“There were no unlawful requests.” Federal Security Service and Federal Customs Service generals friendly with oligarch Mikhalchenko testified
The defense insists that the witness accounts gave cause for remanding the case for further proceedings.
Former head of Economic Security Department of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Viktor Voronin and head of North-West Customs Administration of the Federal Customs Service Aleksander Getman told Basmanny District Court of Moscow the details of his friendship with a businessman Dmitry Mikhalchenko arrested for illicit trafficking. The details of these interrogations are reported by RBС with reference to audio messages.
In particular, General Voronin confirmed that he had been acquainted with Mikhalchenko for several years - about 18. In his words, there were no unlawful requests from Mikhalchenko. In particular, Voronin said that in March 2016, Mikhalchenko asked him a question about arrested containers of wine that he owns in Kingisepp Customs office. However, the General told him that it is a subject not directly linked to his mandate. Voronin had difficulty sharing the details of his conversation with Mikhalchenko in Moscow’s Radisson Royal hotel in March of the same year. It is to be recalled that the Prosecution believes that when the cargo was arrested, the businessman attempted to solve the issue using his contacts at the Customs office.
It is noteworthy that Voronin was dismissed from the Federal Security Service with the scandal. The case concerned his subordinate Vadim Uvarov who was presumably involved in illicit trafficking. The Department ‘K’ that does counterintelligence in the monetary and credit spheres is the key one for Russia’s FSB. Voronin was replaced by Ivan Tkachev who is considered to be one of the most influential Heads of Special Services.
As for Getman, he told the Court that he met Mikhalchenko in May 2015. Their communication was based on the launch of an international entry point in Bronka Port owned by Mikhalchenko. Mikhalchenko confirmed that Mikhalchenko asked him a question about arrested containers. However, it was a question of a general nature.
“As far as I remember, it was a question of a general nature: alcohol was detained in settlement of Ust-Luga - what will happen to it? I told him that if it’s untaxed, then it is barred from entry and a subject to seizure and disposal.” The witness specified.
Getman also told about the structure of the North-West Customs Administration and how it cooperates with the Central Board of Excise and Customs that deals with alcohol, tobacco goods, and fuel. The defense believes that this testimony gives cause for remanding Mikhalchenko’s case for further proceedings to eliminate irregularities.
In particular, the businessman’s lawyer Aleksey Kirsanov made the corresponding application to the court. The indictment states that the fact that alcohol was delivered to Ust-Luga Port is a crime itself because excisable goods are not registered there, while an analysis of Getman’s statements reveals that the Port allows excisable goods. In Kirsanov’s words, it violates the provision of the CPC under which the prosecution shall specify precisely the crime scene.
It is to be recalled that St. Petersburg oligarch Mikhalchenko was detained in March 2016 on charges of illicit trafficking related to alcohol (part 3 of Article 200.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 12 years of imprisonment). The occasion was the fact that cargo (two containers of wine) was detained in Ust-Luga Port in the Gulf of Finland. The alcohol was recorded as sealing compounds and freeze dried stuff. In summer this year, Mikhalchenko was charged in a particularly severe offense of Russia’s Criminal Code - building a criminal organization.
In 2018, the official became a founder of a fund that deals with shooting and entrapment of wild animals in a hunting sector he supervises. With that, the official did not report about it to his senior executives.