Kutylkin family: Vice Governor and ‘Grey Eminence’ of Regional Police
Two functionaries of the Kuzbass Regional Administration have left their offices. Petr Shikalev, Head of the Department of Transport and Communication, has been removed from post by a court decision due to the institution of a criminal case. Ekaterina Kutylkina, Vice Governor for Industry, Transport, and Business, has voluntarily resigned. All the recent high-profile criminal cases in the region were somehow related to herself or her husband Viktor Kutylkin, ‘Grey Eminence’ of the Regional MIA Administration.
The criminal case against Petr Shikalev has been initiated on March 26, 2017. The functionary is suspected of swindling on a large scale. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) has unveiled the scheme and details of the crime. Back in September 2016, Petr Shikalev had masterminded, for reasons of greed, the production of bank transfer orders on behalf of a commercial company to pay for 1 ton of shaped metal tubes. The Head of the Department of Transport and Communication was fully aware that no contract is to be signed to supply this product and intended to pocket the proceeds of the deal. The functionary has instructed heads of transport enterprises to transfer funds to a specific account. According to the preliminary information, some 10 enterprises have fulfilled this instruction and transferred sums up to 50 thousand rubles ($886.7) each. The management of the supplier company was used blindfolded in that scheme. At the preliminary stage, Shikalev had promised to sign a contract with the commercial company to supply the tubes. In fact, he only needed its banking information to perform the scheme and had no intention to sign any contracts with it. The offence has been identified by the Directorate for the Kemerovo Region of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation in the course of operative and investigative activities.
Petr Shikalev, ex-Head of the Department of Transport and Communication
Forensic examinations have been scheduled, including an accounting inquest to determine the specific sums received by the suspect through the above-mentioned bank transfer orders. The investigators are questioning both officers of the department managed by Shikalev and representatives of transport enterprises involved into the scheme. A day before his dismissal, searches had been performed in the office and residence of the former official. The investigation logically supposes that he was not the sole perpetrator of this scam. How else could be explained the hasty resignation of Vice Governor Ekaterina Kutylkina? The department managed by Shikalev was directly subordinate to her. According to CrimeRussia sources, a day before the resignation, searches had been performed in her office as well. Officially Ekaterina Kutylkina has voluntarily resigned due to a transfer to another appointment. But this happened on the same day with the dismissal of her subordinate, which seems suspicious. Normally, when a high-ranked functionary is going to resign, the supreme management asks him/her to stay and gives some time to reconsider the decision... The resignation letter from Kutylkina was endorsed immediately, and her exit checklist has been signed on the same day. It seems that the resignation was a surprise for the Vice Governor – as if she was urged to leave.
Ekaterina Kutylkina has graduated from the All-Union Law Institute of Moscow in 1990 with a major in jurisprudence. Relocated to Kuzbass in 1991. Had been working at senior positions in commercial companies for more that 20 years. In particular, she was employed with Kuznetskugol coal company and managed a department in Antonovskoe Mine Administration Closed Joint Stock Company. Was a Director for Legal and Proprietorship Matters in the East-Siberian Metallurgical Combine Open Joint Stock Company. Was a Deputy General Director in Evrazruda Open Joint Stock Company and Vice President in Sibmetkom industrial company. In March 2014, she has taken charge over the Department for Business and Consumer Market Development of the Kemerovo Region. In February 2015 was appointed the Vice Governor for Industry, Transport, and Business.
Ex-Vice Governor Ekaterina Kutylkina
Kutylkina is not the first official in the Kemerovo region who had to resign or was dismissed in the last six months. In October 2016, First Vice Governor Maksim Makin has voluntarily requested to be temporarily (for the duration of the inquest) removed from his post. In November 2016, First Vice Governor Aleksander Danilchenko, Vice Governor for Liaison with Law Enforcement Authorities Aleksei Ivanov, Yelena Troitskaya, Head of the Department of Administrative Structures of the Administration of the Kemerovo Region, and Sergei Kalinkin, Head of the Investigations Directorate in the Kemerovo Region of the ICR, have been removed from their posts due to a high-profile scandal pertaining to the attempted raiding takeover of the controlling block of shares in Inskoy pit and subsequent initiation of a criminal case. In the end of March 2017, Pavel Mullin, the new Head of the Regional Investigations Directorate and successor to detained Kalinkin, has been removed from office by a Presidential Order and became a suspect in a criminal case. A number of officials from the regional and local administrations, including ex-Mayors, had been charged in ‘lesser’ criminal cases; some of them have already been sentenced to prison terms.
