Yuri Luzhkov’s brother-in-law sends his lawyer to prison unwilling to pay $60thsd debt 

Yuri Luzhkov’s brother-in-law sends his lawyer to prison unwilling to pay $60thsd debt
Viktor Baturin Photo: Mikhail Pochuev/TASS

The odious businessman Viktor Baturin has initiated criminal proceedings against his lawyer, framing her for embezzlement of cow and sheep shed.⁠

An agricultural company subordinated to the notorious businessman Viktor Baturin has initiated criminal proceedings against his lawyer Saglara Bakhnikova. Baturin believes that while he was serving sentence for fraud, his lawyer embezzled a cow shed and two sheep sheds from his mother-in-law in Elista.

To recall, in July 2013, the brother-in-law of ex-Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov was sentenced to 7 years in a colony of general regime. Baturin was found guilty of two episodes of preparation for swindling with the promissory notes of Inteko company, which he founded in the 90's on an equal footing with his sister Elena Baturina. In addition, the entrepreneur was convicted of borrowing and failing to repay €250.000 from a friend.

Viktor Baturin was sent to serve his sentence in the correctional camp No.1 (IK-1) under the Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate in the Republic of Kalmykia. That is where the convict retained the services of lawyer Bakhnikova, who had previously represented his interests in one of the civil cases in Elista. The lawyer was called to help his client to leave the colony ahead of schedule. Bakhnikova gathered the convict’s characteristics in the colony administration. At the time, Baturin was already in the penal settlement, where he was engaged in agricultural activity, breeding goats, sheep, chickens and ducks, and cows.

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Baturin in the penal settlement

Bakhnikova told Kommersant that after some time Baturin had had disagreements with the penal settlement authorities, so he brought the subsidiary farm out of the colony’s control. He entrusted his lawyer to work on the construction of two sheep sheds and a cow shed in the territory of Kalmykia.

“I invested 3.5 million rubles ($60 thousand) in this business; he wrote a receipt undertaking to return this money before January 30, 2016. It was upon his request that I registered these facilities in my name, with a view to re-register them in the name of authorized representative later,” Bakhnikova pointed out.

In January 2016, Baturin was released on parole, but he failed to return the money as promised. By August of the same year, after his release from the colony, he met with his lawyer and asked her to re-register the sheep and cow shed in the name of a certain Savinov.

“At the same time, I was told that there was no possibility to refund my costs with money, and offered two cars – Land Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser – as debt-for-nature swap. We effected the deal on a net basis, without any money. Then I gave Baturin his receipt, having previously taken picture of it,” Bakhnikova says.

In the end, the lawyer received only Land Rover; they failed to give her Toyota on the grounds that it was necessary for picking up the chairman of Kalmykia Government.

A week later, Bakhnikova learned that the Toyota was even put on special protection in the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department in Elista, and a legal worker of Baturin’s agricultural enterprise had filed a report over swindling (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code) against her. From the ICR's ruling, the lawyer learnt that she had allegedly gained possession of two sheep sheds and a cow shed, built by Viktor Baturin’s mother-in-law Lyudmila Obraztsova for 15 million rubles ($252 thousand).

According to Saglara Bakhnikova, Baturin’s people have threatened her, demanding to admit the guilt and expect to get a minimum sentence.

Meanwhile, the two foreign cars, seized by decision of the court as early as in April 2017 and formally registered in the woman’s name, are wheeling all over the Russian roads – Land Rover Defender in Elista, and Toyota in Moscow. Moreover, Bakhnikova, who is currently under travel restrictions, continues to receive fines for violation of traffic rules committed in the Moscow and the Tula region. Following the woman’s complaint, the prosecutor's office made an inquiry and found out that Toyota had been transferred to the previously mentioned Savinov.

In turn, Luzhkov’s brother-in-law has refused to comment on the criminal case. Viktor Baturin said that he has “nothing to do with the criminal proceedings against lawyer Saglara Bakhnikova.”

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