Thieves’ henchman suspected of murdering cash couriers monopolizes housing and utility sphere in Kursk
The CrimeRussia continues the series of publications about the merger of officials and criminals in the Kursk region. Our ongoing inquest into the operations of gangs led by Volobui and Vitya Pan shows that a true ‘corruption kraken’ has ensnared the region.
During the rule of ex-Governor Aleksander Mikhailov, the interests of officials, corrupt law enforcement commanders, shady dealmasters, semi-legal businessmen, criminals, and other persons avoiding public attention became deeply intertwined in the Kursk region.
The central leitmotifs of this ‘criminal symphony' are access to the ‘budget pie', blatant robbery of ordinary people, and sense of absolute impunity. Too bad that the local law enforcement authorities limit their efforts to arrests of most notorious figures and don't dare to clamp down on the criminal network created in the region.
We found out that the criminal world has seized control over the housing and utilities sphere in Kursk, while structures affiliated with bandits and fraudsters are easily winning governmental contracts there.
Two corpses and stolen millions
On March 16, 2010, an armed assault on two cash couriers was committed in Voroshnevo township of the Kursk district, Kursk region. The couriers were killed and 1.5 million rubles ($22.8 thousand) (according to the official information) stolen. According to unofficial data, the sum was much larger because officers of a private cash courier company had actively transported ‘black cash' – which has attracted the assailants. If that is true, the robbers could seize some 30 million rubles ($456.8 thousand). However, this amount was not mentioned in the case file because the owners of the money were unwilling to disclose their shady revenues to the police.
The murder of the cash couriers is still not completely solved – not all perpetrators have been prosecuted. Only one assailant, out of the four, has been convicted to a prison term – Andrei Obezyaev (Obezyai), a driver for thief-in-law Vitya Pan. The court has sentenced him to 12 years in a penal colony. Two other assailants were not identified, while the fourth one was some Timur Tutov earlier prosecuted for a violent robbery.
Timur Tutov had ties with Kursk crowned thief Viktor Panyushin (Vitya Pan) currently charged with creation of an organized criminal community and living in hiding. According to The CrimeRussia sources, Tutov was a ‘field brigadier’ in the gang led by the thief-in-law, controlled a portion of the thieves’ pooled cash fund, and maintained the armory in 2009.
After the attack on cash couriers, Tutov fled to the southern part of Russia and hid in the Krasnodar krai. In December 2015, he was captured. According to The CrimeRussia sources, in that period, Tutov had been making a living by performing contract killings for the local criminal beau-monde. The local criminals had reportedly entrusted this ‘important position’ to him as per recommendations of the Kursk criminal society where he was ‘in good books’.
Arrest of Timur Tutov
Sources in the Krasnodar krai police claim that the fugitive was driving an expensive car and living in grand style. However, after the transfer of Tutov to Kursk, the criminal case against him started collapsing. Our sources from the Prosecutor’s Office and Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) believe that corrupt law enforcement officials had interfered to make sure that the criminal – facing life in prison – won’t decide to share with the investigators everything he knows in exchange for a milder sentence. Ultimately, Tutov was released, while the double murder and robbery remained not fully solved.
According to our information, since November 2008, Timur Tutov, an active member of the local criminal group, is the founder of VTK Limited Liability Company. Since 2011 (Tutov was on the wanted list at that time), this company has been winning profitable governmental contracts for electrical equipment repairs in budgetary institutions. There were at least 34 such contracts with various organizations – from the Local History Museum to the Administration for the Kursk Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation (contract № 0144100004014000199 dated September 8, 2014) – totaling 42.435 million rubles ($646.1 thousand). Perhaps, this was the reason behind the ‘invulnerability’ of Tutov?Author’s opinion
It can’t be ruled out that Tutov has invested his bloody capitals into that legal entity – although no specific information is available on this matter. But the provision of budget funds to a company controlled by criminals is an undeniable fact.
After the attack on cash couriers, it was unwise to continue criminal operations. A much better decision was to legalize the criminal proceeds. According to the sources, the suspect in a high-profile criminal case is currently a successful businessman transferring a portion of his revenues to the thieves’ pooled cash fund.