Ekaterina Kutylkina and her husband Viktor Kutylkin, Deputy Head of the General Administration for the Kemerovo Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, are supposed to be questioned by the investigators in the near future. They might be charged in the framework of the swindling criminal case – their names had popped up in relation to all high-profile dismissals in the last two years. After each new arrest, rumors had circulated that this family is to be prosecuted as well – but every time, the high-ranked governmental servants managed to get away unscathed, for example, after the scandal with the construction of a new house in the town of Belogorsk for people resettled from dilapidated and unsafe housing. The funds for the construction had been allocated from the federal budget. According to activists of the All-Russia People’s Front, officials have embezzled some 13 million rubles ($230.5 thousand). Allegedly, Viktor Kutylkin had covered up the scam. The general’s name was also mentioned in relation to the story of Inskoy pit and criminal case against Pavel Mullin. After the resignation of his wife, rumors have sparked that the MIA general is about to leave his post as well – apparently, voluntarily.
Viktor Kutylkin started his service in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1986, in the MIA Administration for the City of Novokuznetsk. Served as a militiaman in a detached battalion of the Patrol-Guard Service, investigator, and Head of the Inter-District Operations and Search Division for Combating Tax Crimes. Graduated from several higher education establishments: Khabarovsk Higher School of the MIA of the USSR and Academy of Tax Police of the Federal Tax Police Service; completed a post graduate military course in the Academy of Economic Security of the Russian MIA. Kutylkin is a Ph.D. in Economics. In 2005, he was appointed a Deputy Head of the Administration for Combating Tax Crimes of the Criminal Militia of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region. In 2007–2011 was the Head of the Administration for Combating Tax Crimes. Then was appointed a Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region. On February 23, 2012 received the rank of police major general.
Viktor Kutylkin is called ‘Grey Eminence’ of the Regional MIA General Administration. He became its First Deputy Head during the rule of Aleksander Elin, the previous regional police chief dismissed in 2012 after a series of scandals related to killings of suspects by police officers. At that time, local experts had expected Kutylkin to be appointed to the newly-vacant general’s position. He had even visited Moscow several times as the Acting Head of the MIA General Administration – but still hasn’t got a ‘blessing’ from Rashid Nurgaliev, then-Minister of Internal Affairs. According to some sources, the Ministry was not pleased with the performance of Kutylkin. Therefore, Yuri Larionov was appointed the Head of the MIA General Administration – while Kutylkin became a ‘perpetual Deputy Head’. But since that time, rumors started circulating that it is Viktor Kutylkin – not official commander Yuri Larionov – who actually ‘rules’ the law enforcement agency.
Viktor Kutylkin, Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region
Furthermore, he ‘rules’ the MIA General Administration so masterfully that it is impossible to pick on. The service record of the major general demonstrates loads of experience and plenty of useful connections, especially in the economic sphere.
When the media started an offensive against Maksim Makin, First Vice Governor of the Kemerovo Region (voluntarily resigned in the end of September 2016; allegedly – temporarily, for the duration of the probe into the operations of Teploenergo company where he used to work in the past), the name of Viktor Kutylkin had repeatedly popped up in connection with the name of Makin – and not coincidentally. In the end of May 2016, it was reported that Makin had launched illegal coal mining operations in the Prokopievsky district (Koksovaya-2 mine; coal is being mined there without license) through structures controlled by him. The operations had been covered up by Aleksei Ivanov, Vice Governor for Liaison with Law Enforcement Authorities (arrested after the scandal with Inskoy pit), and Viktor Kutylkin, Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region. According to the source, the mined coal is being sold and ‘cashed out’ via Dmitry Nikolaev and Stroyservis Closed Joint Stock Company.
