Interior Ministry drops case on withdrawal of $169.2 million under transactions for Goznak
Three former suspects are eligible to demand compensation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for illegal criminal prosecution. Two of them spent a year and a half under house arrest, and the former ex-co-owner of BVA Bank, Vladimir Shcherbakov, was hiding abroad all this time.
The loud criminal case on the withdrawal of multimillion sums abroad under the guise of fictitious transactions for the supply of products for Goznak was discontinued by the MIA Investigation Department due to lack of evidence.
Two and a half years of investigation proved that the transactions concluded by the accused were real, Kommersant reports.
Another period of the investigation, which lasted two years, expired on June 23. The investigator did not renew it, dropping the case against all three defendants with the approval of the Deputy Head of the MIA Investigative Department, Alexander Krakovsky.
The right to rehabilitation was explained to the former accused. Businessmen Alexander Domrachev and Konstantin Sergutin will now be able to claim compensation for material and moral harm for illegal criminal prosecution and 16 months spent under house arrest.
The arrest in absentia and international search of the former co-owner of BVA Bank, Vladimir Shcherbakov, whom the investigation called the organizer of the fraud, have been cancelled as well, the publication writes.
The high-profile criminal case was initiated in February 2015 on the results of a joint operation of the MIA GUEBiPK, the staff of the Main Directorate of the Federal Customs Service for Combating Contraband with the participation of Singapore's financial intelligence. Two suspects – Deputy Head of BVA Bank Konstantin Sergutin and businessman Alexander Domrachev – were detained on suspicion of committing crimes under part 3 of Art. 193.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Commission of Currency Transactions for the transfer of funds to non-resident accounts using fake documents on an especially large scale by an organized group), subsequently the court sentenced them to house arrest.
According to the investigation, the criminal group part of which they were illegally transferred huge amounts in foreign currency abroad for a percentage, thus having withdrawn more than 10 billion rubles ($169.2m) from the country for 4 years. The investigators called the ex-co-owner of BVA Bank, whose license had been revoked a year before this, Vladimir Shcherbakov, who had fled abroad, the leader of the gang.
According to the materials of the criminal case, to implement a criminal scheme Domrachev set up several companies – Tekhnotransservis Engineering OJSC, TTS-Progress CJSC, which participated in the conclusion of contracts in the interests of Goznak for the supply of components for the production of excise stamps on alcohol from abroad – nickel powder and acrylic resin.
According to the investigation of the MIA, the scheme worked as follows. The purchased products came from the countries of Asia to the European Union, where the prices for it were many times higher. Then the goods were imported to Russia at a deliberately inflated price. After that the money of the clients of the criminal group was transferred to Singapore through a number of Moscow banks under the guise of payment for supplies.
It is worth noting that when the funds were withdrawn, the investigation suspected the possible theft of Goznak's funds, but the enterprise strongly denied any damage as a result of transactions. In addition, Goznak was quite pleased with the value for money. The Federal Tax Service also did not find any violations in the actions of the accused, who did not admit their guilt.
At the stage of familiarizing with the materials of the criminal case in May 2016 the court released the defendants from house arrest, and at the end of the year deputy prosecutor Viktor Grin did not approve the indictment and returned the case for further investigation and elimination of violations.
On June 23 the criminal case was closed with the wording "for lack of corpus delicti", but materials on possible theft of Goznak's funds in the procurement of goods at inflated prices were separated from it.
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