New witnesses in case of Orlovskaya Niva owner kidnapping
According to the witnesses, Sergey Budagov was taken away by kidnappers on Lada-2107.
Moskovsky Komsomolets has found witnesses in the kidnapping of the Orlovskaya Niva agricultural holding owner Sergey Budagov, which took place the day before outside a gardening partnership in the Zavodsky district of Orel. Masked men stopped a Lexus LX570 carrying Budagov and his driver. At the point of a gun, the businessman and his driver were seated in the backseat and taken to the Luzhkovskoe cemetery on the southern outskirts of the city. Then Budagov was put in another car and taken to an unknown destination; the tied up driver was left in the SUV.
It turned out that there was roadwork not far from the cemetery, Moskovsky Komsomolets reports. Budagov’s driver managed to get out of the car and make his way to the road workers. He asked them to untie him. According to one of the witnesses, the driver's hands were tied with a plastic cable clamp and a belt from the jeans. “He was so shocked he could not get any words out; he only said that the bandits arrived by LADA 2107. And that was it. The workers called the police. Apparently, he had walked about one and a half kilometers,” the witness said. The witnesses also said that Budagov was kidnapped by people on eggplant LADA 2107.
One of the locals told the publication that Budagov is known as a person with a “complex reputation” in the Orel region. The source said that the businessman could have had many ill-wishers. “To put it mildly, he is a difficult man and is in conflict with many people,” a local said.
It is reported that Budagov planned to return his agricultural holding from the Tula region back to Orel. The company was re-registered in a different region in 2016, after the businessman’s conflict with former Orel Region Governor Vadim Potomsky. Budagov did this after the regional authorities expressed their intention to return the holding's shares to the region.
Orlovskaya Niva was sold in 2010 for 14.1 million rubles ($227,010). In 2014, the leadership of the Orel region decided that the transaction amount was understated, and appealed to the Arbitration Court with a demand to recognize the transaction illegal. According to Budagov, when his company bought the holding, he was on the verge of bankruptcy. The Arbitration Court supported the businessman and refused to satisfy the appeal. This position was supported by the Arbitration Court of Appeal, the Arbitration Court of the Central District, and the Supreme Court.
After that, a criminal case on bribery allegations was initiated against Budagov. In February 2017, the Court acquitted the businessman, admitting that Head of the regional department of the State Property Andrey Sinyagov “artificially” created the conditions for bribe-taking. Then the authorities began to refuse to extend the lease to stores where Orlovskaya Niva products were sold. The businessman won this case, too; nevertheless, he moved his facilities to the Tula region, because he thought that the Orel region authorities would impede his work in the future. After the leadership of the Orel region was replaced, Budagov spoke with Acting Governor Andrey Klychkov and decided to return his business to the region. Soon after his return, he was kidnapped.
According to the ICR Investigations Directorate in the Orel region, there are no suspects in the case yet.
“People see them walking in the market. But we do not approach them and do not make a selfie with them. We do not care who they are,” said a representative of the city authorities about Putin’s relatives.