Berezovsky’s ex-guard admits to preparing compromising materials on top officials

Berezovsky’s ex-guard admits to preparing compromising materials on top officials
Sergei Sokolov Photo: Irina Buzhor / Kommersant

In his letter, Sergei Sokolov confessed to executing orders to falsify compromising materials on top-management of Toliattiazot and State Duma’s Speaker.

Sergei Sokolov, a former chief guard of Boris Berezovsky, wrote a letter from Lefortovo detention center with a confession that he had executed orders to falsify compromising materials on top management of Toliattiazot and State Duma’s Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

As RBC reports, the former security chief of Boris Berezovsky and the founder of Atoll security company, Sergei Sokolov, was arrested in January this year. He was placed in the Lefortovo detention center. In his letter, he admits to falsiying compromising materials on Timur Prokopenko, deputy head of Kremlin’s Internal Policy Department, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, top managers of Toliattiazot Vyacheslav Suslov and Nikolai Neplyuev, deputy director of Penitentiary Service Vladislav Tsaturov, as well as officials of the Finance Ministry.

Sokolov's lawyer Shamsudin Tsakaev believes that his client has something to admit to. Sokolov announced that this letter is a "repentance." "It’s a repentance to the whole world and an attempt to change my life completely," he writes in his letter.

Sokolov said that during public activities with employees of his company "Analytics and Security " and with the help of contacts in law enforcement agencies and the media, he received orders from various people to collect compromising materials on certain persons. For this, he received “big money." The detainee decided not to disclose names of the customers.

“When it was impossible to collect compromising materials due to a lack of information, we told a customer about this and started to make up “dirt”, and then got money for this. I would like to apologize to those people who we spelled backward,” Sokolov writes.

In his letter, Sokolov also writes about his "work" to discredit Vyacheslav Suslov, the general director of Toliattiazot corporation, and Financial Director Nikolai Neplyuyev. By the order of  "some high-ranking persons” and with the help of those who are serving their terms under the same criminal case, Sokolov prepared  a whole series of compromising materials and fictitious stories,” as a result of which Suslov and Neplyuev “could be behind bars for the links with Ukrainian terrorist groups," says the former chief guard of Berezovsky. "It happened only because our customers wanted to get what they did not have," he writes. Sokolov did not specify where this information was expected to be published.

In December 2016, FSB detained militants and sponsors of the Islamic State (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) in the Samara region, Rosbalt reported. Operatives seized a grenade launcher, lots of cartridges, a bomb and extremist literature on the territory of Toliattiazot. In the village Zubchaninovka of the Kirovsky district of Samara, two accomplices of the IS were detained. Rosbalt reported that this situation could provoke a lot of questions to the management of Toliattiazot enterprise (in particular, to its general director Vyacheslav Suslov).

When answering to the question whether Toliattiazot is going to take any actions after Sokolov's confession, a representative of the press service of the company told that " Toliattiazot does not exclude some actions that will protect the name and reputation of the company and its management."

One of the largest enterprises of the chemical industry in Russia is controlled by Vladimir Makhlay’s family. In the summer of 2008, Dmitry Mazepin’s Uralkhim acquired 10% of Tolyattiazot from Renova, and there has been an equity conflict in the company ever since. According to Uralkhim, a criminal case of swindling was initiated in 2012, the defendants of which were Makhlay and his son Sergey – both are internationally wanted. In late December of 2017, the Prosecutor General’s Office referred this criminal case to the Komsomolsky District Court of Tolyatti. RBC has sent a request to Uralkhim with a request to comment on Sokolov’s statement.

Next time, Sokolov recalled, he was looking through the site of Analitika I Bezopasnost and “saw the material connected with Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate Vladislav Tsaturov.” “I didn’t know who it was, what he did, and what he was accused of. I asked my colleagues that were dealing with this case, and they told me they had got a fishing expedition order in respect of Tsaturov, for which they had received good money,” the arrestee continues. Then he learned that no real dirt had been found, and Tsaturov was framed, with the compromising material already prepared for publication by several media sources.

After reading the material, Sokolov was even surprised by how ‘smooth’ was the fake story about Tsaturov. “In the published articles, Tsaturov was exposed for the embezzlement of budgetary funds, the connections with thieves in law, crime lords, and big businessmen, as well as the receipt of kickbacks for distribution of convicted persons by prisons,” the author of the letter said. “I had a hand in defaming an innocent man,” Sokolov wrote, admitting he was “sick of it”, and he wanted to “repent for his blindness and indifference.”

In December 2009, Internal Service Colonel Vladislav Tsaturov took over as head of the organization dealing with prisons and pre-trial detention centers’ activity – the Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate. In March 2015, he was dismissed by the order of President Vladimir Putin. Tsaturov had been considered a prospective head of the Federal Penitentiary Service. His departure from the penitentiary service put an end to the confrontation between the two inter-departmental groups, Izvestiya wrote. Tsaturov's resignation was preceded by a series of publications stating that the employees of the department he headed had been allegedly creating comfortable conditions for crime lords in prisons and detention centers.

The people ‘commissioned’ to Sokolov also include those against whom “he has not committed criminal or defamatory actions, but was going to.” The author of the message gives two names – Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, when he was First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, and Deputy Head of the Internal Policy Department of the Presidential Administration, Timur Prokopenko.

In conclusion, Sokolov admitted that he was “happy to be in Lefortovo,” since if he had not been stopped

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