Furthermore, the business interests of Tutov are not limited to VTK Limited Liability Company, and he is actively expanding to the housing and utilities sphere of the city of Kursk. In fact, he has brought to heel Dmitry Gaidukov – the director of a number of organizations and management companies nearly convicted in the past for a series of frauds. Initially, we had considered Gaidukov a victim of the merciless bandit having no choice but to obey his orders. But after reviewing the businessman’s biography, we have drastically changed our opinion.
The source in the Prosecutor’s Office of Kursk, who had assisted in our inquest into operations of the organized criminal group under the leadership of Dmitry Volobuev, agreed to share some information pertaining to the assault on cash couriers.
— I have been reading your portal since June 2017. You publish interesting materials and raise acute issues not covered by anybody else. But with regards to Kursk, your knowledge is limited... And I can share light on some aspects... in addition to Dmitry Volobuev. So, there is an interesting person in the city of Kursk – Dmitry Yur'evich Gaidukov. Currently, he is a Deputy of the Cheremisinovo Rural Council. According to the investigation, at some point, this man has pulled off a number of fraud schemes, robbed half of the city, and got off the hook! In 2011–2012, Dmitry Yur'evich was the founder and Director of Domkom Management Company Limited Liability Company. The scope of his operations was so great that the MIA Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption has launched a manhunt on him.
— A manhunt? Not just a probe? Was he a kind of Don Corleone?
— I have documents on hand. On September 30, 2011, criminal case № 2969 was instituted against Dmitry Gaidukov under part 1 of Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of authority) for illegitimate actions committed as the head of a management company. The investigation discovered elements of other crimes as well and severe damages. Therefore, Dmitry Polyakov, Investigator of the Investigations Department of the MIA Administration for the City of Kursk, has reclassified the case under part 2 of Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of authority involving grave consequences) and reported other crimes committed by the adventurous businessman to his commanders. After that report, the court has dismissed the motion to remand the suspect in custody (according to my information) and placed Gaidukov under home arrest (at that time, this pretrial restriction was used very rarely). The regional police investigation division, in the person of investigator Eleonora Sushkova, has taken charge of that case and instituted on November 25, 2011, based on complaints filed against the suspect, another criminal case under part 3 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (swindling committed by a person through his official position, as well as on a large scale). I am going to read you an excerpt from this criminal case. So, on December 20, 2011, D.Yu. Gaidukov has been charged with crimes stipulated in part 2 of Article 201 and part 3 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
D.Yu. Gaidukov had solely performed the management functions at Domkom Management Company Limited Liability Company – a commercial organization located at 2 Vespremskaya street, Kursk. Using his powers and acting contrary to the legitimate interests of this organization, in order to derive profits and benefits for himself and other persons and inflict harm to other persons, being fully aware of arrears to suppliers of utilities and communal services, namely Gorteploset’ Municipal Unitary Enterprise (3,580,254.64 rubles ($54.5 thousand)) and Kurskenergosbyt Open Joint Stock Company (957,938 rubles ($14.6 thousand)), totaling 4,538,192.7 rubles ($69.1 thousand) and having the financial capacity to pay out these arrears, he failed to remit funds to the above organizations and instead transferred the monetary funds to legal entities founded and administered by himself: 4,556,500 rubles ($69.4 thousand) to Domkom-Zhilservis Limited Liability Company and 7,323,000 rubles ($111.5 thousand) to RemStroyKomanda Limited Liability Company.
— People are sentenced to real prison terms for lesser crimes. What was the outcome of that case? You mentioned “getting off the hook” – so, was there no conviction?
— No conviction. The Prosecutor’s Office had controlled that case – but it still was soft-pedaled.
— Who has orchestrated this? After all, it is difficult to ruin such a case.
— Difficult but possible. I have heard that somebody in the Kursk police had received a large bribe from Gaidukov – reportedly, some 8 million rubles ($121.8 thousand). But the police investigation was adamant to carry it through, and a conflict escalated inside operative services of the Regional MIA Administration... Gaidukov was under home arrest until June 28, 2012 – and then, the case somehow ended up in the ICR.
— How could it get there?
— This is weird. I don't know. I may be wrong – but, supposedly, this happened because Dmitry Yur'evich has registered himself as a candidate for Deputy so that the police couldn't investigate the case against him anymore. Since May 2012, the case stopped to be discussed at conferences in the Prosecutor's Office, and the control over it waned.
