Story of businessman who opposed arbitrariness and ended up being prosecuted
Criminal prosecution of Ramil Abdrakhmanov may end up being a political disaster. He is accused of gang violence and murder. Abdrakhmanov’s attorneys say he is being prosecuted for having opposed Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin’s subordinates who racket local businesspeople. Abdrakhmanov himself extorts money, investigators believe. He is known to be a member of the Gryaz (Russian for Dirt) gang. It will be up to jurors to decide the outcome of the so-called ‘dirty case’.
Kazan businessman Ramil Abdrakhmanov accused the Kazan City Administration of working with frauds and ended up being investigated for a murder that had happened 15 years ago. He is accused of participating in the Gryaz gang and violating part 2 of Art. 105 (Especially Violent Gang Murder) of the Russian Criminal Code. Abdrakhmanov says the investigation against him is bogus. He publicly stated that honest businesspeople are targeted and prevented from doing business by extortionists controlled by the Kazan City Hall. He visited a meeting with Kazan City Administration Deputy Head Ivan Kuznetsov to share information about illegal schemes employed during municipal auctions.
Abdrakhmanov is a father of four. He is an Islamic traditionalist and raises his kinds in the same manner. He got involved in ‘dirty business’. Abdrakhmanov would open a summer café near the Izumrudnoe Lake (Yundino village) every year.
Beach near the Izumrudnoe Lake
March 2, 2016, he had a talk with Kuznetsov. After that, he became a cause for four criminal investigations. When at a meeting for businesspeople running seasonal enterprises, he complained to Kuznetsov about law violations during auctioning of rights to open summer sales units. The main issue is with 'fake' businesspeople that bid and then withdraw only if paid off.
Abdrakhmanov called such people extortionists and pointed out they are allowed to run their scams by the City Administration. He believes it is easy to track the frauds down; their names are all over auctions records
Ramil Abdrakhmanov at a closed meeting with representatives of the executive committee, the prosecutor's office, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs
The City Administration does not have enough power to deal with the issue, Kuznetsov explained. However, he promised to get Kazan prosecutors involved. Abdrakhmanov told prosecutors names of extortionists. It is worth mentioning that the meeting was held behind closed doors and with public officials present. Abdrakhmanov was arrested a month later for alleged violation of article 163 (Extortion) of the Russian Criminal Code.
The high-ranking City Administration officials present at the meeting are responsible for his arrest, Abdrakhmanov believes. They did not like him telling the truth about the ways of municipal auctions. Abdrakhmanov said he was accused of extortion by a summer café owner who claimed Abdrakhmanov had tried to extort 70,000 rubles ($1,222) from him in exchange for the right to work near the Izumrudnoe Lake. The thing is, Abdrakhmanov legally won the right to work there. The alleged victim used to work at the spot. Abdrakhmanov said the owner illegally used his grid, so he demanded reimbursement. Abdrakhmanov was released with travel restrictions imposed on him. The charges were changed to violation of article 330 (Arbitrariness) of the Code.
The businessman considers his case as the revenge for truth
However, Abdrakhmanov was put in jail again in November 2016. Investigators began reviewing old cases in which he was mentioned. Abdrakhmanov was accused of negligence that resulted in injury in 2003. The investigation was about the murder of 21-year-old Gennady Morogov, a Gryaz member. The gang used to control Kirovsky district and specialized in racketing in the 2000s. Abdrakhmanov was a senior member of the gang responsible for the lake area where he currently runs his legal business, investigators believe.
Abdrakhmanov and Morogov were buddies. Morogov was a drug-addict and tormented his family, according to witnesses. The gang did not like that. Morogov could steal from his family to buy drugs. He was arrested for vandalism the day he was killed. However, he is said to have being released. Next time someone saw him he had already been killed. His body was found in a forest near the Lagernaya station. He had a lot of bruises suggesting he had been severely beaten. Abdrakhmanov and police officers who took him from home to a police station were suspected of killing him. Abdrakhmanov presented an alibi in 2003. The police officers were also exonerated. The investigation was suspended to be reopened only 13 years later. New evidence suggesting Abdrakhmanov was guilty was found, according to investigators. Four other Gryaz members are suspected alongside Abdrakhmanov. One has not been identified, another has died.
Two former gang members testified against Abdrakhmanov. They witnessed how Morogov was beaten. They claimed there was a conflict between gang members that led to Morogov beating two other gang members. One of them was Abdrakhmanov. The two decided to get even. They found three acquaintances who agreed to help them kill Morogov.
Trial of Gzyaz gang members
They took metal rods and an OSA traumatic pistol and violently beat Morogov overnight into July 12, 2003. They then dumped his body in the forest.
Accusations do not hold water, Abdrakhmanov’s attorneys believe. The testimony of so-called ‘witnesses’ had likely been forged. A handwriting analysis supports this theory. Moreover, 2003 documents proving Abdrakhmanov’s involvement in the case are missing. It is likely the high-ranking officials want Abdrakhmanov behind bars for speaking out. It is worth mentioning that Kuznetsov was dismissed on July 5, 2017. He was dismissed before an investigation into a bribe was complete. He had been arrested for alleged violation of articles 30, part 3 (Preparations for a Crime, and Attempted Crimes) and 290, part 5, item ‘c’ (Bribe-Taking) of the Code the day before. Kuznetsov was suspected of attempting to take a 500,000-ruble ($8,735) bribe in exchange for not interfering with business affairs of a Kazan company.
Ex-Kazan City Administration Deputy Head Ivan Kuznetsov
However, Tatarstan prosecutors stopped the criminal investigation against Kuznetsov, ruling it was illegal. They noted the prosecutorial inspection had not been comprehensive. The ICR was going to appeal the decision but never did. Kuznetsov simply took a vacation and then quit. He then left Tatarstan, some say. It is possible there is connection between Abdrakhmanov’s revelations, Kuznetsov’s prosecution, and Abdrakhmanov’s prosecution, Abdrakhmanov’s attorneys believe. They say investigators who investigated Abdrakhmanov just want to get even with him and to use him as a scapegoat.
However, the ICR Investigations Directorate in the Republic of Tatarstan dismissed accusation of the investigation having been politically motivated. It says Abdrakhmanov’s attorneys’ claims are an attempt to make the law enforcement appear in a bad light and win the public over.
Abdrakhmanov is not as honest a businessman as he would like to appear. He is a member of the Gryaz gang. Investigators have proven he was involved in Morogov’s murder, according to Senior Major Cases Investigator of the ICR Investigations Directorate in Tatarstan Igor Zolotov.
The Tatarstan Supreme Court will now deal with the investigation. Jurors are being chosen for the trial. Abdrakhmanov’s attorneys insist investigators have violated many laws and that prosecutors need to review it.