Omsk ex-Minister of Property Relations convicted of transferring land for vegetable gardens
The damage from the actions of Vadim Merenkov is estimated at 200 million rubles ($3m).
The former Minister of Property Relations of Omsk, Vadim Merenkov, was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for transferring land for vegetable gardens at a low price, according to the investigation department of the ICR in the Omsk region. Merenkov was deprived of the right to hold public office for 2.5 years after his release.
According to the investigation, in 2008-2012 Merenkov granted 26 land plots to the citizens' property, and also handed over a plot of more than 21 hectares to the commercial organization Krona LLC for vegetable gardens. The plots were located in the residential zone. The damage from the actions of the ex-Minister is estimated at 200 million rubles.
Also, in 2009-2012 Merenkov did not raise the rent for using the property of the city's water and sewerage system. The damage from these actions amounted to 884 million rubles. In total, the ex-Minister was found guilty of eight episodes.
At the time of the crimes, Merenkov was the first Deputy Head of the Department of Property Relations of Omsk. His accomplice was ex-director of the department Yuri Hamburg. As director, Merenkov continued to exceed his authority.
In 2014, Merenkov fled from a Moscow hospital, where he stayed in inpatient treatment, after which he was put into an international wanted list. In September 2016, the ex-Minister appeared in the ICR. By 2017, two criminal cases of Negligence (part 1 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code) and Exceeding Official Powers (part 1 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code) against him were terminated out of the expiration of the statute of limitations. In court, Merenkov did not admit his guilt.
Yuri Hamburg was detained in June 2016. At that time he held the post of Vice-Governor of the Omsk region. Hamburg was sentenced to 5.5 years' imprisonment but was released on parole.