— Do you think that he has bribed the Prosecutor’s Office?
— I don’t rule this out. You must understand, the evidence was incontestable. The MIA Department for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption has seized boxes full of documents! In the course of the investigation, Eleonora Sushkova has added to the case another episode falling under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Here is an excerpt from it:
On January 19, 2012, E.G. Sushkova, Investigator of the Investigation Division of the MIA Administration for the Kursk Region, has instituted against D.Yu. Gaidukov and unidentified persons a criminal case under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The crime circumstances are as follows: from July 1, 2010 and until June 30, 2011, Gaidukov, being the Chairman of the Council of Residents Committees of Domkom Management Company Limited Liability Company and sole executive authority of the limited liability company performing the organizational, management, administrative, and economic functions, failed to fulfill his functional duties on making contractual arrangements between Domkom Management Company Limited Liability Company and Kurskvodokanal Municipal Unitary Enterprise to supply cold water and remove sewage waters. Acting by previous concert with unidentified persons, having no contractual arrangements between Domkom Management Company Limited Liability Company and Kurskvodokanal Municipal Unitary Enterprise to supply cold water and remove sewage waters, and using his official capacity, through the deception and abuse of trust of citizens – residents of apartment buildings, allegedly, with the purpose to pay for the services rendered by the above-mentioned utility provider, he had issued housing and utility bills and collected monetary funds from citizens living in the above apartment buildings on the monthly basis. The residents had transferred monetary funds to Domkom Management Company Limited Liability Company – allegedly, for utilities supplied by Kurskvodokanal Municipal Unitary Enterprise – while D.Yu. Gaidukov had embezzled these funds by previous concert with unidentified persons. In total, in the period from July 1, 2010 and until June 30, 2011, they have embezzled monetary funds totaling 2,955,840.64 rubles ($45 thousand), which amounts to an especially large scale.
— Why was this case closed by the ICR?
— I don’t know – but I would like to know this. I can only say that weird and miraculous things had happened in the Investigations Directorate in the Kursk Region of the ICR under the rule of Erin and Lazutkin. You remember information on the case against Volobuev provided by myself and some other people. And this was just a hushed-up swindling case.
Here are more facts: in April 2012, the MIA Department for Combating Economic Crimes has established that Gaidukov had been sending utility bills to residents of the building at 11/2 Druzhby avenue having no contracts with utility suppliers and fraudulently collected money from the people. In May 2012, he was caught in the same fraud committed to residents of the building at 13 50 Let Oktyabrya. In June 2012 – the building at 15A 50 Let Oktyabrya. The police have exposed a similar crime committed to residents of the building at 97 Bol’shevikov street. In August 2013, operatives of the MIA Department for Combating Economic Crimes have established his involvement in the embezzlement of some 1 million rubles ($15.2 thousand) in the framework of another episode. In early June 2012, he, still being under home arrest, has beaten in the Leninsky District Court his administrator Nurmetova who had (as far as I know) testified against him. The district police inspector called after the incident had initially thought that it was a joke – because detained people don’t behave in such a way. The Prosecutor was shocked as well. We, prosecution officers, had expected him to be arrested on the same day and remanded in custody for actions violating the home arrest regime. But... nothing happened to him.
Our source in the investigative authorities confirmed the above information.
— There was such a case indeed. I cannot tell for sure how has Gaidukov ‘settled’ the issues. The events occurred in 2012; in that period, the ‘Rostov team’ had ruled in the MIA Administration for the Kursk Region. Taking the ‘morals’ of the southern part of Russia, it is easy to imagine the ‘honesty and incorruptibility’ of these guys. Reportedly, they had come here for ‘grazing’ and planned to impose levies on the city. But they have quickly understood that Kursk is very poor in comparison with Rostov, and not much can be taken here. All assets have already been distributed. And it was too risky – even for them – to enter certain spheres (railway junctions, nuclear station, mining and refining plant, power, fuel, etc.). But they had to get money somewhere. The purpose of their arrival was not only the career growth. And the guys found a solution: milking fraudsters – those who have money and won’t complain. It must be admitted that, despite such a mercenary motif of the Rostov team, their activities had positive results as well. Fraudsters unwilling to pay were convicted, while others – robbed blind. Some of them had just disappeared in the process – but definitely, not Gaidukov.
