Deputy Sayad Aliev again off the hook?
Scandalous searches in the office and residence of a parliamentary of the Legislative Assembly (this time – of the Leningrad Region) have disrupted the pre-election silence. Deputy Sayad Aliev, head of the regional Vodokanal, has attracted interest of investigators. Unlike his colleagues from the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly – Deputies Notyag and Nesterova – Investigative Committee officers visited Aliev not due to possible bribes or swindling. He is suspected of organizing an ethnic criminal group on Sophiyskaya vegetable warehouse.
Vegetables in headlines again
The name of Sophiyskaya vegetable warehouse is frequently mentioned in media in the last few months due to the high-profile murder of an Azerbaijan native Marif Ismailov by Emil Guseinov, the former Federal Drug Control Service officer, and subsequent attempted lynching of the shooter by the mob – which was hardly interrupted by warehouse guards and special police forces. The law enforcement authorities stated from the very beginning that this was a contract killing. Alternative versions have emerged later. According to the main (although not pronounced officially) version, carving-up of St. Petersburg markets and a new round of ethnic criminal wars are behind the murder.
The CrimeRussia has already reported that Nevskaya (Sophiyskaya) vegetable warehouse (Nart Closed Joint Stock Company) is one of the main players in the wholesale and small-scale wholesale trade segment in the Northwestern Federal District. Up to 80% of imported fruits and vegetables pass through this warehouse and then are shipped countrywide. Yesterday officers of the Main Investigations Directorate for St. Petersburg of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, together with the Russian Special Police Force and police, came not only to the Deputy’s office, but also to his home to conduct searches in the framework of a criminal case related to some ethnic criminal group. According to the preliminary information, searches in the office of Vodokanal State Unitary Enterprise located on Rastrelli square are related to violent robberies and larcenies in the warehouse. It is unknown yet whether the searches are somehow linked with the recent murder.
This is not the first intercourse of Sayad Aliev and law enforcement authorities in relation to Sophiyskaya vegetable warehouse. In the middle of the 2000s, the future deputy from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party and several other people were arrested in the warehouse by police. The officers wanted to ask Aliev a few questions with regards to some substance found on him during a personal check. The future parliamentary even had to spend 9 days in a prison cell. However, he was later released without any criminal charges. Sources link this surprising release with the friendship between Aliev and his namesake from the Criminal Investigation Department of the General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Sayad Aliev was appointed the Director of the Branch for Water Supply and Disposal of the Regional Educational Course Enterprise – the founder of the regional Vodokanal – in January 2016 because the regional government was planning to merge 136 profile municipal enterprises with Vodokanal of the Leningrad Region State Unitary Enterprise. The total monthly turnover of municipal water canals in the Leningrad region is 2.5 billion rubles.
The namesake, who is allegedly a friend of Sayad Isbarovich, is notorious Azer Aliev. In 2011 he was, together with Vasily Borovitsky, his colleague in the Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime, charged under point (c), part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Exceeding Official Powers with the infliction of grave consequences). The operatives were suspected of assistance to raiders in the illegal takeover of Frunzensky fruit and vegetable processing plant. According to the investigation, the suspects obtained several blank pages with the signature of Semen Shubik, the plant owner. These signed pages have been later used by the raiders. The operatives had to stand several trials. Ultimately, Azer Aliev was acquitted by the Oktyabrsky District Court in 2013 and continued his career in the law enforcement.
Business and interests
Deputy Aliev has extensive unofficial connections. For instance, in the 1990s, long before his election to the Legislative Assembly, Sayad Isbarovich used to communicate with an infamous Azerbaijan businessman Ismail Ragimov. Then their relations went wrong, and their origin has fallen into oblivion – together with the businessman, who died in 2003.
The 2000s have brought to Sayad Aliev a promising connection with businessman Gasrat Abbasov. The authoritative merchant was a Gigant-Hall minority shareholder. This famous concert hall and Conti casino were parts of the business empire of Mikhail Mirilashvili. According to some sources, Abbasov introduced Aliev to Andrey Nadjafov – director of Nevskaya Dubrovka furniture factory. However, the friendship ended soon with the death of Nadjafov from drug overdose. Shortly after this, the furniture factory has fallen to a raiders’ on slaught.
