Investigative Committee of Russia completes investigation of case into theft of $2.3 million during construction of auto service centre in Voronezh

Investigative Committee of Russia completes investigation of case into theft of $2.3 million during construction of auto service centre in Voronezh

The investigation theory is that 2 former senior executives of a dealer network Modus, as well as a representative of a Voronezh construction company Voronezh-Realti are involved in the crime.

The Investigative Committee of Russia has completed an investigation of a case into swindling on an especially large scale at a dealer network Modus, reports Kommersant. The investigation theory is that senior executives of Modus and an ex-CEO of a Voronezh legal entity of a holding OOO Voronezh-Realti had stolen 155 million rubles ($2.3 million) from the budget during construction of an auto service centre near Voronezh.

Former senior executives of Modus Konstantin Pashentsev and Aleksey Novichkov (who had been responsible for construction and finance), as well as ex-CEO of the Voronezh construction company Konstantin Drozd were accused of 2 instances of swindling on an especially large scale (item 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). None of them pleads guilty.

The investigation theory is that in spring, 2010, Pashentsev and Novichkov developed a plan for the theft of funds from the budget with the help of recompense of goods and services taxes during construction of a station of technical servicing of vehicles at the dealer village Modus near Voronezh. The managers agreed upon construction of a facility with OOO Stroitelnaya kompaniya. The price was 237.6 million rubles ($3.6 million). The contract was not registered directly, but through a fly-by-night company OOO RemStroyKompleks that was allegedly a contractor. The investigation believes that they paid to the workers through a false firm - OOO VekStroy.

After that, the accused allegedly made the false contracts for general contracting with a signature of a CEO of Voronezh-Realti Nadezhda Leshchenko. The cost of works was overestimated in these documents and reached 589.1 million rubles ($8.9 million). The money for the project was received at Vozrozhdeniye bank and it went through false accounts. A new CEO of Voronezh-Realti who had replaced Leshchenko and had allegedly been tied to a swindling clan signed the papers related to acceptance and other financial documents. As a result, the accused paid off 89.7 million rubles ($1.3 million) they had stolen.

Another instance is related to theft of funds from the budget via illegal receiving of subsidies during construction of the same facility. The accused - via the regional programme for assistance investment projects - received compensation for payment of a part of per cent due to the use of the loan. The investigation theory is that after the faked papers were examined, the Department for Manufacturing, Communications and Innovations of the Voronezh region tied a contract for investment activity with Voronezh-Realti. According to it, by the end of 2014, the company transferred almost 65 million rubles ($985 thousand) as a subsidy. The investigation believes the accused also stole this money.

In September, 2018, Nadezhda Leshchenko was detained at a Moscow airport during an attempt to leave the country. Her involvement in theft was reported to have been proven by the gathered evidence. She escaped from the investigation for more than a year. However, representative of a business-ombudsman Boris Titov covered for Leshchenko. They stated that the Investigative Committee of Russia took hostage a nursing mother of 4 children and broke her via psychological pressing. Due to the scandal, the prosecution withdrew its request related to the arrest of the woman and reported that she testified where she exposed the participants of the crimes. In a month, criminal prosecution of Leshchenko was terminated.

The Prosecution Service of the Voronezh region was not happy about the release of Leshchenko and gave her back the status of the suspect in October, 2018 she kept until July, 2019.

The conclusion on the criminal prosecution of other defendants in the case was reached in May, 2019. It states that when the crime was committed, Leshchenko was on vacation and took care of her child. She signed the credit contract without knowing the criminal intention. Konstatin Drozd who replaced her allegedly agreed to take part in the swindling.

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