High-ranking plant employee may be behind crime group preying on Kaliningrad amber 

High-ranking plant employee may be behind crime group preying on Kaliningrad amber
Amber seized from criminals Photo: Federal Security Service Directorate

A crime group had been stealing raw amber worth 1 million rubles on a daily basis. Losses have been covered at the expense of the plant employees’ bonuses.

The other day, the Federal Security Service Directorate for the Kaliningrad region matter-of-factly reported about detaining a crime group who had been stealing raw amber from the plant in an especially large amount. The press service’s report noted that the lawbreakers had made a pipeline junction with process piping, in which the mineral is transferred from the quarry to the mining and concentration complex. The gang members used to treat and process the mineral in an underground workshop, and then sell it.

Meanwhile, according to the CrimeRussia’s source, the plant employees, including the plant management, may be behind raw amber stealing. The detained crime group members used to steal raw amber worth over 1 million rubles (!!!) on a daily basis. In their work, they applied night vision equipment, video recorders, and fm band radio. Such theft on an industrial scale could not be carried out without the knowledge, and most likely, the active participation of the plant management.

The criminals somehow managed to make an illegal tap in the process piping located in the plant’s protected area, illuminated from all sides by searchlights and equipped with a security camera system.

The law breakers set up a workshop for minerals processing and established amber distribution channels.

According to the source, the plant workers have already been denied cash bonus due to the incident.

It should be reminded that a few years ago any scandal in the amber industry of the Kaliningrad region was linked to the amber baron Viktor Bogdan. Bogdan, nicknamed Balet, is the leader of an organized crime group, who has been under the full control of Kaliningradsky yantarny kombinat (Kaliningrad Amber Plant) State Unitary Enterprise for many years using Amber plus LLC and a number of other commercial structures. According to investigation, Bogdan was able to create a production chain from mining and primary processing of the so-called solar stone to the sale, that is, export to Poland and Lithuania. However, Bogdan is not accused of smuggling, but charged under Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Attempted Swindling committed by a group of persons by previous concert, on an especially large scale). According to the criminal case materials, in the period from February 2006 to November 2012, Viktor Bogdan attempted to embezzle money on an especially large scale from the Russian budget as part of an organized crime group. We are talking about illegal VAT reimbursement for export of amber plant products in the amount of 350 million rubles. However, the law enforcers failed to arrest Bogdan, as he had providently gone abroad and settled in Poland. In early 2013, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the fugitive internationally wanted. Polish police detained Viktor, but soon released him on bail. In March 2015, the District Court of Gdańsk decided to extradite the Russian businessman. However, the Ministry of Justice of Poland refused to extradite him for political reasons.

It should be noted that the Investigative Department of the Federal Security Service Directorate for the Kaliningrad region has initiated a criminal case against the recently arrested crime group members on the evidence of offences covered by item (b), part 4 of Art. 158 of the Russian Criminal Code (Theft committed on an especially large scale). The maximum penalty under this article is up to ten years in prison.

Our
notes

The Kaliningrad Amber Plant is the only Russian organization engaged in industrial mining of amber. The field’s reserves on the Baltic Sea coast, near Yantarny village (formerly known as Palmniken) are estimated at 116 thousand tons; according to experts, about 90% of the world’s amber reserves are concentrated here. 

Caption Photo: Federal Security Service Directorate
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