Customs inspection – so far Belyaninov is only eyewitness

Customs inspection – so far Belyaninov is only eyewitness
At the house of the head of Federal Customs Service Andrey Belyaninov Photo: Gazeta.ru

Investigators managed to get at Belyaninov with the help of testimonies of a detained upon the case on contraband of expensive alcohol.  Yesterday’s searches in Customs Service and at the house of its head were only beginning of a high-profile case.⁠

It was hard to suppose what would happen after the building of Federal Customs Service (FCS) was searched.

According to the TASS informed source, rumors that the Head of the service – Andrey Belyaninov – would not be the main target of the investigators, were totally disposed later in the evening, when servicemen came to his house.

He is currently being checked on involvement in illegal elite alcohol supplies to Russia.

The mansion of the main customs officer of the country contained characteristic for all Russian officials items: luxurious interiors, antiques, paintings of past ages, collection of pens and shoeboxes stuffed with money (in total Belyaninov had about 10 million rubles, 490 thousands dollars and 350 thousands euros in cash).

The question of the money origin is still to be solved by the law enforcers. Belyaninov himself explained the millions found at his house by "family savings”.

The searches were also conducted in cabinets of deputies of the Federal Customs Service’s Head – Andrey Strukov, who is responsible for work of the General Department of Organization and Inspection, Legal Department and Administrative Department; and Ruslan Davydov, heading the General Department of Organization of Customs Processing and Customs Control, Information Technology General Department and General Department of Customs Control after Goods Release.

Besides, Belyaninov was questioned in the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia, so far like an eyewitness upon the case on contraband, Kommersant reported.

The investigators have also visited office of insurance company Arsenal, which is headed by former Counselor of Belyaninov – Sergey Lobanov. Being an owner of more than ten firms, activities of which are closely connected with the Federal Customs Service, Lobanov attracted the investigation’s attention.

“Items and documents important for the criminal case’s investigation were withdrawn during the searches”, told the official representative of the Investigative Committee of Russia Vladimir Markin.

The chain leads to another important person – the Head of Forum Holding Dmitry Mikhalchenko, who is already under custody. He is accused of illegal conveyance of alcoholic products on large scale through customs border and failures to pay obligatory customs payment (part 3 of Art. 200.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The motive for the case was a package of rare cognac (Courvoisier 1912) and expansive wine, discovered by officers of Economic Security Service of FSB on March 5, 2016, at the terminal of port in Ust-Lug in the Leningrad Region.

Besides Mikhalchenko, there are several others targets in the case – the Deputy of General Director of Forum Holding Boris Korevsky, co-owner of Kontreyl Logistic Severo-Zapad company Valery Kindzersky and General Director of Ugo-Vostochnaya Torgovoya Kompaniya (Southeast Trade Company) Ilya Pichko. Supposedly, the latters could have give all the chain, leading to the front office of Federal Customs Service, up. Yesterday Pichko was released on bail at a cost of 10 million rubles, while Kindzersky agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors.

According to the Interfax informed source, Kindzersky gave testimonies, telling that with the help of Sergey Lobanov, a company-supplier of the elite alcohol Kontreyl Logistic Severo-Zapad, got a status, which allowed mote loyal regime of customs check. According to the source, thus the prosecution found links to Lobanov and through him to the Head of FCS Andrey Belyaninov.

After the searches, rumors appered, that Belyaninov handed in resignation, however, so far this information has not been confirmed, while the information regarding his wish to resign appeared in January 2016.  

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