Inheritors of Kushchevskie gang
Fedor Streltsov, a major landowner of the Krasnodar krai, was named in 2011a full-fledged member of Tsapkovskie organized criminal group. At that time, the country became aware of a terrible massacre in Kushchevskaya cossack village. Since then, Fedor Streltsov has been trying to convince the Krasnodar Krai Court and his fellow countrymen that he never had ties with brothers Tsapok – despite being the inheritor of lands previously controlled by the Tsapok family.
Arteks Agro company, the backbone of the farming enterprise of the Tsapok family, has been liquidated on May 16, 2016 as per arbitration court verdict following the bankruptcy procedure. However, this verdict has been appealed, and the litigation is still ongoing in appeal courts of various levels. Arteks Agro, a major farming project of Nadezhda Tsapok, was among the 300 best Russian enterprises. It had cultivated 13 thousand ha of land and established in 2010 a husbandry farm for 2.5 thousand cattle stock. After the arrest of Sergei Tsapok for mass murders in 2011, a criminal case was instituted against the business lady; she has been convicted of swindling and currently serves time in a penal colony.
On December 17, 2014, the Kushchevsky District Court has delivered a sentence to Nadezhda Tsapok, ex-Director and founder of Arteks Agro, and her lawyer Ekaterina Stukalo charged with swindling on an especially large scale. Nadezhda Tsapok has been sentenced to 6.5 years in a general regime penal colony and fine of 500 thousand rubles ($9.2 thousand). The body of her son Sergei, leader of the organized criminal group sentenced to life in prison for murders in Kushchevskaya cossack village, was found in the prison cell on July 7, 2014. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the cause of his death was pulmonary arterial thrombosis.
In 2012, Businessman Aleksei Plotnikov from the Republic of Adygea was put in charge of Arteks Agro. Officially, the farming enterprise was sold, but, in fact, Plotnikov started siphoning off assets from Arteks Agro and transferring those to a company belonging to his wife. The insolvency administrator has identified elements of a premeditated bankruptcy of a major agricultural enterprise. Plotnikov has been charged under part 3 of Article 195 (unlawful actions in case of bankruptcy) and Article 196 (deliberate bankruptcy) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. On March 31, 2015, the Kushchevsky District Court has sentenced Plotnikov to 4 years in a general regime penal colony and fine of 200 thousand rubles ($3.7 thousand).
In March 2014, the Arbitration Court has declared Arteks Agro Limited Liability Company a bankrupt and imposed an insolvency administration for it. Its main creditors were Mayak (Lighthouse) Closed Joint Stock Company and retiree Anna Dan’ko. As it is known, the empire of the Tsapok family had collected ‘levies’ from businessmen and seized lands from local farmers. 87-year-old Anna Dan’ko was among the persons whose lands were seized by brothers Tsapok.
“The entire country became aware that members of the criminal group led by Tsapok, had created, using their corruption ties, criminal powers, and credit funds embezzled from Rosselkhozbank Open Joint Stock Company, an entire business empire encompassing lands of ordinary people seized by the bandits. Those unwilling to give up their lands were killed. My land was seized under the threat of physical violence and through illegal and iniquitous decisions of the Chairman of the Kushchevsky District Court of the Krasnodar Krai,” – Dan’ko said in an open address to the President.
In October 2011, the Kushchevsky District Court has reinstated Anna Dan’ko’s ownership of the land and recognized her right to shares in 31 land lot with a total area of 5.3 thousand ha earlier acquired by Nadezhda Tsapok through agreements of purchase and sale. The court has also declared agricultural land lease agreements signed with Arteks Agro null and void.
In early 2012, a meeting of shareholders has transferred all the 13 thousand ha of land earlier belonging to the Tsapok family to a new legal entity whose founder was Anna Dan’ko – Mayak Closed Joint Stock Company – on the terms of a 15-year lease.
But in October 2016, the Kushchevsky District Court has issued a verdict passing all the lands into the ownership of Agrokompleks Kushchevsky Limited Liability Company belonging to Fedor Streltsov also known as Fedya Obnal (Fedya Cash-Out).
