Corruption Weekly: 23-27 October

Russiangate publishes digest of the most important media investigations.

Monday, October 23, Transparency International came out with an investigation about artistic directors of Russian theaters. The organization claims that at least 14 of them, including Oleg Tabakov, Nadezhda Babkina, Konstantin Raikin, Oleg Menshikov received state contracts from their own theaters in order to earn more money.

Investigators did not ignore, probably, the most notorious artistic director – Kirill Serebrennikov of Gogol Center, who is also the founder of Seventh Studio. He is under house arrest on charges of embezzling 68 million from the budget. According to authors of the investigation, they started studying funding of theaters in 2016, before the first searches at Seventh Studio. "Despite the huge attention to the situation, we decided to publish the results of our investigation, since philosophy of our organization does not allow to silence it.”

Meduza, in its turn, interviewed managers of theaters, who were not mentioned in the investigation. They criticized the work of Transparency for not taking into account specifics of a theater work in their investigation.

October 24, OCCRP published an investigation about the inner circle of Vladimir Putin, which, according to organizations, controls about 24 billion dollars.

Most people of the circle turned out to be connected with oil and gas assets or state companies (for example, Yuri Kovalchuk, Gennady Timchenko and Rotenberg brothers). Authors of the investigation also called Putin's "purses" - they are Mikhail Shelomov, Sergei Roldugin and Pyotr Kolbin.

OCCRP Investigation

October 25, Transparency came out with a story about doubtful spending of of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg. Last year, it concluded 99 contracts with the Allegory of Law company to carry out expert works. The total amount of the contracts made amounted to almost 9.8 million rubles. The organization notes that all contracts concluded in the last six months of the fifth convocation of the Legislative Assembly. During 2013-2014, the Assembly concluded 20 contracts with founder of the company Andrei Ponomarev (who also works as a chairman of a St. Petersburg Territorial Electoral Commission) for almost five million rubles, and the new convocation - 32 more contracts for almost 3.2 million. Results of the work were not made public.

October 26, Mediazona published a special project on operational work on bribery cases (article 290 of the Criminal Code), within the framework of which journalists talked to ex-law enforcers, lawyers and other experts. The story describes in detail all the stages: from bringing participants of a crime to operational work to transferring money under control of siloviki and detaining an official.

The edition explains how charges over bribery become less grave (fraud) with the help of protection. Also, they tell about where security officials take money for operational search activities, why a participant of an operation has no right to provoke and induce to bribe, what are "chemical traps" and other.

By the way, in September the Russiangate told in detail how and who is being tried for receiving and giving bribes in Russia.

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