Vladimir Podolsky, former special forces operative, commander of Vimpel special task force, ex-deputy commander of the Special Operations Center of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). He is suspected of illegal machinations in the “Departmental security of industrial objects of the Russian Federation” Federal State Unitary Enterprise where Podolsky was a Deputy Principal General for a long time, Commersant reports citing Military Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR).
The military investigation authority initiated a criminal case based on part 4 of Article 159 and part 1 of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud of especially large scale and illegal turnover of weapons and ammunition) back in December 2015, but at that time investigators did not know suspects’ names yet.
The major-general is accused of machinations with fictional employment contracts in the Federal State Unitary Enterprise (FSUE). FSUE responsibilities include security enforcement in various industries, including nuclear hazardous, chemistry, mining, and automotive sectors. In addition, the Federal State Unitary Enterprise is responsible for security of facilities producing weapons, military equipment, and explosives.
An audit at the state enterprise with more than 17 thousand of personnel found numerous ‘ghost employees’ receiving wages on the monthly basis. The investigation believes that the funds had been withdrawn by the state enterprise management who used the money for personal gain. In addition, during searches, weapons and bullets belonging to the legendary Vimpel commander were found. The general had no documents permitting to keep those. A source notes that there are several more suspects in this case.
The investigator for special cases in the Military Investigations Directorate of ICR submitted a petition to arrest the general immediately upon laying charges. However, the court declined to detain Podolsky in a pretrial detention facility and later decided to impose home arrest. As a result, Podolsky was forbidden to communicate with other suspects and use any communication devices. A FSUE representative attempted to appeal the investigation proceedings, but the court declined even to review the appeal.
The investigation is constrained considerably by the fact that many important details are unknown to the court yet. The investigation does not know how the funds from fictional employees’ accounts could be used. No amounts have been announced. Questionings and expert assessments are required to clarify existing information.
On June 1, 2016 the investigation submitted a petition to extend home arrest for the general, but the court released Podolsky with a written undertaking not to leave. The court’s rejection to extend home arrest can be explained by insufficient evidence against Podolsky. As per colleagues, the major-general is a man of stellar reputation, who personally participated in anti-terrorist and hostage rescue operations
Preliminary hearings of the case pertaining to embezzlements committed during the construction of notorious Zenit Arena haven’t commenced yet – but the trial of Marat Oganesyan already ceased to be monotonous. The former Deputy Head of the St. Petersburg Municipal Administration has directly hinted at the involvement of his successor – current Vice Governor Albin – in the embezzlement of billions of rubles.