Dumping and sand extraction business in Moscow region: Easy way to make millions 

Dumping and sand extraction business in Moscow region: Easy way to make millions
It is no secret that garbage dumps in the metropolitan area are a super-profitable business Photo: The CrimeRussia

Noginsk District of the Moscow Region, law enforcement authorities have recently launched an inquest against 27-year-old Anton Manegin, co-owner of Timokhovo landfill site and son of its General Director Konstantin Manegin, on suspicion of complicity in siphoning off funds via a network of contractors.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) is carrying out a financial review of business transactions and their recording in the reporting documentation of contractors working for Timokhovo Polygon Open Joint Stock Company. The landfill site operator had signed agreements on a sole source basis with contractors, including those whose founder or director was the son of its director. The investigation is reviewing this scheme. The investigation does not rule out that funds of Timokhovo Polygon Open Joint Stock Company were siphoned off through overpriced contracts signed with these companies. For example, the total amount of contracts awarded to Maks Limited Liability Company, whose sole owner is Manegin junior, in 2012–2014 is over 1 billion rubles ($17 million),” – the source told.

It is necessary to note that Timokhovo is the largest landfill site in Russia – its area is 114 ha and it takes over 1 million tons of waste every year. Konstantin Manegin, an Honorary Citizen of the Noginsk district who was twice elected a Deputy of the District Council from Edinaya Rossiya (the United Russia) Party, is in charge of this enterprise since 1996.

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Father and son Manegin

Manegin junior is under investigation in the framework of a criminal case instituted against his father in late July 2017 under item (b), part 2 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Illegal Enterprise Attended by Profit-Making on an especially large scale). Following a motion brought by the investigation, the court has placed Manegin senior under home arrest.

“In the framework of the investigation, the dumping site, the office of the joint stock company located in Noginsk, and the contractors have been searched,” – a source in the Inter-District Inspection for the Moscow region of the Federal Tax Service told.

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It is no secret that garbage dumps in the metropolitan area are a super-profitable business. Svetlana Dolgova, an activist of the All-Russia People’s Front and member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, is well aware of this. Dolgova has been struggling against illegal dumps in the last few years.

Participants of March Against Corruption public movement have posted on the Internet an audio record of a conversation between Dolgova and some Pavel, a representative of the garbage business: the female activist adamantly insists on the sum of 2.5 million rubles ($42.6 thousand) that must be paid to ‘annul’ the meeting against a legal solid domestic waste landfill in the town of Klin of the Moscow region and continue the struggle against unauthorized dumping grounds.

The garbage business is among the most criminalized ones in Russia – after all, the money does not stink; therefore, the garbage transportation logistics still remains non-transparent. Its exposure is one of the key ways to eliminate both large-scale environmental offences and ‘garbage’ corruption – if the environmentalists and ‘garbage’ businessmen can track the garbage trucks using GLONASS, their actions would comply with the current legislation.

Above-mentioned Dolgova was arrested in August 2017 by Khimki Court, and an extortion criminal case has been initiated against her under part 1 of Article 30 and part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. She was arrested red-handed – Dolgova received 2 million rubles ($34.1 thousand) from businessmen extracting sand and gravel mix near Obukhovo village of the Solnechnogorsk district. Posing as a representative of long-closed Istro-Senezhskoe Production EnterprisePoultry Holding” Closed Joint Stock Company, Dolgova had promised, in exchange for that sum, to stop protest actions and complaints against Serokvel’ Limited Liability Company extracting sand and gravel mix in the Solnechnogorsk district.

However, Khimki Court – that had earlier remanded Dolgova in custody – has changed her pretrial restrictions soon. The criminal case against her is still under investigation. Dolgova calls all accusations against her a “frame-up”.

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Svetlana Dolgova, activist of the All-Russia People’s Front and member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation   

The CrimeRussia became aware that in summer 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Moscow region has terminated operations of a huge quarry 182 ha in area located near residential homes of Mayak (Lighthouse) Gardeners' Non-Commercial Partnership. However, the company’s mine excavators are still there. Naphtha residues have been found in drinking wells – the quarry is being dug in the Istra River floodplain. As a result, the river water balance is disturbed, while polluted waters flow to the storage reservoir. It is necessary to note that the contractor has no work permit. TransAgroExport company has a extraction license, but according to the public cadastral map, the sand extraction site is zoned agricultural lands. This is a direct breach of the Federal Law of the Russian Federation № 2395-1 On Subsoil, Land Code of the Russian Federation, Federal Law № 101-FZ, and Federal Law On Insolvency (Bankruptcy) in relation to the property rights.

It appears, therefore, that despite the prohibition issued by the Regional Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the businessmen managed to ‘settle’ the issue with the assistance of venturous environmentalists. This is the only possible explanation why the activist caught red-handed is at liberty, while the sand extraction from the pit whose owners had given her a bribe is ongoing. What about the audio record where Dolgova provides her fee for ‘settling’ garbage issues – 2.5 million rubles ($42.6 thousand)?..

The CrimeRussia has provided just a few examples of the ‘ecobusiness’ smoothly running in the Moscow region. It turns out that a family dumping site can be easily established for money. It is possible to dump garbage in any place because the unauthorized landfill site may be shut down or may be not – for money. It is possible to mine anything anywhere for money. The sandpit and garbage generals are very skillful in that business.

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