Suspect in $5.2m embezzlement vanishes while MIA and ICR decide who's to take lead of case

Suspect in $5.2m embezzlement vanishes while MIA and ICR decide who's to take lead of case
Fugitive Dmitry Stupin Photo: Kommersant/Evgeny Dudin

Former owner of Liniya Toka (Current Line) trading network Dmitry Stupin has been declared internationally wanted.

The involvement of Prosecutor General’s Office allowed to determine which agency – the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Investigative Committee – was to take charge of the case against former co-owner of Arkonada Group of Companies, Dmitry Stupin. The company used to be a major supplier of electronics to Russia, and its affiliate Trial-Trade LLC had a network of 300 stores in Krasnoyarsk, Voronezh, Samara, Yekaterinburg and other cities, trading electronics under the brand Liniya Toka.

According to Kommersant, the Tagansky District Court has recently arrested Stupin in absentia for two months (to be counted from the moment of his extradition to Russia) at the request of the Central Administrative District Directorate of Internal Affairs. In addition, he has been declared internationally wanted via Interpol. It is known that he is currently in Germany, in his estate on the outskirts of Hamburg. Prior to this, investigators of the Moscow Central Administrative District Directorate of Internal Affairs, responsible for initiating a criminal case over embezzlement from Promsvyazbank at the beginning of the year, have repeatedly summoned Stupin for questioning. First, Stupin asked to postpone the meeting because of the absence of his lawyer, and then defender Evgeny Shirokikh himself said that his client was on a business trip. Similarly, the businessman and his lawyer had eluded the proceedings several times, until Stupin was charged with swindling in absentia and declared federally wanted. 

However, after that, the FSB received a complaint regarding the abuse of official powers and violation of the rights of persons involved in the case by employees accompanying the investigation of the Central Administrative District Directorate of Internal Affairs’ OEBiPK (Department of Economic Security and Corruption Control). Then, the Prosecutor's Office of the Central Administrative District referred the investigation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the ICR district department.

The aggrieved party – Promsvyazbank – was not happy with this; a protracted correspondence began between the agencies, and Stupin took advantage of it, leaving for Europe via Belarus.

According to the statement of the defendant charged under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Swindling on an especially large scale), former Director of Trial-Trade LLC Artem Ovsyannikov, Chief Accountant of the company Lyudmila Butkovskaya, and one of the co-founders of Arkonada Aleksandr Korshikov, who is currently a witness in the case, it was Stupin who became a beneficiary of the funds received from Promsvyazbank.

According to the investigation, he and Ovsyannikov have withdrawn a loan of 317.3 million rubles ($5.54 million) received from the bank to the accounts of controlled firms and later used these funds for their own purposes. At the same time, they took the money while being well aware of the company’s plight (by that time, the company already owed the credit organization about 2.5 billion rubles ~ $43.6 million).

Having accumulated debts, Arkonada trading network collapsed at the end of 2014. In January 2015, Trial-Trade LLC received 54 lawsuits at once. Almost all the suppliers were among its plaintiffs — LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Electrolux, Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic, which demanded about 3.5 billion rubles ($61.1 million) from the company. In addition, the company owed Promsvyazbank and Sberbank about 1 billion rubles ($17.4 million) each.

After it turned out that it was impossible to repay the debt to all even after the official bankruptcy of all Arkonada structures, the Moscow arbitration simply declared the debts repaid. Promsvyazbank did not accept this, considering that it was not a crisis that was the reason for the non-return of money, as the debtors claimed.

According to Managing Partner of Zakon law company, which represents the interests of the bank, Dmitry Stasyuk, Ovsyannikov and Stupin, who personally vouched for all the loans and left the shares of their companies, lots of goods, and even their personal property as pledge to the bank, conceived the idea of embezzling funds as early as at the stage of negotiations with the bank about business lending. To avoid responsibility, Ovsyannikov left the post of Trial-Trade LLC head immediately after receiving the funds, appointing people, whose IDs had been lost, to this post; Stupin, in turn, had sold his luxurious apartment in Shmitovsky Passage to a friend for 1 million rubles ($17.4 thousand); finally, all goods pledged to the bank were taken from warehouses and sold.

Dmitry Stupin’s lawyer argues that the damage inflicted on the injured party has already been partially repaid through the sale of the defendant's property, and Stupin voluntarily transfers a part of his income to the bank in repayment of the loan on a monthly basis.

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