Shadow bankers postponing testimonies in pseudo Special Forces case
The St. Petersburg City Court has begun hearings on the merits of the case of so-called fake Special Forces. However, the court faced difficulties starting from the first sessions. For example, victims had to be brought to court forcibly.
The gang of fake Special Forces operatives has terrorized the world of shadow bankers since 2012. They became famous for their insolent attacks, during which they shouted: "The committee is working!" At one time, clandestine tycoons thought that real employees of the FSB came to take their black cash – a massive capture of illegal financiers began. Bankers even seriously discussed the possibility of sending large bribes to a special department on investigation of especially important crimes at Liteiny, 4.
Vitaly Samsonov, Pavel Grigoriev, Anton Kulikov, Igor Khludkov, as well as Dmitry Gorshkov, Konstantin Zubov, Georgy Zukhin, Andrey Karpov are charged with a number of grave crimes established under part 1, 2 of Art. 209 of the Criminal Code, items (a, b) of part 4 of Art. 162 of the Criminal Code, item (a) of part 3 of Art. 126 of the Criminal Code, item (a) of part 4 of Art. 158 of the Criminal Code, part 3 of Art. 166 of the Criminal Code, items (a, b) of part 3 of Art. 163 of the Criminal Code and part 1 of Art. 222 of the Criminal Code (Banditry, Robbery, Abduction, Theft, Unlawful Occupancy of a Car, Extortion and Illegal Sale of Firearms).
According to the prosecution, the first case of the gang of pseudo-special forces was the attack on November 20, 2012 on illegal collectors on Shafirovsky Prospekt. The theft of gray cash happened instantly. The bandits arranged an accident and, having blocked the car, trussed the collectors and took away 9 million rubles ($155 thousand).
In 2013 audacious attacks took place in broad daylight. The masking under the guise of Special Forces personnel worked flawlessly, and therefore casual witnesses were completely sure that they had seen the arrests carried out by law enforcement agencies. Moreover colleagues in the MIA were also confident in the fact that it is the special services that were working. However, time has shown that robbers have nothing to do with security agencies.
The bandits carefully monitored passengers arriving from the United Arab Emirates. The investigators are still not aware from where they got information about money bags, but there are suspicions that the group acted on a tip. The end of the gang started in October 2014.
It took law enforcement bodies almost five years to catch a gang of courageous robbers, to investigate the criminal case and to pass it to court. The gang of law enforcement agencies representatives has plagued the security officers since 2012. There are more than 8 criminal episodes on their conscience: raids and looting, kidnapping. As a result of criminal activities more than 109 million rubles ($1.8m) and 4 million dollars were stolen. The volume of the criminal case amounted to 76 volumes, during the investigation more than 200 different examinations were conducted, about 50 witnesses were questioned.
When the officers of the FSB and the operatives of the criminal investigation department began searches and detentions in the apartments and country houses of the suspects, they realized that the gang was notable for stability, strict discipline and thorough preparation. They found and confiscated 2 assault rifles, 7 pistols, 3 submachine guns, a revolver, silencers, a grenade, explosives and a large number of cartridges. What weighs most heavily is that they found full ammunition of FSB officers and special-purpose assault detachments. Moreover, the clothes turned out to be a uniform, with all logos, and weapons – a full analogue of what is in the arsenal of the assault detachments of the FSB, FSIN and MIA. At the interrogations the detainees behaved calmly and preferred not to talk much.
In September 2016 the case was passed to the St. Petersburg City Court and submitted to Judge Galina Ponomareva. According to the law, the defendants wanted their case to be heard by jury. Their selection began in December 2016 and was crowned with success only from the third time. For today the board of people's judges is formed and has started to work. As it became known to the sources of The CrimeRussia, the state prosecution immediately began to have difficulties with the hearings. After the announcement of the indictment, the judge had to make a decision on the forced transfer of the victims to the courtroom. None of the shadow bankers, who lost their cash, were eager to visit the city court. Moreover, none of the robbed wrote statements about the attacks. It was investigators who found the victims during the investigation of criminal episodes. Furthermore, shadow bankers are not willing to inform the court about the amount or the origin of the stolen money, and therefore they ignored subpoenas.
The process promises to be protracted and complicated. But the state prosecution has one trump card in their sleeve. In April 2016 the same St. Petersburg City Court had already convicted one of the gang members, Alexander Gromov, for 6 years in high-security prison for 4 robberies and involvement in the abduction of businessman Migulev. He made a deal with the investigation, and now his testimony formed the basis of the indictment.