Head above water: Judge Starodubtsev in the ‘Anapa’s night-master’ case 

Head above water: Judge Starodubtsev in the ‘Anapa’s night-master’ case
Anapa rebelled against its patron Sergey Zirinov Photo: The CrimeRussia

Former deputy of the Krasnodar Region Legislative Assembly, businessman Sergey Zirinov was sentenced to 22 years' imprisonment in a strict-regime colony. However, according to a source of the CrimeRussia, the former deputy faced not 22 years but the maximum sentence. In fact, enormous financial resources that had fallen into the pockets of corrupt members of the judiciary were thrown so that Zirinov does not get a life sentence.

Deputy Sergey Zirinov and Anapa entrepreneur Ambartsum Eyriyan, in 1999, established a gang which included unemployed Karnik Aslanyan, assistant to the Сhairman of the Stavropol Regional Court, businessman Eduard Paladyan, athlete Amar Suloev, director of Lazurny Bereg (Cote d'Azur) LLC Anastas Tilgerov, former officer of the Moscow Special Forces Dmitry Sapozhnikov, chief of the Anapa Criminal Investigation Igor Nehaenko, and Zirinov’s personal driver and bodyguard Andrey Miroshnikov. The criminal group controlled a significant part of the business in Anapa. The gang was mainly engaged in racketeering and raiding. To achieve their goals, they resorted to physical violence over businessmen. The following crimes are on account of Zirinov’s gang: murders of CEO of JSC Sanatory Malaya Bukhta (Sanatorium Little Bay), Victor Sadovnichy and his wife, of the Orbita convenient chain stores and the shop Tovary dlya Detey (Goods for children) owner Salman Nabiyev, as well as the attempted murder of the Deputy Ataman of the urban Cossack society Nikolay Nesterenko and the murder of his driver Victor Zhuk. This crime was the latest: after 2 months, in April 2013, the police detained Sergey Zirinov, and then the rest of the gang members.

According to informed sources of the CrimeRussia, the aggregate of crimes committed by Zirinov’s gang amounted to life imprisonment, but the funded active media campaign in his defense and connections in the higher judiciary of Russia helped him to avoid the life sentence. Also, according to the source, Zirinov’s representatives have paid the amount of about 5 billion rubles to bribe officers who were involved in the investigation of this case and could affect its outcome.

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Sergey Zirinov

In such cases, as with Zirinov’s gang, it is obvious that the criminal community cannot act for so long without a reliable ‘protection’. After the defeat of the gang, massive layoffs of security forces management staff followed, but one person, the connection with whom Zirin did not particularly advertised, remained outside the media spotlight. As distinct from those who lost their posts, Chairman of the Anapa District Court Vladimir Starodubtsev – one of the key characters of the story about how the Deputy escaped the life sentence – quietly endured many years of hearings on Zirinov’s case. In particular, according to the source of the CrimeRussia, Starodubtsev as a judiciary employee had access to those who decided Sergey Zirinov’s fate, and played the role of an intermediary.

The source of the CrimeRussia reports that only the Anapa residents who rose against the Chairman’s whole family seem to have moved this ‘rock’ from the place. Currently, there is a situation is the following: literally the entire town, together with the municipal authorities, the Prosecutor's Office, and the police rose against Starodubtsev. Until January 2017, this man really was out of reach, despite the fact that his name repeatedly figured in scandals of all sorts.

As the media previously reported, the members of Vladimir Starodubtsev’s family initiated illegal construction of a café in Utrish Reserve, where construction works are prohibited in principle by law.

Utrishsky reserve Utrishsky reserve
Utrishsky reserve 
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"This place is famous all over the country. Near the village, the Utrish Nature Reserve with junipers and unique millennial pistachios is located. In the village itself one can also find Red Book trees, of which the locals are very proud. And then, last spring, on the territory adjacent to the municipal beach, first the trees were cut down, and then, directly on the pebbles, 30 meters from the water, a pit was dug. Construction progressed at accelerated pace, and, in March 2015, on the site of the excavation, there was a foundation, on which the walls of the future restaurant quickly began to rise. The entertainment and drinking venue was planned for the beginning of the holiday season, and even, they say, to the celebration, almost the stars of national music scene were invited," wrote Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

As a result of the intervention in the ecosystem, the relict trees were destroyed and natural sea beaches were mutilated. The construction of the pub caused protests of environmentalists. The chaos was stopped by the ruling of the Senior Assistant Prosecutor of Anapa District Artem Bakumov who said that the illegal construction was supervised by son Vladimir Starodubtsev’s son Alexander, his wife Olga, and his nephew Gennady Yeremenko. It transpired that the construction was actually carried out without a regulatory approval. Also, they revealed violations of environmental legislation, the law on foreign nationals, and on fire safety. 

Illegal construction Environmentalists picket 
Illegal construction
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However, illegal constructions are the weakness of Starodubtsev’s whole family. Without permits, the family of Themis’ servant was building a multistory house on Shevchenko Street, 158, Anapa. The construction was begun by the judge's son Alexander Starodubtsev, but once the public started protesting against the construction, the building was allegedly resold for 68 million rubles to a simple mechanical engineer Arthur Tevonyan.

Judge Starodubtsev and his family owns a lot of land on a leasehold basis on the Anapa coast. Here are those which Crime in Russia was able to find out about.

In addition, his son Alexander Starodubtsev owns the Anapa hotel Monarch, located on Krestyanskaya Street, 3.

