Connection found between investigator Shiskina’s murder and investigation into corruption within Russian Railways, and Colonel Zakharchenko’s arrest

Connection found between investigator Shiskina’s murder and investigation into corruption within Russian Railways, and Colonel Zakharchenko’s arrest
Evgenia Shishkina, the victim

Investigator Andrey Stepanov who’s working on the investigation related a potential withdrawal of the Russian Railways’ money with the help of the electronic system of ticket selling had been directly subordinated to the victim.

The murder of the senior investigator for especially important cases of the Linear Division of the MIA’s Transport Police in Russia’s Central Federal District Evgenia Shishkina may have the connection with the withdrawal of the Russian Railways’ money with the help of the electronic system of ticket selling. The system is run by Andrey Yakunin, a son of a former president of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin. This is being reported by Novaya Gazeta. According to it, the investigator Andrey Stepanov who headed the investigation into ‘Yakunin’s case’ had been directly subordinated to the victim - Evgenia Shishkina. The investigation intensified, as soon as the acting head of the T Department of the Central Anti-Corruption Board (GUEBiPK) of the Russian Interior Ministry Dmitry Zakharchenko was arrested in September 2016.

In February 2016, head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) Navalny stated that the Ministry of Internal Affairs “commenced an examination into Yakunin’s corrupt activities within the Russian Railways.” He reported the Foundation’s interest in scams related to the electronic system of ticket selling through the son of the Railways’ head, and also added that the Foundation’s lawyer Viacheslav Gimadi had met the investigator Stepanov who’s “working on Yakunin’s case.”

The FBK's investigative reports on the scams related to the Russian Railways’ trains’ ticket selling were published in April 2014. Then, the Foundation turned to Russia’s PM Dmitry Medvedev demanding to carry out a check into the electronic system of ticket selling and dismiss the company’s president Vladimir Yakunin from the office. Scanned copies of the documents attached to the report brought to light the fact that Andrey Yakunin, the son of the company’s president, received his share from each of 15 million tickets sold for the Railways’ trains through the firms controlled by him - UFS (Universal financial system) and Elektronny bilet (Electronic ticket). The FBK calculated that in 2012, the UFS alone made around 2.7 billion rubles ($40.8 million) out of the ticket selling.

In a statement addressed to Medvedev, the FBK wrote that the UFS and Elektronny bilet companies were found by a Cyprian offshore company Am Ebookers. The offshore’s shares are divided between Cyprian companies Atlant Services and Verlys Nominees owned by the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus - Vera Lyssiotis and her father, Renos Lyssiotis. Viy Managment investment company and its several projects - including a hotel chain built at the Russian Railways’ railway stations - is also registered in the name of Lyssiotis. Andrey Yakunin is credited as its CEO and founder on the Viy Managment’s website.

The FBK assumed that the Lyssiotis family are the company’s nominee shareholders. They own shares of the Am Ebookers, a founder of the UFS and Elektronny bilet. These companies’ final beneficiary, according to the FBK theory, is Vladimir Yakunin’s family. As such, the entire number of electronic ticket selling on the Railways’ partner websites is controlled by Yakinin, the FBK believes.

The FBK has been attempting to contact the PM Medvedev for almost two years but did not receive any response. The examination, as was noted, was commenced in February 2016 only - with nothing meaningful done up to September 2016, when the Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko was arrested. It was found out during the investigation that he and his relatives own three apartments and 9 billion rubles ($136.3 million) in various currencies. Novaya Gazeta had reported that the operatives managed to detain Zakharchenko while conducting a search of money withdrawn from the Russian Railways. The fact that the Colonel was arrested encouraged MIA’s interest in the company - including its Transport Unit Evgenia Shishkina worked at.

Novaya Gazeta assumes that - while investigating Yakinin’s part in the funds’ withdrawal with the help of the electronic system of ticket selling - Shishkina might have encountered and obtained ‘explosive’ documents and data. After that, the investigator started receiving threats. After the risks failed, it was decided to murder the investigator.

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