Head of Federal Customs Service got afraid well prior to “alcohol” searches? 

Head of Federal Customs Service got afraid well prior to “alcohol” searches?
At the house of the Head of Federal Customs Service, Andrey Belyaninov Photo: Gazeta.ru

Security officials inspect the connection between customs officers and expensive alcohol smugglers. Reportedly, the Head of the Federal Customs Service has already written a letter of resignation.

The officers of the Internal Security Directorate of FSB raided the Federal Customs Service. This was reported by the official representative of the Investigative Committee of Russia, Vladimir Markin. According to him, searches were also held at the office of the Head of Federal Customs Service Andrey Belyaninov, at the offices of his deputies Ruslan Davydov and Andrey Strukov and at the house of the Department’s Head located in Bachurino. FSB officers were amazed at the luxurious interiors of his country house. The walls of his house are decorated with paintings of 17-19th centuries; the security forces admitted these may be the original paintings. In addition, in Belyaninov’s house there were found large sums of money in rubles and foreign currency stored in shoe boxes. According to security officials, Belyaninov personally took those down off the shelves, Gazeta.ru reports. 

Earlier, a TASS source aware of the situation had reported, that “the Head of the Service Andrey Belyaninov has not been searched.” And that he had been previously notified of the inspections. At the same time, he had already written a letter of resignation, according to Dozhd’s sources. Allegedly, the letter was filed six months ago, but was not signed, because the search for a new decent position for Belyaninov was in progress.

In addition, the places of residence and work of the President of Strakhovaya Kompaniya Arsenal (Arsenal Insurance Company), Sergey Lobanov, were also searched; Lobanov is the founder of at least 15 different companies, whose activities are closely connected with the Russian Federal Customs Service.

The security organs’ visit to the Customs Service is related to the case of alcohol smuggling. Its prime suspects include the Forum Holding owner Dmitriy Mikhalchenko, the Deputy Director of the Forum Holding Boris Korevskiy, the co-owner of Contrail Logistic Severo-Zapad LLC Valeriy Kindzerskiy, and the Director general of Yugo-Vostochnaya Torgovaya Kompaniya (South East Trading Company) Ilya Pichko. They all were charged under the article Smuggling of alcoholic beverages by an organized group (Part 3 of Art. 200.2 of the Russian Criminal Code).

Moreover, Mikhalchenko and Korevskiy are already in custody. Late last month, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow extended their pre-trial restrictions in the form of detention. They will remain in custody up to September 29, as a minimum. Thus, the Court rejected the request of the counsel for the accused to place them under house arrest or release on bail amounting to 100 and 30 million rubles, for Mikhalchenko and Korevskiy respectively.

According to the investigation, it is them who are related to the two containers with rare brandy (Courvoisier 1912) and expensive wine in the terminal of the Ust-Luga port, Leningrad Region, discovered by the officers of the FSB Economic Security Service on March 5, 2016. The damage caused by these actions amounted to around 2 million rubles.

At the same time, an RBK source close to the FSB senior officers  said that today’s visit of the security officers may be associated with other cases. According to the source, Mikhalchenko “was not the only businessman who could use illegal schemes of goods transportation across the border at the north-west.”

According to the State Duma Deputy Dmitriy Gorovtsov, “Belyaninov turned the Federal Customs Service into a honeypot for public servants.” Due to the inefficient administration or theft in the customs authorities, the federal budget came up 2.5 trillion rubles short in 2013, as he told to Sobesednik.

It should be reminded that it is not the first time that Belyaninov has been searched. In 2013, law enforcement officers already paid him a visit. Back then it was related to the illegal issue of special transport licenses.

Andrey Belyaninov’s career began in the USSR KGB; he was responsible for financial matters. In the second half of the 1980s, he worked in the Soviet Union embassy in the German Democratic Republic, where he met with Vladimir Putin. In 1991, he went into business. Starting in 2000, Belyaninov was the head of Rosoboronexport. In 2006, he headed the Federal Customs Service. 

Photos: Gazeta.ru

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