St. Petersburg "cashiers" accused of criminal network creation
Investigators found grounds to initiate another criminal case against St. Petersburg businessmen earlier accused of illegal value-added tax refunds.
An additional criminal case has been initiated in St. Petersburg against the 8 businessmen, earlier accused of illegal value-added tax refunds, due to elements of crimes falling under parts 1 and 2 of Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal network; participation in it). The Main Investigations Directorate for St. Petersburg of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation reports that the criminal group is persistent, hierarchically-structured, consolidated, has connections with various governmental authorities, law enforcement, and experts in general, customs, and tax legislation.
To refresh background: on June 7, 2016 law enforcement authorities performed large-scale searches in offices, production facilities, and apartments of suspected ‘cashiers’. According to the investigation, since 2011 the criminal group of 20 persons has used over 70 legal entities controlled by them, including foreign companies. Under the disguise of exporting nonferrous metals, the suspects were selling scrap metal, for which the value-added tax is not refunded according to the law. In addition, the metal was overpriced through numerous fictional re-sales by ‘dummy companies’. The experts suspect that foreign buyers were also controlled by the fraudsters and, in fact, there were no real export operations with scrap metal under the disguise of nonferrous metals. The investigation believes that the ‘cashiers’ embezzled over 1 billion rubles.
14 people have been detained during the operation, they are charged based on part 4 or Article 159 (fraud) and part 4 of Article 174.1 (laundering money obtained from crime) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. 12 people are currently in detention. Tax officials are also suspected of criminal complicity in the scheme. Sergey Semenov and Alexey Anokhin are believed to be the bosses of the criminal network. Alexey Anokhin is a nephew of Deputy Minister of Defense Tatyana Shevtsova.
Saburova believes that the Russian authorities violated articles 2 and 5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, guaranteeing the right to life, as well as the right to freedom and personal inviolability.