“Heavy artillery” against Dmitry Mikhalchenko
Billionaire Dmitry Mikhalcehnko saw a glimpse of hope as far back as a month ago. Investigation of a case against him was almost complete, yet investigators did not seem to be in a hurry to use their “heavy artillery” and charge him with creation of a gang. It seemed as if Mikhalcehnko, also known as Dima (short for Dmitry) Krikun (Rus. Screamer) and Governor 24, could get away with it. However, there have recently been reports of the investigators planning to charge him with violation of article 210 after all. The charges will allegedly be based on testimonies of defendants in Ateks’s case.
Song of official residence
High-profile Ateks’s case was not just about criminal prosecution of alleged swindlers. Russian Federal Protective Service’s Ateks CEO Andrey Kaminov, Stroyfasad Construction Company CEO Stanislav Kyuner, and entrepreneurs Dmitry Torchinsky, Sergey Litvinov, Aleksandr Rodnikov, and Sergey Perevalov attempted theft of money meant for construction of the Russian President’s official residence.
The entrepreneurs were charged with embezzlement of at least 225 million rubles of federal funds allocated for construction of the Reception House of the Russian President’s official residence. This happed between 2013 and 2015. Contractors embezzled some money allocated for the project implementation, according to investigators. Dmitry Mikhalchenko’s group of companies’ subsidiary Balstoy also participated in the project implementation alongside Ateks. The Russian Investigative Committee has recently classified the case file.
It goes without saying both the entrepreneurs and their lawyers clearly understood what a mess they have gotten themselves into and what problems they would face if they did not cooperate with the investigators. Only Andrey Kaminsky was brave enough to plead not guilty, the rest - Stanislav Kyuner, Dmitry Torchinsky, and Sergey Perevalov - agreed to plea bargains once charged.
Ateks CEO Andrey Kaminov
Defendants in a bootleg alcohol case did the same. Anatoly Kindzersky of Kokteyl-Logistik and the Ilia Ptichko’s Yujno-Vostochnaya Torgovaya Kompaniya CEOs pleaded guilty. It is not surprising at all Mikhalcehnko is frequently mentioned in all their testimonies. However, rumor has it Ateks’s case was based on Mikhalchenko's own testimonies. However, no one seems to be willing to say it is the case for sure. Even the oligarch’s numerous lawyers do not know what he said to the police and whether he said anything, as reported earlier the CrimeRussia.
Nonetheless, no one doubts Service head Evgeny Murov’s – the billionaire’s former protector - scandalous dismissal was what led to Ateks’s case. Some sources even say it is a result of the investigators trying to find additional leads that would help them get Evgeny Murov’s son Andrey.
Murov’s family lost immunity after he was dismissed. That is evident from his closest allies being under investigation, among other things. Another thing is they are not simply under investigation; they are testifying. For example, former Service lieutenant general Valery Goncharov – former Andrey Murov’s deputy - gave the police some insight into how Murov Junior dealt with things as the Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System chair, according to some reports.
Organization of organization
So, the people accused of embezzlement of the money allocated for construction of the residence in the Novo-Ogarevo District (Moscow) testified and said Mikhalcehnko was the orchestrator of the embezzlement. It is possible they may literary sound like “I was offered to steal federal funds and I agreed”, “my greed let me down”, “I am sorry”, “please give me a chance to redeem myself”, according to some sources.
As for Mikhalchenko's case, the investigators may have been waiting for Boris Korevsky’s testimonies, as reported earlier by the CrimeRussia. Without them, the investigators may have failed at proving trafficking of bootleg alcohol if the defendant’s lawyer did a good job. However, the investigators failed miserably trying to get Korevsky to confess since he used to work in law enforcement. Still, they just implemented the plan B, as you can see. Now, criminal prosecution is imminent. However, no one was fooled by a small amount of bootleg alcohol. The key words in the story were “the Ust-Luga seaport”. When journalist asked the police for comments on the oligarch’s arrest the police hinted it had to understand what role Mikhalchenko played for them to be able to understand how big the situation was, since Mikhalchenko's influence goes beyond just 1 container of bootleg alcohol.
The trafficking case defendants were arrested in March of 2016. Dmitry Mikhalchenko, the CEO of Forum, a St Petersburg company, created the gang that illegally sold expensive wines and elite alcohol, according to the police. The gang would buy alcohol in EU shops, bring it to the Hamburg seaport, disguise it as sealant, and ship it to Russia in containers. The Russian FSB and Investigation Committee searched Russian Federal Customs Service Head Andrey Belianinov in the framework of the case. The General was dismissed but was not charged with anything.
That is how “Governor 24” got into the same category as St Petersburg Governor Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin, his infamous predecessor, also known as the “night governor”. The investigators seem to be employing the same tactic as in Barsukov-Kumarin’s case, namely charging the defendant with new, more serious offences during investigation of a separate case.
Article 210 of the Russian Criminal Code offers quite a broad definition of a gang leader:
“Creation of a criminal community (criminal organisation) for the purpose of joint committing one or several grave or especially grave crimes or operation of such a community (organisation) or of its structural subdivisions, as well as coordination of criminal actions, establishment of stable relations between various independent organised groups, development of plans and creation of conditions for committing crimes by such groups or division of spheres of influence and criminal incomes between them made by a person by way of exerting influence thereof upon the participants of the organised groups <…>”.
This means any business-organization founded by Mikhalchenko or that is a part of his large group of companies can be classified as an “operating criminal community” whose contracts and agreements can be classified as “establishment of stable relations and development of plans for committing crimes”. It may very well have been the case prior to Evgeny Murov’s dismissal, according to some sources.
It is likely the entrepreneurs under investigation are in a hurry to show the investigators how eager they are to cooperate in order to only get 1 sentence and, more importantly, only have 1 criminal case opened against them. It is not uncommon for members of such “criminal communities” to be charges with new offences, since the police may very well keep discovering new ones even years later.
That is why it is worth mentioning that “creation of a criminal community” is punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison and “participation therein” is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison. One would think such a “bonus” prison term is of no interest for the entrepreneurs, as well as for other defendants of associated criminal cases who have ties to Dmitry Mikhalcehnko’s business.
However, there is only one possible explanation for such a crusade against Dima Krikun after all the years he provided many St Petersburg law enforcement officers with illegal services in the perfectly legal business field: a fight for seaports and customs terminals. The billionaire who “flew too high” thought he was a power to be reckoned with. The police does not like that: it wants people they fully control. It is even better if they do not have their own opinions, too. It seems there may soon emerge new players in the field, too, judging from this large-scale purging of northwest smuggling trails.
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