It became known that in summer 2012, a legal entity of the same name – Mayak Limited Liability Company – was incorporated in Kushchevskaya cossack village; its sole founder was Elena Levdik, common-law partner of Streltsov and mother of his three children. Streltsov managed to acquire the right to the lands through a series of fraudulent actions and unjustified court verdicts. According to representatives of Anna Dan’ko, Viktor Seroshtan, Chairman of the Kushchevsky District Court, has made an illegal decision to transfer the ownership of the 1630 ha of land belonging to Anna Dan’ko to Agrokompleks Kushchevsky Limited Liability Company, thus, depriving the retiree from her property.
It is a matter of principle for the elderly woman to prove her right to the land. She is still in litigation with Fedor Streltsov who, according to her, was a full-fledged member of Tsapkovskie organized criminal group and then inherited its bloody assets. In her statement of claim, Dan’ko insists that the agreements of purchase and sale were signed under pressure and threats from Fedor Streltsov, his lawyer Svetlana Martynova (former judge of the Kushchevsky District Court and Arbitration Court of the Rostov Region), and their representative Vladimir Kolesnikov (brother of Svetlana Martynova).
“They had demanded to transfer the lands to them. To strengthen the expressed threats, S.I. Martynova said that, in the event of a refusal to transfer the land to F.E. Streltsov via V.I. Kolesnikov, F.E. Streltsov, being a member of the gang led by Tsapok, would stop at nothing, including physical elimination,” – Dan’ko said.
Streltsov has filed a lawsuit against Dan’ko for spreading false information offending their honor, dignity, and business reputation. It must be admitted that the reputation of Fedor Streltsov is pretty checkered.
In 2007, he has established Kuban Agro agricultural holding in the Kushchevsky district. A year later, it became a leading company in the region uniting nine close to bankruptcy enterprises in the Kushchevsky and Starominsky districts and cultivating over 100 thousand ha of land. Andrei Tsepovyaz was the Director of Sever Kubani SK Limited Liability Company – one of the nine enterprises of the holding – co-owned by Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz. Sergei Tsapok and Vitaly Ivanov had also owned shares in enterprises controlled by Kuban Agro. In November 2009, the agricultural holding was liquidated by Fedor Streltsov. The reason behind the liquidation was an outstanding loan to Rosselkhozbank in the amount of 7 billion rubles ($128.4 million). Streltsov managed to avoid prosecution for deliberate bankruptcy and misuse of the credit funds – on November 4, 2010, the gang of brothers Tsapok has murdered the family of farmer Server Akhmetof and his guests with extreme atrocity. Amid the horrible massacre, the debts of agricultural holding liquidates a while ago were of no interest for the investigators.
In 2011, the inquest into the debt liabilities of Sever Kubani to Rosselkhozbank has been resumed, but Streltsov managed to avoid criminal liability for the credit default with the assistance of some advisor to the Director of the Krasnodar Regional Branch of Rosselkhozbank Open Joint Stock Company. According to Novaya Gazeta Kubani newspaper, that advisor had co-owned, jointly with Streltsov, Luch (Ray) Limited Liability Company – the new owner of assets earlier belonging to Sever Kubani Group of Companies. In 2014, Agrokomplex im. N.I. Tkacheva Closed Joint Stock Company became the owner of Luch Limited Liability Company, and the above-mentioned ‘protector’ of Streltsov currently holds a supreme post in a federal structures subordinate to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Having such a reputation, Streltsov somehow managed to convince the court that Dan’ko had calumniated him. The retired lady has been prosecuted under part 1 of Article 128.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and fined 5000 rubles ($87).
It is necessary to note that Streltsov had challenged not the fact of threats – but allegations of his involvement with Kushchevskie gang. However, Dan’ko had never claimed this – she just cited the words of ex-judge Martynova.
The elderly woman insists on her innocence, and her attorneys filed a petition for appeal.
