Corruption Weekly: 4-8 December

Russiangate publishes digest of the most important media investigations.

December 5, The Bell came out with a story about FSB Colonel Sergey Mikhailov, FSB Major Dmitry Dokuchaev, former employee of Kaspersky Lab Ruslan Stoyanov and businessman Georgy Fomchenkov involved in a leak of information about hacker attacks on the servers of the US Democratic Party. This was the reason for international scandal of Russia's interference in the American elections.

Earlier, Mikhailov was FSB’s cybercrime expert. Last year, together with his three colleagues, he was arrested on charges of treason, the circumstances of which were classified. The Bell’s sources said that, Mikhailov helped the US intelligence to obtain evidence of involvement of Russian hackers in attacks on the servers of the Democratic Party.

The US intelligence services believe that the attack was orchestrated by the Russian military intelligence service - the GRU (now - the General Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces), which later initiated criminal prosecution of the accused.

Sources close to the investigation told that formally the detained are accused of providing the US with information about the owner of Chronopay, Pavel Vrubelevsky. When he learned about this, he started to collect info on Mikhailov, and this disclosed the fact that the FSB colonel helped the investigation.

December 8, Meduza published a story about the work of Russia’s federal media regulator, Roskomnadzor. Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Main Radio Frequency Center" is in charge of monitoring for the federal agency. This enterprise turned out to be involved in a fraud case with the press secretary of Roskomnadzor, Vadim Ampelonsky, the head of the legal department, Boris Edinin, and the advisor to the director general, Alexander Veselchakov, as defendants. Earlier, they were accused of causing 23 million rubles damage to the budget. In 2017, Roskomnadzor paid 216 million rubles to the "Main Radio Frequency Center".

"The reporting of Main Radio Frequency Center overstates the cost of most subscriptions: thus, for access to the website of Vedomosti officials pay almost 10 thousand rubles (the official cost of annual subscription for legal entities is 6490 rubles). The highest price in the report is one-year subscription to Dozhd - 18,378 rubles for one user instead of 4,800 rubles, stated on the channel's website."


Transparency International Russia has published an investigation about Russians buying Maltese passports. The organization found out that about one thousand of Russians used such services, including top managers of state companies, deputies and "kings of state order."

"The abuse cases during purchase of Maltese passports clearly demonstrate the vulnerability of the Maltese "economic citizenship" program: lack of transparency and proper verification by the EU allow corrupt officials to avoid justice," authors of the investigation note.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating the issue before being killed in October. She was the first who identified people who had bought passports, and draw attention to the fact that selling passports to foreigners was the major part of shadow income of Maltese officials.

December 5, it became known that the International Olympic Committee allowed Russian athletes to take part in the 2018 Olympics under neutral flags. You can read more on spending during the Games in Sochi in the investigation by Anti-Corruption Foundation.

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