— So, they have quickly identified Gaidukov and, reportedly, offered him to pay them. But, according to the rumors, they could not reach an agreement on the sum. Then the policemen took the evidential base (it was absolutely real and comprehensive) and instituted a multi-episode case against Dmitry Yur’evich. The suspect apparently got the point and paid the required amount. But the ‘puppet masters’ haven’t taken into account that Kursk in not Rostov. It is not that easy to put on hold an ongoing investigation here – even if the suspect is innocent. In this particular case, the evidential base was 100% bullet-proof. So, the investigative group at the Regional MIA Administration refused to close the case – because they had the corpus delicti, good court perspectives, and full picture of the crime. I would like to emphasize: the documents provided to you accurately describe the actual events. The embezzlements and transfers of millions of rubles from one account to another cannot be forged – such deeds either were or were not committed. And a dilemma emerged. The money for the termination of the criminal proceeds was received – but the case could not be closed. What to do? The case was almost entirely handled by members of the Rostov team, including operative support, – the officers who know how to ‘settle’ issues, not gather evidence. Still, a solution was found and conveyed to Dmitry. By that time, the home arrest restriction was withdrawn – i.e. the efforts of ‘fixers’ have brought some result. But the MIA investigators were determined to push the matter through. Then Gaidukov has pulled off another trick as per recommendation of his ‘benefactors’. He has registered as a parliamentary candidate for the Kursk Municipal Assembly. According to Article 447 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of the Russian Federation, this automatically made Gaidukov a special subject – so, only the ICR had powers to investigate a case against him. All the materials have been transferred there. I don’t know how ICR investigators have closed this case. Especially taking that in summer 2012, the MIA Department for Combating Economic Crimes has identified a bunch of episodes involving him – as the retired Prosecutor told you. He also told you – and that is correct – that, under the rule of Erin and Lazutkin, lots of things had happened in our Investigations Directorate! As one of our rock musicians said: trash, frenzy, and sodomy! They had even terminated the case against Mayor Ovcharov and his company. After the arrival of the new general, Aleksei Nazin, many corrupt investigators have relocated from Kursk northward. Initially – to new places of service and then – who knows...
The conspiracy of silence existing under the rule of predecessors of Aleksei Vasil’evich can be illustrated by the following fact: Anatoly Zemin – who was tried administratively twice for drunk driving and had a fight with people on the street in 2015 – was the Head of the Investigations Department for the Zheleznodorozhny Administrative District of Kursk. All such deeds were hushed up. I think that today, a drunk driver would be fired even before general Nazin receives a call from the State Automobile Inspection. Nazin does not like such ‘stuff’. If someone checks the legitimacy of the termination of criminal cases against Gaidukov, the chance is 90% that these cases are resumed. With such Articles of the Criminal Code, facts, and evidence, they could not properly tie up all loose ends. And the limitation period for such grievous crimes is 10 years. Taking the organization and systematic character of the embezzlements, even Article 210 of the Criminal Code (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein) may be applied. Most probably, it is already in the case file. Gaidukov could not embezzle funds alone, right? There was likely a group – with a hierarchy, distribution of rules between members, etc. Of course, after so many years, it would be difficult to prove this. But I and some of my colleagues would try. By the way, they must have accomplices in utility companies – otherwise, how can you explain that neither Kurskvodokanal Municipal Unitary Enterprise, nor Gorteploset’ Municipal Unitary Enterprise, nor Kurskenergosbyt Open Joint Stock Company had disputed the termination of the criminal cases? Are they so rich that they don’t care about a few millions of rubles? Of course, somebody made good money on this. OK, after all, Kurskenergosbyt is an open joint stock company. But Kurskvodokanal and Gorteploset’ are municipal unitary enterprises – i.e. budgetary institutions. Their ‘forgiveness’ could not pass unnoticed by the city leaders. Therefore, the municipal officials are likely implicated as well. But now Dmitry is ‘working’ not on his own. Local criminal Timur Tutov – a ‘living legend’ – supervises him.
Why a person suspected of murder and armed robbery is easily winning governmental contracts surpassing competitors? How could law enforcement authorities release from criminal liability a person who had robbed residents and defrauded utility companies? Why the ‘alliance’ between a released brigand and experienced fraudster remains unnoticed? Plenty of questions and no answers...