Of course, the official biography of the deputy is more attractive.
Sayad Isbarovich Aliev was born March 27, 1967 in Zopun village of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Graduated from several universities: St. Petersburg State Forest Technical University named after S.M. Kirov; the North-West Institute of Management of the Russian Federation Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; and the St. Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation. Since 1999 was the Production Director in Rassvet Closed Joint Stock Company, then became its Executive Director. In the period of 2001–2005 was the Principal General of Intrust Limited Liability Company. In the period of 2005–2007 held the same position in Zavod Nevsky Laminat Limited Liability Company. In 2005 was elected the Chairman of the Council of Deputies and Head of Dubrovka Township Municipal Unit.
It is necessary to note that the Dubrovka mayorship period of Sayad Aliev’s biography was marred by several scandals; one of these scandals has escalated to the federal level. First of all, the local residents did not favor much their new Mayor. After his election, specialized shops for pensioners – selling allegedly cheap vegetables – have been opened in the township. But in fact the products were sold with double extra charges; the Head of local veterans organization called this a spit to elderly people. Secondly, in July 2011 a brawl between Uzbek migrants and local residents occurred in the settlement. The ethnic conflict was so severe that Sergey Litvinenko, then–Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region, had to deal with it personally.
As soon as the ethnic conflict has erupted, the Mayor hastily left on vacation. Apparently, this trick allowed Aliev to come off this story clear.
The residents were bombarding the general with complaints on khan Aliev – this is how the local people nicknamed him. The complaints were related virtually to all aspects of Mayor’s work, including poor condition of communal services and negligence of law enforcement authorities – who did not react properly during the ethnic conflict. The official press release of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leningrad Region stated that "a number of major violations of the existing legislation have been identified. There are instances when people’s complaints were not reviewed; responses not sent to citizens’ submissions”.
In addition, numerous violations in the service industry and non-compliance with sanitary-epidemiological regulations in retail shops of Dubrovka have been found. It was also discovered that Zavod Nevsky Laminat Limited Liability Company, supervised by Aliev, had slavery work conditions. The Prosecutor’s Office has found that there was no vacation schedule in the company and labor hours standards for some staff categories had been “exceeded considerably”. Administrative cases have been initiated due to the uncovered facts.
However, angry publications in local newspapers have not prevented Aliev from running for a seat in parliamentary elections.
In December 2011 Aliev was elected a Deputy of the 5th Convocation of the Leningrad Region Legislative Assembly from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party. In January 2016 he was appointed the Principal General of Vodokanal of the Leningrad Region State Unitary Enterprise.
Issues and solutions
Since his election, Deputy Aliev was rarely mentioned in media – except for participation in festive events, greetings, and other public appearances staged by himself. For example, the acquisition of children’s buses for Rakhia settlement was widely advertised. The Deputy had no scruple to make an inscription on the buses confirming that it was him who purchased those.
It would be unwise, however, to estimate the Deputy’s wealth only by this charitable action for children. The official anti-corruption declaration of the parliamentary states that he owns two land lots with the total area of 563 square meters and a humble residential home of 72 square meters. Informal sources say that, in fact, he owns 2 homes and 3 apartments. Plus a luxury mansion in Azerbaijan worth some $10 million. All these assets originate from other, unofficial, activities of Aliev, in which his namesake in the police is allegedly also involved. They are believed to be underground financiers and problem solvers. People in the Azerbaijan community say that if you need money urgently – ask Aliev. The debtors, however, keep silence on the interest rate he charges.
In addition, the people’s Deputy allegedly provides services related to solving issues with law enforcement authorities – with support of the above-mentioned namesake. They are able to arrange a police check of a client’s competitor and cause other troubles for him. The prices are allegedly pretty high, but it is worth the cost.
Sergey Bebenin, the official representative of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party
It is quite possible that the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation starts an in-depth inquiry into the shady affairs of Aliev. It may happen that the searches and checks allow to find the mysterious client who had ordered the murder of salesman Marif Ismailov. Sergey Bebenin, the official representative of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, has already stated that, should the Investigative Committee provide strong evidence, Sayad Aliev would be immediately deprived from the Deputy’s seat. Aliev was already questioned in the Investigative Committee, but then released without any charges.
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