FSB exposes Arashukovs’ gas plundering scheme

FSB exposes Arashukovs’ gas plundering scheme
Raul Arashukov

Advisor to Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Director General Raul Arashukov and his accomplices organized the gas supply to fictitious subscribers and then reflected it as lost in the statements.

Advisor to Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Director General Raul Arashukov and his accomplices organized the gas supply to fictitious subscribers and then reflected it as lost in the statements. This is reported by RBC citing the FSB Economic Security Service's note about gas plundering in the North Caucasus, which was referred by the FSB to the Investigation Committee a week before the arrests in the Arashukovs’ case. A source familiar with the investigation has confirmed the document’s authenticity.

Previously, the ICR reported that in the period from 2007 to 2017, Advisor to the Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Director General in the North Caucasus Raul Arashukov and his accomplices misappropriated gas worth more than 31 billion rubles ($457 million). At the same time, the bulk of the gas theft falls on Dagestan.

In particular, according to the FSB note, Raul Arashukov and other members of the alleged criminal community would set up fake personal accounts, accounts linked to payers with an invalid address, or anonymous accounts that are not attached to any payer in the Gazprom Mezhregiongaz databases. Some of them were linked to buildings situated at the crossroads of streets and having two addresses. In this case, the secondary address of the building was entered in the database, which was not reflected in the documents.

Thus, the alleged OCG members created "conditions for the artificial formation of the alleged imbalance (loss) of gas," the note says. The gas supplied to subscribers was thus misappropriated by members of the criminal group, after which they reported losses to Gazprom, indicating that it was impossible to collect payment from subscribers in full. The unpaid gas was then sold to legal entities and individuals in Karachay-Cherkessia bypassing metering devices and supplied to real estate owned by members of the organized criminal group without invoicing and payment.

Gas worth 3.2 billion rubles ($48.8 million) was stolen in the Stavropol region and 1 billion rubles ($15.2 million) in the Karachay-Cherkessia in 2012-2017, the document says.  In Dagestan, security officers revealed the plundering of gas worth 1.38 billion rubles ($21 million) from December 2007 to March 2016. In addition, members of the Arashukovs’ OCC faked the imbalance in the amount of 27.5 billion rubles ($419 million) in Dagestan by “other unlawful means,” the FSB believes.

On the whole, there are three gas plundering schemes in the Caucasus region, reports RBK source close to Gazprom, and all of them were used by the Arashukovs.

The first scheme is tied to establishment of a contract related to lowered scores of supply with subsequent frame-up of data on consumption. With that, part of the gas that was really consumed is being written off with the help of reversal - data rollback of counters in gas metering units. The second scheme implies a cut-in to a transmission and distribution network - on secret agreement with gas workers.

The third scheme puts together the preceding ones: a consumer (commonly a large industrial facility) ties up a contract related to a lowered score of supply, officially tapping into gas networks; besides that, an illegal gas cut-in is carried out. With that, the debt for the unaccounted gas is ascribed to citizens - commonly to districts with the biggest gas debt. A few years ago, they also started throwing debts under impersonal accounts or those that begin to double.

Gazprom mezhregiongaz denied to comment upon the matter. Media relations officer of a chairman of the executive board Sergey Kupriyanov did the same. According to Raul Arashukov’s lawyer Vladimir Postanyuk, the alleged theft, according to a theory by the Federal Security Service and the Investigative Committee, occurred “under who-knows-what-kind-of circumstances,” having noted the accusation against Raul Arashukov in its current state is non-specific. Besides that, the investigation did not determine the affiliation of the allegedly plundered gas due to the fact that there’s no victim in the case, the lawyer says. In his words, “when gas is produced, it belongs to one party, when it’s transported - to another, when sold - the third. First, we have to figure out who is unhappy about the shortfall,” Postanyuk assumes.

Raul Arashukov, a father of senator Raul Arashukov who had been detained for involvement in two murders and participation in a criminal organized group on January 30, was detained with his son on the same day. He is being accused of participation in a criminal organized group (article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and swindling (item 4 of article 159 of the Russian Federation). CEO of Gazprom mezhregiongaz Stavropol Igor Travinov, CEO of Gazprom gazoraspredeleniye Astrakhan and Gazprom mezhregiongaz Astrakhan Ruslan Arashukov, first deputy head of Gazprom gazoraspredeleniye Stavropol Nikolay Romanov and director of Mineralnye vody-based branch of Gazprom mezhregiongaz Stavropol Guzer Khashukaev are also defendants in the case. Besides them, Executive Director of Essentukigorgaz Alan Kyatov is arrested in the case. Acting Executive Director of AO Budennovskgazprombytservis Uali Evgamukov and Executive Director of Nevinomyssk-based branch of Gazprom mezhregiongaz Stavropol Umar Kalmykov are put on a wanted list.

According to Gazprom mezhregiongaz as of December 1, 2018, the first place for a household debt for gas goes to Chechnya (13.3 billion rubles which is equal to $203 million), second one - to Degestan (more than 9 billion rubles which is equal to $137 million). Stavropol region is ranked 6th with its debt of more than 1 billion rubles ($15 million). With that, the Karachay-Cherkessia is not in the top-10 with its household debt worth of only 335 million rubles ($5.1 million). 

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