Alternative version. Businessman affiliated with Orekhovskie gang charged with attempted murder of police officer committed 20 years ago
Lawyer Evgeny Kharlamov representing Odintsovo businessman Sergei Vyalkov, whose name used to be associated with Orekhovskie organized criminal group, believes that his client was framed-up. The businessman has been charged with attempted murder of a police officer committed back in 1998. To be specific, the investigation considers Vyalkov the mastermind behind the failed assassination attempt. The defense attorney can’t say who is trying to put the blame for that crime on the businessman and, most importantly, with what purpose. Still, he has some insights and agreed to share those with The CrimeRussia.
The criminal case against Odintsovo businessman Sergei Vyalkov offers more questions than answers. It stems from testimonies of convicted members of Orekhovskie organized criminal group. Killers Marat Polyansky and Aleksander Vasilchenko and gang leader Sergei Butorin (Osya) have suddenly remembered that Vyalkov had contracted the assassination of Nikolai Petrov, former Deputy Head of the Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Administration for the Central Administrative District of the City of Moscow of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation. Sergei Vyalkov, Sergei Butorin, and Nikolai Petrov used to serve the compulsory military service together. Then their ways have separated: the first one became a businessman, the second – a bandit, and the third – a policeman. Vyalkov and Butorin had common affairs and communicated with each other – but not with Petrov. Once Vyalkov accidentally met Petrov in an airport; they had a confabulation and remembered their comrade-in-arms Butorin. Vyalkov said that they are still communicating and Petrov asked to say hello to Osya. Later Vyalkov told Butorin about the meeting with Petrov – a Deputy Head of the Department for Combating Organized Crime. Wary Osya has interpreted that “hello” as a bad sign and allegedly decided to eliminate the police officer. Furthermore, two years prior to these events, Butorin had staged his own death – but now the fighter against the organized crime became aware that he was alive. Therefore, the leader of Orekhovskie gang has ordered his killers Polyansky and Vasilchenko to assassinate Petrov. This version of the attempted murder of Petrov had existed up until 2017.
In January 2018, Sergei Vyalkov, dubbed the ‘treasurer’ of Orekhovskie gang by the media, was arrested in the airport while returning from vacation. Concurrently, some 30 operatives have searched his home. In the course of the search, a photo showing Vyalkov and Petrov together was found. The businessman has been charged under Article 317 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (encroachment on the life of an officer of a law enforcement agency) and currently faces, taking into account the limitations period, up to 15 years behind bars.
The attack on the police officer was committed on December 3, 1998 in Moscow. Nikolai Petrov was going to work – while the assassins had waited for him in a KIA minibus standing near Sviblovo subway station. The bullet has just scraped his neck and ear – so, the 40-year-old police captain escaped death. The assailants were not caught in hot pursuit, and operatives started busting the hell out of the Moscow criminal world.
A few weeks later, the operatives have reported the solution of the crime. The investigators have found out that brothers Grigoryan, vendors at a wholesale market in Novokosino neighborhood, were the killers. The suspects confessed that they were not aware of the victim’s name. A fellow countryman had offered them to “deal with some person” for $10 thousand. The investigators have also established that the assassins’ paymaster was Arsavit Manukyan, a “prominent figure” in the Armenian diaspora. Two years later, the operatives have identified new perpetrators of the crime – Marat Polyansky and Aleksander Vasilchenko, killers of Orekhovskie organized criminal group. As it turned out, the true assassins haven’t been punished for the attempted murder of Petrov yet.
Orekhovskie organized criminal group was one of the most influential gangs of the 1990s. It was created by legendary Sergei Timofeev (Sylvester). Timofeev has united under his rule many gangs, including large Medvedkovskie and Kurganskie groups, and his commercial interests had encompassed the most profitable spheres. In 1994, the Sylvester's Mercedes was blown up. In 1997, Sergei Butorin (Osya), one of the gang ‘brigadiers', has seized power with the support of influential gang members brothers Pylev. By now, the law enforcement authorities have effectively busted Orekhovskie gang. In 2011, Moscow City Court has found Butorin guilty of 38 murders and leadership of a criminal community and sentenced him to life in prison. Dmitry Belkin (Belok) was the last ‘authority' from Orekhovskie gang remaining on the loose; he was on the international wanted list for more than 10 years. In October 2014, Belkin and Oleg Pronin (Al Capone), killer of Orekhovskie, were found guilty of murders and attempted murders. Belkin was sentenced to life in a maximum security penal colony, while Oleg Pronin – to 24 years in a maximum security penal colony.
Nikolai Petrov is currently a retiree, he does not serve in the MIA anymore. However, 19 years after the attempted murder, a new version has appeared in that case: Sergei Vyalkov has been named the mastermind behind the crime.
