Security forces clean out Khabarovsk region political system
The Khabarovsk region faces sanitary 'deforestation.' That is indirectly related to the forest, and the FSB officers carry the procedure out right in the regional government. Former deputy chairman of the territorial Government Vasily Shikhalev and Governor Viktor Ishayv have already got into trouble.
A series of high-profile arrests, which began with former Minister Mikhail Abyzov, spread to the regions. The Khabarovsk Territory, known for its 'protest' voting, is the first that faces the punishment. The loudest arrest was the detention of former Governor Viktor Ishaev.
The man who stole the oil
Ishaev's arrest has overgrown with speculation. He was even accused of billions of dollars theft in the forest industry, with which other high-profile arrests in the province are associated. However, not all political affairs in our country lead to a stolen forest. But there was not a word about the woods, just oil. According to investigators, the ex-Governor being the adviser to Rosneft was engaged in fraud and stole 5 million rubles ($77.250).
Viktor Ishaev in the Investigation Committee
Materials were collected by the Rosneft security service, which hints at the seriousness of the victims' intentions. But they could not suffer from the loss of money. It is no coincidence that Viktor Ishaev is charged with deception or breach of trust.
The Governor supported Sergey Furgal in last elections, and he deceived the expectations of many people far beyond the region.
Nevertheless, the former Governor is offended by his former colleagues. Most of all, the mentioned amount insulted him. “This is a ridiculous amount,” lawyer Pavel Zaitsev complained. Having become interested in the property of the Ishaev's family, the investigators probably laughed out loud.
The daughter of ex-Governor Yulia Ishaeva owns five apartments worth 425 million rubles, as well as a fleet of luxury cars. Also, unemployed Yulia owns a country house in the village of Soloslovo worth 200 million rubles. So Viktor Ishaev has a place where he will serve the house arrest, which the court has appointed.
The apartments of Yulia Ishaeva and her civil spouse are located at these buildings
Ishaev is called a political mastodon. The ex-Governor controlled the region from 1991 to 2009. During the presidency of Medvedev, he bevame the Minister for the development of the Far East. In 2013, Vladimir Putin freed Ishaev from all obligations to the government, and yesterday's official became an adviser to Rosneft in the Far East.
To somehow mitigate the offense of an elderly person, the FSB submitted a certificate to the court before the arrest. The former Governor has long been suspected of stealing such amounts, which were enough to buy real estate abroad and refill offshore accounts. Also, the FSB believes that Ishaev has acquired extensive corruption ties. The siloviki hint at the 'authorities' Viktor Kiselev (Kissel), Yuri Maslennikov (Krab) and Andrey Mikhailov (Chelentano), with whom Ishaev communicated fruitfully at various times.
So that the arrest of Viktor Ishaev did not cause too dark emotions of sympathy for the 71-year-old ex-official, the main action was accompanied by a secondary, but no less fascinating plot. The Khabarovsk Regional Court rendered a severe decision: the judge left in force the arrest of the former deputy chairman of the Khabarovsk Territory government, Vasily Shikhalev. The retired official, who was called the author of the idea of "golden parachutes" for members of ex-Governor Shport's team, did not catch the change of wind.
Departing soon after the victory of Furgal, Shikhalev broke into a journey. The descent on the golden parachute was short. On March 21, FSB officers found him resting in the Altai Belokurikha. On the same day, Shikhalev was already placed in the SIZO; large Khabarovsk timber merchant Alexander Pudovkin joined him. The security forces took a rich catch to arrest such persons - over 10 billion rubles. This amount was stolen by a tandem of the official and the businessman.
Shikhalev and Pudovkin did not need much ingenuity. Shikhalev served as Minister of Natural Resources of the region for many years, and natural resources are finite. The Khabarovsk Territory has only two of them: the sea with its expensive delicacies and the forest. Shikharev chose the wood. How deeply the ex-Minister bit into the taiga, we have yet to learn. The investigators have reached only 2017, but have already counted 10.7 billion rubles.
At the beginning of the last decade, the Minister caught a new trend - the fight against timber exports to China. He tried to hit on exports with planned wood processing and abundant budgetary injections. There were numerous firms with ready-made projects on how to invest this money. Among them, there were the companies Logistic Forest and Asia Forest (included in the logging holding BM Group). Both companies are owned by Ivan and Alexey Pudovkins.
Asia Forest launched a project for deep wood processing and immediately asked for money. Alexander Pudovkin heads one of the leading wood-processing holdings of the Khabarovsk Territory BM Group. The Pudovkins called the company holding by themselves. When FSB officers raided them, they were embarrassed, and an impressive presentation was deleted from the website.
Remains of BM Group
We do not know whether the woodcutters recognize the merits of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in their well-being, but the agency appreciated the project of the brothers highly and gave it priority status. That is, the money from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for timber processing was allocated first for Asia Forest. The first place in the queue for budget financing brought Pudovkin 1 billion rubles of direct subsidies and another whole package of additional benefits.
Vasily Shikhalev, who had already taken root in the regional Government, gave them this priority. The wife of Alexander Pudovkin became a deputy at the Duma of the Khabarovsk Territory before the businessman became a significant person to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. There was someone to put in a word for Asia Forest, but Shikhalev did not let up and asked to help the brothers louder than anyone. It turns out he was worried for himself.
The son of the ex-Minister, Vasily Shikhalev Jr., is helping Pudovkin to siphon money off. Now he heads the Asia Export company, one of the founders of which is Alexander Pudovkin. Wood, judging by the name of the company, still goes to China. In 2017, the brothers invited Dmitry Medvedev to solemnly open the first stage of the factory of deep wood processing.
It turned out that the Pudovkins implemented only sorting of logs and mechanical pressing of sawdust into wood pellets for 1 billion rubles of subsidies from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for special forest areas. Investigators believe that the brothers wasted 9 billion rubles, and the total damage from their hectic activities is estimated at 10.7 billion rubles. At the same time, the Accounts Chamber found out that the Asia Forest could not receive subsidies. The company artificially overstated all the indicators in the reports to meet federal requirements.
The regional Government, headed by Governor Vyacheslav Shport, turned a blind eye to these postscripts. Shikhalev retired with the arrival of Sergey Furgal in the local administration. Natalia Pudovkina supported BM group. Yesterday’s deputy became deputy chairman of the Government for Social Issues. She divorced her husband prudently so as not to attract attention. But the security forces could not pass by her office. Natalia Pudovkina chose to resign. Now she will appear before the court a simple unemployed woman. However, one should not hope for the sympathy of the judges. The Khabarovsk region has been accustomed to the forest fires even if it is burning hats on lumberjacks.