Cashing-out advances against Main Investigations Administration
After the high-profile terminations in the General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation caused by the findings of an audit commission dispatched from Moscow, it seemed that the MIA General Administration could breathe a sigh of relief. However, according to sources, the next target of the new command is the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, to be specific – its economic subdivision. The CrimeRussia was figuring out whether general Oleg Antropov, Head of the Main Investigations Administration, has real reasons to be concerned or not.
The visit of the team of auditors under the command of general Eduard Sobol has affected all divisions of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region – except for the Main Investigations Administration. According to sources, general Aleksander Romanov, former Head of the Main Investigations Administration and current Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, had personally asked the inspectors of Eduard Sobol to be loyal to this structure. As a result, the performance of the Main Investigations Administration was recognized satisfactory – unlike the rest of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region whose work was found unsatisfactory.
Aleksander Romanov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs
It is necessary to note that the Main Investigations Administration had always stood apart from other divisions. Its head, general Oleg Antropov, is a nominal Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. In fact, neither Umnov nor his predecessors had meddled in the investigation-related affairs.
But now rumors are circulating in the city that general Roman Plugin has a different view on the ‘independence’ of the police investigation service.
According to some information, audits are currently ongoing in the economic subdivision of the Main Investigations Administration, and officers of the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th Departments are under pressure. It is hard to say yet whether this is a continuation of the policy aimed at the removal of high-ranked St. Petersburg natives from the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region or not. However, a large-scale purge of the Main Investigations Administration became imminent even before the surprising appointment of Roman Plugin to St. Petersburg.
Roman Plugin, Head of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region (on the right)
As The CrimeRussia wrote earlier, the first signal that something is wrong was received back in 2016 – at that time, the Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption launched a probe against colonel Natalia Morozova, then-Head of the 4th Department of the Main Investigations Administration and the most influential investigator in the city. The scandal has resulted in her termination – and since then, the police investigation division was not mentioned in criminal news.
According to the sources, new arrests of officers of the economic subdivision of the Main Investigations Administration are forthcoming. There are three versions explaining this.
Version one. The current problems in the Main Investigations Administration may originate from the purge planned by general Aleksander Romanov. After the appointment of Marina Matveeva a judge of the Statutory Court of St. Petersburg, Romanov retained her proteges in the division, including notorious Natalia Morozova. However, as it is known, her excessive self-sufficiency has led to a serious conflict with colleagues from the Regional Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, which resulted in searches and termination of Morozova. Then general Romanov has scored, with the support of his ‘high patrons’ in the Kremlin, an administrative win against Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, and became not only his deputy – but also a ‘political counterweight’. Romanov hasn’t forgotten about the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region and always kept an eye on it. Some sources believe that Romanov was always eager to get rid of the ‘legacy of Matveeva’ – even though she had left the Main Investigations Administration a long time ago.
ЭColonel of justice Natalia Morozova, ex-Head of the 4th Economic Department of the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region
As The CrimeRussia wrote earlier, Oleg Antropov, the current Head of the Main Investigations Administration, frequently visits Matveeva and asks her for advice. Despite the termination of Morozova, her henchmen still remain in the Main Investigations Administration – so, it could be a good idea to purge the economic subdivisions from proteges of the notorious colonel.
Version two. The people of Morozova pose a threat to the image and political capital of general Romanov. Numerous complaints from businessmen about bribes charged for termination of criminal proceedings and reportedly reaching 10–35 million rubles ($153.5–537.1 thousand) may be unsubstantiated – but still can adversely affect the career aspirations of the Deputy Minister.
It is known that Plugin is a creature of Vladimir Kolokoltsev, while Aleksander Romanov is his political opponent and, potentially, a candidate for the ministerial chair.
It would be pretty logical to deliver him a blow by tearing the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region to bits. General Plugin is an ideal candidate for this job. He knows how to work under the pressure of collective unfriendliness of the personnel amid mass purges of supreme commanders. He used to serve in the MIA General Administration for Internal Security and was even nicknamed a ‘janitor'. In late 2018, experts had expected him to be appointed to a similar position in Yekaterinburg – Moscow was seriously displeased with the performance of the MIA General Administration for the Sverdlovsk Region. However, the situation in St. Petersburg turned out to be a higher priority – and Plugin was appointed there. Verbal conclusions of general Sobol reported to the Minister would be sufficient for Plugin to give a hard time to Aleksander Romanov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Chief of the MIA Investigative Department.
Money and politics
Version three is also linked with henchmen of Morozova and recent searches for 400 million rubles ($6.1 million) seized by operatives of the Main Investigations Administration in the framework of the investigation. Last week, the FSB launched a probe into searches carried out by police investigators in March. By the end of May, detained shady bankers were surprisingly released – despite grievous charges laid against them. Furthermore, it turned out that the police investigation has returned the seized millions of rubles to clients of the shady bankers.
The criminal case under part 2 of Article 172 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal banking activity) was instituted by the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region in November 2018. In the course of the searches, monetary funds – 417 million rubles ($6.4 million), $48 thousand, and €60 thousand – were seized from a female resident of St. Petersburg.
Such an outrageous situation prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to withdraw the criminal case from the Main Investigations Administration and transfer it to the Regional FSB Directorate. Shortly after that, another case was instituted against the same businessmen under Article 193 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (non-return of funds in foreign currency from abroad). Needless to say that the case against the shady bankers was handled by the above-mentioned 4th Economic Department of the Main Investigations Administration whose previous head was Natalia Morozova. Currently, her former deputy – colonel of justice Aleksei Vinokurov – is in charge of this department.
The FSB intends to interrogate the businessmen – clients of the underground cashiers – and their testimonies will determine the fate of the former subordinates of Morozova. As it is known, FSB investigators, whose headquarters are located at 4 Liteiny avenue, have their own questioning techniques – much more convincing than methods used by the police.
A potentially perspective case has resulted in a controversial situation for the Main Investigations Administration. Nine persons were detained in the course of the searches of dummy companies and residences of shady bankers. All of them expressed willingness to collaborate with the investigation – and the court released the suspects under home arrest. However, the capture of some members of the criminal group hasn’t terminated operations of the shady bankers – as a result, new episodes and suspects appeared in the criminal case. According to the sources, this group was a part of the tremendous cashing-out empire created by former FSB colonel Sergei Radzivilyuk.
Retired FSB colonel Sergei Radzivilyuk
The clampdown on the Radzivilyuk’s empire could become a milestone in the struggle against economic crimes. However, the sources reasonably believe that such structures cannot operate without an ‘enforcement support’ – and all financial flows are under strict control. Apparently, the FSB investigation is especially interested in this aspect of the criminal case. The CrimeRussia will continue monitoring the situation with the economic subdivision of the Main Investigations Administration of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.
Presumably, it concerns the US response to Ukraine’s help in the investigation against Joseph Biden, Trump’s main rival in the 2020 presidential election, who allegedly was in collusion with Kiev during the previous campaign.