According to the defense attorney, the investigation has been resumed on November 8, 2017 on the basis of testimonies given by killer Marat Polyansky. However, the document attached to the case file is dated November 16, 2017 – i.e. the case was resumed prior to the appearance of the rationale for this.
Then the investigators received testimonies of Aleksander Vasilchenko and Sergei Butorin. Lawyer Kharlamov believes that they have incriminated Sergei Vyalkov for selfish motives.
He claims that the testimonies were provided either under pressure or in exchange for some leniency. For instance, Dmitry Belkin (Belok), one of the leaders of Orekhovskie organized criminal group, has filed a complaint against the investigators with the Prosecutor General’s Office: the operatives had visited him in jail and demanded to calumniate Vyalkov – but Belkin refused to do so.
Former colleagues of Belok were not that principled and suddenly remembered that 20 years ago, Sergei Vyalkov had allegedly contracted the assassination of his comrade-in-arms. Osya, who is sentenced to life in prison for 36 murders and 9 attempted murders, may only expect a relaxation of the prison regime for his revelations – but Marat Polyansky hopes to get more significant privileges. He is facing a life term – but the sentence may be mitigated in exchange for valuable testimonies. Kharlamov believes that he is also trying to shift the blame from his brother Ruslan Polyansky – who was behind the wheel at the time of the attempted assassination. In 2011 and 2013, Marat Polyansky has shared with the investigators plenty of information about Orekhovskie gang and escaped the maximum punishment.
Sergei Butorin (Osya)
The defense attorney does not make any assertions but supposes that Vyalkov was framed-up. According to Kharlamov, officers of secret services had hinted his client to incriminate certain high-ranked functionaries of the Moscow region and federal governmental agencies. The lawyer doesn’t provide any specific names though.
He claims that not a single testimony indicates that Vyalkov was the ‘treasurer’ of Orekhovskie gang. His name is not mentioned in the numerous volumes of criminal cases against Butorin and his subordinates. According to Kharlamov, Yakov Yakushev was the ‘treasurer’ of Orekhovskie organized criminal group. The indictment states that Yakushev had administered Butorin’s money. “Following instructions from Butorin, Yakushev had collected funds from businessmen on a regular basis and received money from Belkin on a regular basis. After the disappearance of Belkin, he had received money from Makarov. No money receipts were produced. In the course of a search in the residence of Yakushev, the following items were seized: a desktop tower with storage media and draft accounting sheets with entries reflecting cash flows. Since the escape of Marat Polyansky in early 1999, Yakushev started receiving instructions from Sergei Butorin from Spain and performed these duties until his arrest on May 5, 2000. Last time, he has received money from Vyalkov, owner of Pechki-Lavochki (This and That) Restaurant, in the amount of $10,500 and 88,500 rubles (some $3.2 thousand at the exchange rate of that period),” – the case file states.
Lawyer Evgeny Kharlamov has no doubt that the ‘collaboration’ between Vyalkov and Orekhovskie gang was limited to the payment of ‘levies’ to the racketeers. Otherwise, it was impossible to run business at that time. In addition, Sergei Vyalkov has no motive to get rid of a comrade-in-arms he hadn’t seen for many years.
Lawyer Evgeny Kharlamov
The criminal case against Vyalkov is investigated by the Central Headquarters of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR), while the Federal Security Service (FSB) provides operative support. Too much honor for a humble Odintsovo businessman – taking that the only evidence against him are testimonies of gangsters. Furthermore, the criminal case against the leaders and members of Orekhovskie gang was investigated by a lower-level ICR structure – the Main Investigations Directorate in the City of Moscow. Interestingly, at the court session held in January 2018 to determine pretrial restrictions for the businessman, the representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office had asked not to remand Vyalkov in custody but place him under home arrest because the evidential base was poor. However, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow decided to detain the suspect.
In six months, the investigation has been completed and indictment submitted to the court. The trial is currently ongoing in the Moscow City Court. The panel of jurors has already been formed; they have to decide whether Vyalkov is guilty of an assassination attempt committed 20 years ago.
Whose path has the Odintsovo businessman crossed – taking the supreme level of the structures handling his case and spectacular progress of the investigation?
Aside from the support provided by Orekhovskie gang, Vyalkov had actively collaborated with Aleksander Gladyshev, then-Head of the Odintsovo District. According to the media, the businessman had ‘sponsored’ the official, who, in turn, had assisted Vyalkov in the promotion of his Avtomoll (Auto Mall) Market. Gladyshev was the perpetual district head since 1991. But on December 23, 2013, the official has announced his resignation at a session of the Council of Deputies of the Odintsovo District. The resignation was a result of his conflict with the regional administration. Sergei Vyalkov hasn’t lost his influence in the region under the rule of the new district head – Andrei Ivanov – and continued actively expanding his business. It is unknown though what officials from the Administration of the Moscow Region or federal agencies could have ties with Vyalkov.
