Defendant in billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko's case found dead in the wood
Ilya Pichko had been due to testify in the case of smuggling at the hearing on December 18.
One of the defendants in the high-profile case of alcohol smuggling, businessman Ilya Pichko, has been found dead in a ditch of Ilyichevo village forest range, Fontanka reports.
The publication noted that Pichko could have been murdered by his acquaintance back on December 8 in St. Petersburg, according to Fontanka.
Ilya Pichko was a defendant in the smuggling case, the main defendant of which is billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko.
December 11, Pichko failed to appear in the Basmanny Court of Moscow for a hearing. The defense attributed his absence to hospitalization. However, it was done so as not to interrupt the investigation, the publication says.
Ilya Pichko had been due to testify in the hearing of a criminal case initiated in 2016 scheduled for December 18. The case has been heard since mid-November. It is reported that the businessman has pleaded guilty and was ready to give detailed testimony.
Dmitry Mikhalchenko, Ilya Pichko, billionaire’s assistant Boris Korevsky, and sommelier Aleksey Mishchenko are charged with alcohol smuggling as part of an organized group (Art. 200.2 of the Russian Criminal Code). In June 2016, Ilya Pichko was released on bail for the pre-trial detention center at the investigation's request. The CrimeRussia reported that Ilya Pichko had given investigators testimony incriminating both himself and other defendants in the case.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.