Court convicts former Kremlin official who exposed corruption in the FSB

Court convicts former Kremlin official who exposed corruption in the FSB

Thanks to Gorbatov’s testimony, the military investigators were able to reach an organized criminal group of former and current high-ranking officers of FSB’s “K” department.

The 235th garrison military court convicted Mikhail Gorbatov, the former head of the presidential administration’s control department (on pardon and political asylum), who was also an FBS officer (senior security officer of the 11th Unit of Department "K"). He was found guilty of a major fraud (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and two counts of attempted fraud. According to Kommersant, the court heard his case in a special procedure and sentenced him to 4.5 years in a general regime colony and a fine of 250 thousand rubles. In addition, the convict is prohibited from occupying certain positions for 2 years. During the investigation, he repented and testified against the head of the 2nd Unit of Directorate “K” of FSB’s Economic Security Service, Kirill Cherkalin.

According to investigators, Gorbatov helped his accomplices blackmail the commercial director of a chain of elite pawnshops extorting several hundred thousand dollars from him. At the end of 2016, the Moscow offices of the pawnshop owner were searched; the cash register and all the pledged property was seized as evidence in investigation. Mafioso entrepreneur Arno Khodzhoyan volunteered to help get him out of trouble. He asked his friend, businessman Vladimir Korobkov, and eventually Mikhail Gorbatov, too. They demanded 100 thousand dollars from the pawnshop owner. According to the investigation, Colonel Gorbatov led the operation, so they were able to get the amount from the victim. The valuables ​​were soon returned to him for reasons beyond the fixers’ control. A year later, the three scammers wanted to repeat their pawnbroker success and told him that investigators were personally interested in him that time so he had to give them 300 thousand dollars for helping him. The victim was unable to find the required amount on time, so he gave the fraudsters four Harry Winston, De Witt and Bovet wristwatches, worth more than 300 thousand dollars each, and then turned to law enforcement agencies.

Khodzhoyan, Korobkov and Gorbatov were charged with especially large-scale swindling "by deception and abuse of trust" of 5.8 million rubles, as well as an attempt at fraudulent theft of 15.8 million rubles (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code and Art. 30 and part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). At the request of the ICR, all three defendants were placed into custody. After a while, Khodzhoyan agreed to cooperate with investigators, revealing the details of the crime. Recently, the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow gave him a suspended sentence 5 years in prison. Vladimir Korobkov then requested a cooperation agreement with the Main Military Prosecutor's Office, after he gave “detailed testimony about the part each of the accomplices had in the crime” in January and was moved from the detention facility to house arrest by request of the prosecution.

By the time it was Mikhail Gorbatov’s turn to plead guilty, the investigators had known the whole scheme. So, to get a milder sentence, he disclosed the circumstances of another one of their unfinished frauds, in which the colonel and his friend Vladimir Korobkov took an active part. After that, he told some details of the crimes committed by FSB officers. Sources of Kommersant claim that it was Gorbatov’s testimony that helped the military investigators to reach the organized criminal group of former and current high-ranking officers of the “K” Department of the FSB.

In the spring of 2019, the head of the 2nd Unit of Department “K” of FSB’s Economic Security Service, Kirill Cherkalin, his predecessor in Dmitry Frolov and operative Andrey Vasilyev, were arrested on corruption charges. 12 billion rubles were seized from the counterintelligence agents. They are accused of an especially large-scale swindling (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

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