Aleksander Gladyshev and Sergei Vyalkov
Officially, Sergei Vyalkov and his companies are not ‘privileged’ contractors frequently retained by governmental structures. In 2017, Avtomoll Market has fulfilled a governmental order to supply winter tires to TV Tsentr (TV Center) Joint Stock Company for 235 thousand rubles ($3.5 thousand). Earlier, Avtomoll Market had twice supplied small parties of tires to TV Tsentr.
There are no facts indicating ‘too close’ collaboration between Vyalkov and governmental authorities.
The businessman and his relatives own some 20 companies, including large Avtomoll (Auto Mall) Market in Kuntsevo, Dilizhans (Diligence) Restaurant, and Pravilny Gorod (Right City) Management Company. In addition, Vyalkov is a member of the Public Council of the Town of Odintsovo, Chairman of the Fund for Support of Edinaya Rossia (United Russia) Party, and member of its local political council.
After the arrest of Vyalkov, some changes started happening in his companies since April 2018: a few directors were replaced, the composition of founders changed, while some enterprises closed. But no suspicious names were mentioned in relation to these processes. Local news portal Business-Odintsovo claims that a number of businesses belonging to Vyalkov are currently undergoing closure. For instance, Dilizhans (Diligence) Restaurant, the oldest in Odintsovo and popular among wealthy clients, has been closed on July 1, 2018. Svoya Konditerskaya (Own Confectionery) Deli Chain is also about to be closed. СВ Dance&Fit Dance Studio founded by Vyalkov has relocated to SV-Fitness Club. No information about the liquidation of these companies can be found in the Consolidated State Register of Legal Entities yet.
It is necessary to note that in 2016, some Aleksander Trushkin became a business partner of Vyalkov. He received a share in Avtomoll Limited Liability Company and Upravlenie Nedvizhimost’yu (Property Management) GK PG Limited Liability Company. Vyalkov, in turn, became a cofounder of his company Avtogipermarket. Yan Krustkaln, son-in-law of Sergei Vyalkov and son of prominent politician Eduard Krustkaln, has been appointed its director.
Aleksander Trushkin was the Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department of the MIA in 2012–2013; in the 1990s, he was in charge of a special operation against members of Orekhovskie organized criminal group. In 2001, Trushkin had personally participated in the arrest of Butorin and Polyansky in Spain.
There are too many suspicious coincidences in this story. Had Trushkin – as a business partner of Vyalkov – protected his interests or, quite the opposite, tried to seize the business from an Odintsovo entrepreneur with a shady past? Apparently, no support was received so far from the ex-Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, but who knows?
Aleksander Trushkin began his career as a policeman on point duty. He used to work as an operative at the 68th Police Station. In 1996, became the Head of the 1st Criminal Investigation Department of the 7th District MIA Administration of the City of Moscow. After his appointment the Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, Novaya Gazeta newspaper wrote that “he had never betrayed Kolokoltsev in the clan wars for the chair of the Minister of Internal Affairs; his incorruptibility is legendary”. Trushkin was directly involved in the busting of Orekhovskie, Kurganskie, and Medvedkovskie organized criminal groups and solution of the contract killing of prominent criminal ‘authority' Otari Kvantrishvili (Otarik). The Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department had personally participated in the arrests of bandits. On October 2, 2013, it became known that Aleksander Trushkin has submitted a resignation letter. According to the official version, he has retired for health reasons. According to unofficial sources, Trushkin failed to establish good relations with Anatoly Yakunin, Head of the MIA General Administration for the City of Moscow. After the resignation, the police colonel told Novaya Gazeta newspaper about wretched practices employed by the Moscow police, including scramble for performance statistics, corruption, and ‘patronage’ of organized criminal groups and prostitution.
Aleksander Trushkin, ex-Head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department of the MIA
After the retirement, the legendary police colonel has disappeared from the public sight. In 2016, The CrimeRussia source became aware that after his resignation from the MIA, Aleksander Trushkin, similarly with many of his colleagues, has joined the elite security services sector for famous and wealthy clients. He became the Security Chief of Aleksander Tarantsev, owner and President of Russkoe Zoloto (Russian Gold) Group of Companies. One of the members of Orekhovskie gang had earlier named Tarantsev a henchman of the organized criminal group and mastermind behind murders. Is that yet another coincidence?
And isn’t it weird that Aleksander Trushkin establishes partnership with people having ties with gangsters the ‘incorruptible’ policeman had struggled against for his entire life? And then these bandits suddenly remember that the businessmen were the masterminds behind their crimes
Presumably, it concerns the US response to Ukraine’s help in the investigation against Joseph Biden, Trump’s main rival in the 2020 presidential election, who allegedly was in collusion with Kiev during the previous campaign.