The judicial inquest into the possible ties between Fedya Obnal (Fedya Cash-Out) and the gang led by brothers Tsapok could continue forever – but a few weeks ago, a ‘greeting from the land of the dead’ has been received. Jacta news portal obtained a letter supposedly written by the gang leader shortly before his death in the Krasnodar pretrial detention facility.
“Hi Fedya, I decided to write you before making a decision. I want to explain you a little bit why you remain on the loose. Fedya, I am neither threatening nor blackmailing you, but don’t think that I am stupid and don’t understand all your tricks... If I had known what I know now, I would turn you in so that you seat in front of me. But I had considered you a decent person and abstained from this... Perhaps, you forgot that you had participated in everything – but I did not tell a word about you... Now think what happens if I start talking about out deeds. I suggest you to read part 4 of Article 159 [swindling] and part 2 of Article 209 [banditry]. During the investigation in Ossetia, there was investigator Borodin there. And you know what? He had offered me a lot for information about the holding [Sever Kubani Group of Companies] and testimonies against you – that you alone have inherited the gang... Borodin had offered me a plea agreement; if I had signed it, I wouldn’t be sentenced to life – but I had to tell everything about the holding, your operations in Stavropol, and our joint operations. But as you can see, I was sentenced to life, while you remain on the loose. Or maybe you think there is nothing to put you in jail for?.. Do you think that you just sell the holding and that’s it? No, the documents still remain, these are your sins you have to answer for – my prison term cannot be increased anymore. And you will go to jail, I promise this to you – unless you behave decently”.
The letter of Sergei Tsapok refers to some arrangements obliging Fedor Streltsov to pay Anzhela-Maria Tsapok, wife of the gang leader, 300 million rubles ($5.2 million). Apparently, Streltsov had either refused to pay this sum or tried to reduce is considerably.
“So Fedya, should you refuse to pay additionally the same amount – i.e. 300 [million rubles] in total – this includes the money you had to pay me for the holding and takes into account what you told Anzhela with regards to the share in Arteks, I am going to testify against you Fedya and give them such information that you are f...ed up and no one could help you. Especially taking the documentary evidence. I know where to look for. Especially taking that Borodin was very interested in your operations in Stavropol... Your fate is in your hands. If you settle the accounts in a right way – fine, and I forget about you. If you don’t – it’s fine as well: I collaborate with the investigation and my life term may be reduced. So, think about this; I am waiting for an answer until my next meeting with Anzhela... And the sum of 300 is not too high at all. Especially taking that you have gained from Arteks, so have some decency. And don’t even think of framing-up Anzhela... Don’t think that everything is over. I don’t recommend you to play cunning, but this is up to you. Everything is in your hands, just think what would be cheaper for you: behave decently or get out of jail”.
The unmasking letter also mentions Svetlana Martynova currently charged with swindling; the criminal case against the former judge has been personally instituted by Alexander Bastyrkin.
The authenticity of the letter would likely be challenged – especially taking that its supposed author has unexpectedly died in the prison cell before turning in his numerous accomplices. According to the investigation, the number of suspects had varied in 2010 from 150 to 200 people – while only some dozen of them were actually prosecuted.
The inquest into grievous crimes committed by Kushchevskie gang has resulted in prison terms for some suspects and in sudden death in jail for the gang leader – but numerous economic crimes involving the Tsapok family still have to be investigated.
Several new criminal cases against corrupt officials have been instituted in Dagestan. The high-ranked suspects include Abdulmedzhid Suleimanov, ex-Mayor of Izberbash; Amir Magomedov, ex-Head of the Izberbash Administration; Magomed Dzhelilov, Head of the Derbent District; and El’dar Karagishiev, Head of the Babayurt District. In the past, all of them were suspected of similar crimes – but somehow managed to get off the hook. The new arrests occur amid the anti-corruption campaign in the republican law enforcement structures. What are the true reasons behind the new wave of the personnel purge? Can the anti-corruption slogans conceal a fierce battle waged by local clans for redistribution of assets with the purpose to create a new ‘untouchable’ elite in Dagestan?