After the arrest of the Deputy Zirinov, new managers came to Anapa’s law enforcement agencies, who started looking closer to the activities of Vladimir Starodubtsev’s family, despite his important position. The result of their observations was a criminal case against Starodubtsev Jr. On May 25, 2015, the investigator of the 1st Department Investigative Committee’s Main Directorate for the Krasnodar Territory initiated a criminal case against Alexander Starodubtsev under part 2 p. 6 Art. 171 of the Criminal Code (illegal business activity without proper registration with income extraction on especially large sizes). The investigation have learned about the facts of tax evasion during the sales of apartments in that very house built illegally on Shevchenko Street. 

Председатель Анапского районного суда Владимир Стародубцев On November 11 of the same year, Starodubtsev Sr.’s nephew Gennady Eremenko became the person of interest in the case. He was charged with crimes under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud committed by an organized group or on an especially large scale, or resulting in deprivation of a citizen's right to housing) and part 1 of Art. 303 of the Criminal Code (Falsification of evidence in a civil case by the person involved in the case or his representative). It is noteworthy that, in the materials of the second criminal case, there is information on the judge’s fraudulent activities. According to the investigators, in 2011, Vladimir Starodubtsev offered Bagiyan M.S. to buy from him a part of a land plot in Anapa (500 sq. m from the existing 1900 sq. m), located at Topoliny Prospect Poplar, 2, for development. At that, the ownership rights to the land belonged to Starodubtsev’s nephew Gennady Yeremenko. The price requested for the land plot was 2.5 million rubles, which was okay with the buyer. Her son paid Starodubtsev. After the erection of buildings, Yeremenko, as the owner of the land, was, according to the terms of the contract, to register all of the ownership rights to Bagiyan’s family. However, exactly this was the fraudsters’ intent. When it came to the registration, the judge's nephew submitted a claim to the Anapa City Court for recognition of ownership of the constructed real estate. In the statement of claim, he falsified information indicating that he was the builder of the real estate item. Court upheld Yeremenko’s claim and he got the rights to constructed buildings. 

Having considered the complaint of the Anapa citizens on the unprecedented high level of violations by Starodubtsev’s family, the Russian Council of Judges admitted the facts indicated in the appeal. Earlier, the Qualification Collegium of Judges of the Krasnodar Territory, in its response to the direct appeal of ICR Main Directorate for the Krasnodar Territory, recognized the conflict of interest in Vladimir Starodubtsev’s activities. Despite all this, during 2016, Starodubtsev continued to perform his duties with a prefix “acting”, since the 8-year term of office had expired. In an attempt to sit in his chair, Themis’ servant declared war also against the head of the city of Anapa, and the Prosecutor's Office, which, together with the citizens, are trying to achieve a fair investigation against him. So, on February 9, 2017, the program Moment of Truth was aired with the Starodubtsevs – father and son – talk about the fact that they are illegally pressured by the new district prosecutor Maxim Zlobin, who aims to take away the property in his own favor. The source of Crime in Russia reports that entertaining interview has caused a flurry of ridicule against Andrey Karaulov, who, according to the local residents, released the film in support of Starodubtsev’s family clan for a certain reward.

The scandal began to gain momentum. The editorial office of Crime in Russia has a statement by judge Starodubtsev’s relative in the name of the higher officials of the state, in which the facts of Starodubtsev’s family activities are described. The author states that, in an effort to evade responsibility, he shifts his responsibilities to other shoulders. Here is an excerpt from the statement (spelling and punctuation preserved - Ed.).

"I was called to the Investigative Committee in Krasnodar. I, since I didn’t understand anything, asked Olga Petrovna Starodubtseva on the issue. She told me that I was summoned with regards to a land plot in the city of Anapa, and admitted that she "slipped in" some documents when I was signing my papers on Pyramid. I demanded to immediately remove from me these obligations. Olga explained that they will be removed immediately after my arrival to the IC office and my interests there will be represented by attorney Alexander Rusak and I can only speak about the article 51 of the Criminal Code (against self-incrimination). Imagine my surprise when Olga told the investigator that she saw me for the first time and another 'blow' from a conversation with the investigator was that the Starodubtsevs registered 12 apartments from the Shevchenko Street, 156 in my name. I immediately explained that no plots and apartments have ever belonged to me and do not belong at the moment. Upon arrival, I decided to resign. But Olga and Alexander Starodubtsevs assured me not to panic and took all the property. I was not present when the registration documents were made. The (then) Director of Krit LLC, Starodubtseva Olga Petrovna, asked me to give her my passport for some time and you can’t possibly know how many times she also signed various documents on behalf of others (example: founder of Krit is the same Yeremenko, but he came to Monarch rarely and only sat in the lobby in front of the reception desk, almost all of his signatures were made by Starodubtseva O.P. As it turned out later, they reregistered the flats only in September 2015. And, the other day, I asked for a copy of the registration file in the Crimean tax inspectorate, which was also, as a result of a "random coincidence", opened by the Starodubtsevs family in my name. The activities indicated are "real estate transactions". The phone number is not mine, the signatures and at the establishing of the IE are also not mine. I found out when talking to staff the Tax Service, that the woman who designed the IE was fired and that she was a friend of Starodubtseva Olga Petrovna."

The CrimeRussia will follow the development of the conflict between judge Starodubtsev’s family and the residents of Anapa.

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