Chechen security officials cum debt collectors let out of Moscow detention center. They allegedly extorted $668.000 from businessman
The defendants spent two years in custody. The leadership of Chechnya fought for their freedom all this time.
After two years of detention, they are at large: colonel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Said Akhmaev, senior lieutenant Lechi Bolatbaev, Ingush brothers Bulguchev, Movladi and Akhmed, and one of STDzhi Media owners, Yevgeny Katkov. The defendants are accused of extortion as part of an organized criminal group (part 3 of Art. 163 of the Criminal Code).
Neither the state prosecution nor the Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow spoke of extending the detention periods, Kommersant reported. This meant the accused could go home for the first time since August 2016. As there were no restrictions left in effect, the court simply obliged the men to attend further hearings.
Konstantin Zhukov, the victim they extorted 45 million rubles from, was outraged by the court decision.
“After all that has happened, I am somewhat afraid, but I am not going to leave the country or miss any hearings, especially since the judge obliged me to come to every hearing,” said Zhukov, who is under state protection.
It is noteworthy that during the two years that Akhmaev and Bolotbaev spent in the pre-trial detention center, Chechen highest-ranking officials were trying to get them out of custody. The Chechen police officers had previously served as officers of the Sever battalion; Akhmaev has a number of state awards for solving serious crimes, including the preparation of a terrorist act in the Okhotny Ryad shopping center in Moscow. According to the CrimeRussia, the defendants are part of the immediate circle of the Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov. Moreover, Kadyrov and State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov asked the prosecution for a milder verdict personally.
The accused men
As the CrimeRussia wrote before, the group was detained in August 2016. According to investigators, businessman Yevgeny Katkov hired the Chechens to collect 45 million rubles and a Bentley from his former business partner Konstantin Zhukov. Several years ago, Katkov invested about 47 million rubles in Zhukov’s STDzhi Media, but received no dividends after a while, despite the fact that the company's projects yielded a substantial profit. Katkov believes that Zhukov moved the funds to the accounts of a front company and stole them. However, Zhukov seemed self-assured enough to turn to law enforcement agencies with a statement against his offenders who had been threatening they would kill him and his family if the millions of rubles were not paid back.
The criminal case has been intermittently heard in the Zamoskvoretsky District Court since April 2018. The meetings got postponed due to the non-attendance of the witnesses, including those who were classified. In addition, it is still unclear as to how many details the parties would go into while studying the remaining 80 volumes of the case file.
The sentence is expected to be delivered by the end of autumn, if the court does not send the case for further investigation in the final stage due to a number of inconsistencies and violations of the Code of Criminal Procedure the lawyers keep talking about.
Video: Chechen policemen detained in Moscow for debt collecting