How Mikhas' case burst wide open in Switzerland. Threats to witnesses, investigators and judges 

How Mikhas' case burst wide open in Switzerland. Threats to witnesses, investigators and judges
Sergei Mikhailov

Authoritative businessman Sergei Mikhailov, nicknamed Mikhas, has recently been actively working on the rehabilitation of his name, seeking to clear it out of associations with Solntsevskaya OCG. However, judging by the book of former Geneva prosecutor Bernard Bertossa “Justice, Business, Corruption”, the bandit methods of Mikhas are well known in Europe.

Authoritative businessman Sergei Mikhailov, nicknamed Mikhas, has recently been actively working on the rehabilitation of his name, seeking to clear it out of associations with Solntsevskaya OCG. However, judging by the book of former Geneva prosecutor Bernard Bertossa “Justice, Business, Corruption”, the bandit methods of Mikhas are well known in Europe.

Businessman Sergei Mikhailov, known as the leader of Solntsevskaya OCG nicknamed Mikhas, recently stated that in the 90s he defended business within the law and held a press conference within which he announced his claims to oppositionist Alexey Navalny at FBK’s film-investigation. Mikhailov is presented as "the criminal authority of the 1980s and 1990s", who "is suspected of laundering funds, organizing international prostitution, drug trafficking and ties with the mafia in Europe."

Meanwhile, the book "Justice, Business, Corruption" of former Prosecutor of Geneva Bernard Bertossa, co-authored by French journalist Agathe Duparc, the methods with which Mikhailov opposed the investigation in 1996 in Switzerland are graphically described, The Insider writes.

In particular, Bernard Bartossa’s book states that the Geneva Prosecutor's Office had serious suspicions about Mikhailov, based both on reports of Western intelligence services and the information of their Russian sources.

The ex-prosecutor notes that the case of Mikhas burst wide open due to a number of factors.

Бертосса

Ex-prosecutor of Geneva Bernard Bertossa

"We had enough information and reports from the secret services to hope that the investigation would be successful, but there were those who washed their hands. Some foreign policemen made promises that were not fulfilled. People said they were ready to testify against Mikhailov, and then disappeared. I quickly realized that we were in an extremely sensitive and even dangerous sphere," Bertossa writes.

According to him, Swiss law enforcers did not have the experience of combating organized crime, and Russian mafiosi suddenly appeared with their deaths, murders and hostage taking."

In particular, during the investigation of Mikhailov's case, the Swiss Prosecutor's Office found out that acts of violence were prepared against investigative judge Georges Zecchi and prosecutor Jean-Louis Crochet.

"The threats were real, and we had to organize protection for these representatives of law enforcement agencies," the former prosecutor writes.

However, the case of Mikhas burst wide open because the Geneva Prosecutor's Office was not sufficiently prepared for such an investigation - the agency had information, but was in dire need of an evidence base - testimonies, expert opinions and confessions. In addition, the former prosecutor notes the hidden reluctance of Russian authorities to cooperate in this investigation.

Recall that in 1996 Sergei Mikhailov was arrested in Geneva on charges of participating in the Solntsevskaya OCG and money laundering. But two years later the criminal case burst wide open - the jury found the charges unjustified, Switzerland paid Mikhailov 800 thousand francs for staying in prison, after which he safely returned to Russia.

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