By the most conservative estimate, the region has sustained damages of 1 billion rubles ($17.7 million) due to the illegal coal mining and siphoning off sale proceeds to offshore companies. Thus, the illegal business involves not only the ‘inner circle’ of Tuleev, but also the supreme command of the Regional MIA General Administration who cover it up. It is necessary to note that Viktor Kutylkin is familiar very well with illegal coal mining schemes – during the rule of the previous head of the Kuzbass police, he had supervised the struggle against ‘black diggers’ and repeatedly described the methods used by illegal miners at press conferences. Back in 2011, he had stated that illegal coal diggers are just mere executors, while the masterminds behind them are organized criminal communities operating under the cover of legal coal enterprises, local officials, and watchdog authorities. Lands of former coal pits leased out by local authorities for remediation are often used for illegal coal mining in the Kemerovo region. Sometimes legal coal enterprises are mining so-called ‘off-balance reserves’ – this allows their managers to gain dozens and hundreds of millions of rubles. In fact, such companies are running shady business: neither do they pay the mineral tax nor income tax on the illegally mined coal. Other enterprises sell the coal mined by ‘black diggers’ and their managers pocket the shady profits after ‘laundering’ those. If a person knows in detail a criminal scheme, it is easy for him to replicate it or even improve – e.g. make it more difficult to detect.
The story of Koksovaya-2 mine is not the only example when the names of Kutylkin and Makin were mentioned together. For instance, another series of exposés had been published last spring; it was dedicated to the First Vice Governor and described one of the schemes used by Makin in collaboration with law enforcement services. This refers to the attempted takeover of hydro and heat providers (NEK Limited Liability Company, NUK Limited Liability Company, and Novokuznetsky Vodokanal (Novokuznetsk Water Service Company)) by companies affiliated with Makin.
In addition, the Kutylkin spouses were indirectly accused of administrative pressure on businesses in favor of their family interests. This relates to Rank 2 company specializing in production of mining machinery and research technologies. In the last 5 years, the company has been harassed by endless tax audits, seizures of documents by MIA structures, and lawsuits – despite the fact that it produces equipment used all over the country and even exported abroad and pays taxes in the Kemerovo region. At the same time, another similar company, Oks-Trade, does not suffer from audits and checks. The reason is simple: Met-Intel Closed Joint Stock Company is one of its founders. Esenia Viktorovna Kutylkina (her married last name is Soikina) is the General Director of Met-Intel; she is a daughter of the Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region and ex-Vice Governor of the Kemerovo Region.
According to the tax declaration for the year of 2015, the annual income of Viktor Kutylkin, Deputy Head of the MIA General Administration for the Kemerovo Region, was 1.84 million rubles ($32.6 thousand). He owns a land lot with the total area of 4 thousand square meters, residential home with the living space of 145.3 square meters, and 1/3 share in an apartment with the living space of 64.5 square meters. The spouse of the policeman owns an equal share in the same apartment, 2 garages, nonresidential premises with the area of 181.3 square meters, Toyota Land Cruiser built in 2005, and 20-year-old tractor-trailer. Her annual income was 2.108 million rubles ($37.4 thousand). With such humble revenues, they managed to acquire a whole peninsula in the Kemerovo district and build a family estate there. It is located close to Elykaevo settlement, near a quiet village on the skirts of the taiga. Viktor Kutylkin has purchased this land in 2014. The lot had been registered in the cadastre two years prior to the acquisition, and at that time, its area was indeed 4 thousand square meters. But the current Google map of that location shows a whole complex of buildings occupying at least 10 thousand square meters and expanding far beyond the original lot.
This complex includes a residential home, large bathhouse, home for housekeepers, and other structures not mentioned in the declarations. An electric power line has been specifically built to connect the peninsula with the power grid. In that context, the question asked by activists of the All-Russia People’s Front is absolutely logical: If all these assets belong to the Kutylkin family, why haven’t those been declared? On the other hand, if some unknown person has illegally built these structures on vacant lands, why does not the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) perform an inquest, jointly with the Prosecutor’s Office, due to the presence of buildings on a publicly-owned land lot not registered in the cadastre?
As of today, plenty of inconvenient questions to the Kutylkin family remain unanswered. For a number of years, these people were involved into the key economic processes in the region through their official positions. It can’t be ruled out that the recent events amid the anti-corruption wave sweeping through the entire Russia could unveil numerous shady schemes run in the Kemerovo region and involving high-ranked governmental authorities.