Witness in case of customs duty evasion becomes suspect

Witness in case of customs duty evasion becomes suspect

Initially the senior customs officer Ivan Lapshin was a witness in the case of customs duty evasion.

Ivan Lapshin, the Head of Operations Section №3 with Anti-Corruption Service of the North-West Customs Administration has been arrested under a criminal case regarding non-payment of customs charges on a large scale. The investigation is conducted jointly by the Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Economic Security Service of the Russian Federal Security Service.

The prosecutor's theory is that the senior official Boris Avakyan organized a criminal group involved in smuggling of goods into the Russian Federation. It is believed that among the illegally imported products there were a lot of clothes and expensive home appliances, passed off as cheap building supplies. Eventually, all the contraband goods were sold under forged documents. Thus, the criminals are preliminarily estimated to have inflicted the damage of 800 million rubles, however the amount could eventually rise to 4 billion rubles.

Avakyan was detained during an interview to be put under house arrest. The officer is yet to admit his guilt.

Also involved in the case are Pavel Nikolayenkov, the Vyborg customs ex-Deputy Chief for law enforcement, and Ivan Lapshin, the former Head of the Operations Section №3 with Anti-Corruption Service. According to Professional Market and Company Analysis System, the civil servants had a joint venture - a company called Torgoviy Partnior (Trading partner).

Lapshin's reputation had already been tarnished: Igor Khavronov, the ULS Logistics leader, had fired the former official with a scandal, claiming that Lapshin had tried to organize smuggling through the company's infrastructure. September 13 saw detention of the last person involved in the case.

Recently, Boris Avakyan escaped from house imprisonment – on the day of his own wedding. The investigators believe the ex-officer fled to Armenia, although his mother denies the version stoutly.

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