13 "cashiers" gang members arrested in a large-scale operation in St. Petersburg
Security forces concluded investigation of a financial organized crime group in St. Petersburg whose leaders include a nephew of Deputy Minister of Defense Shevtsova.
Following searches conducted yesterday in 60 offices and homes of St. Petersburg, the Investigative Committee detained 13 persons suspected of financial machinations and illegal goods and services tax refunds. Fontanka.ru reports that the list of detainees includes 42-year old Sergey Semenov, 33-year old Alexey Anokhin (nephew of Deputy Minister of Defense Tatyana Shevtsova), Smirnov, Zvyagintsev, Reshetov, and eight more businessmen.
Charges haven’t been laid yet. Pre-trial restrictions are currently under consideration. So far, all the suspects are detained for 48 hours. Criminal cases have been initiated due to facts of illegal goods and services tax refunds, illegal banking activities, and legalization of criminal income.
Alexey Brilliantov, Head of the Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption of the Russian MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, says that the suspects utilized a scheme pretty common for such crimes. ‘Dummy companies’ purchased nonferrous scrap metal, mainly copper and aluminum, in various cities of Russia. Then they were reselling it to each other multiple times at increasing prices. Ultimately, the scrap metal reached Svelen Group of Companies Limited Liability Company. According to the documents, this St. Petersburg plant was processing the scrap metal, although in fact it was just compacted and exported as nonferrous metal (as opposed to scrap metal). The point is that, according to legislation dated 2008, goods and services tax is not refunded for scrap metal. However, the fraudsters applied to the tax service for refunds. The investigation is aware of 30 illegal tax refund episodes for the total amount over 1 billion rubles. The nonferrous metal had been sold mainly to Germany and Austria, while the illegal profits ended up in Cypriot, Lithuanian and British offshore companies.
Furthermore, currently the investigators are checking whether the metal in question ever existed in reality or only on paper. The very existence of real foreign buyers is also doubtful.
Experts note that illegal goods and services tax refund schemes require patronage from tax officials. Recent searches included several St. Petersburg branches of the Federal Tax Service; however, there is no information of arrests among fiscal officials yet.
The criminal case may go to the court based on the Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Organization of criminal community).
Video: Security forces uncovered a large group of ‘cashiers’ in St. Petersburg