Voentelekom management suspected of embezzlement in supplies of special equipment to Ministry of Defense

Voentelekom management suspected of embezzlement in supplies of special equipment to Ministry of Defense
Deputy Director General of Voentelekom JSC Oleg Savitsky Photo: Kommersant

First Deputy Director General of the company Oleg Savitsky and its Financial Director Evgeny Zhilkov have been detained on suspicion of swindling on an especially large scale.

Officers of the FSB and the ICR Main Military Investigations Directorate have searched the offices of Voentelekom JSC and its partner companies in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Kommersant reports. The company management is suspected of swindling in the supply of special equipment to the Ministry of Defense, including the routers awarded the Prioritet-2017 prize in the field of import substitution.

Following the searches, First Deputy Director General of the company Oleg Savitsky, its Commercial Director Evgeny Zhilkov, and former Advisor to the Director General Dmitry Semiletov were detained. The office of Voentelekom Director General Aleksandr Davydov and Head of the company's Procurement Department Denis Starovoytov have also been raided. According to Kommersant’s sources, boxes with seized documents have been taken away from Voentelekom’s office on three minivans. It is possible that after the interrogation of the suspects, investigators can apply to the Khamovnichesky Court of Moscow with petitions for their arrest.

The ICR Main Military Investigations Directorate initiated a criminal case under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Swindling on an especially large scale) after the check by the Main Military Prosecutor's Office. According to the investigation, since 2013, Voentelekom’s management had been using various schemes to substantially overstate prices when concluding contracts with the Ministry of Defense, including for the supply of equipment as part of the import substitution program. For example, the Ministry of Defense would pay an average of 1 million rubles ($17 thousand), whereas its market value did not exceed 350 thousand rubles ($6 thousand). Thanks to this scheme, the software supplier Emzior LLC earned more than 200 million rubles ($3.4 million) in 2016. The intellectual owner of developments Emzior Technology, which is headed by the sister of Voentelekom director general, Olga Davydova, earned about 40 million rubles ($681 million) on the overestimation scheme. Emzior LLC is headed by former employees of Masshtab Research Institute JSC, headed by Aleksandr Davydov – a witness in the criminal case – until 2013.

It is not the first time that Voentelekom has come to the attention of the law enforcement bodies. In 2015, Aleksandr Davydov’s predecessor as the company’s director general Nikolay Tamodin was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for embezzling funds allocated for the implementation of defense state contracts. Under his leadership, Voentelekom would sell the Ministry of Defense written-off equipment. Spare parts, tools and accessories for military communications equipment discharged from the books would be transferred to Voentelekom’s branch in Mytishchi – Spetsremont, which would then sell them to the ministry under fictitious contracts through Sistema Svyaz CJSC and Rosservis. The damage amounted to 714 million rubles ($12.1 million). The founder of Rosservis was Nikolay Tamodin himself, and that of Sistema Svyaz was his father-in-law Igor Naumov, who was sentenced to four and a half years in prison following an investigation.

According to several head of defense industry companies, interviewed by Kommersant, the case of Voentelekom is a result of “some kind of conflict.” According to the publication’s sources, Davydov has numerous “powerful enemies.”

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