Who Is Who In Gaizer's Case? In Short
On December 27, the Moscow Zamoskvoretsky Court will begin to consider the criminal case of ex-head of the Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gayzer. In total, there are 20 people involved in the case (now, the number was reduced to 16), two of them concluded a pre-trial agreement, and one committed suicide in the pre-trial detention center. On the eve of the beginning of the case consideration, Russiangate talks about the defendants and about what they are accused of.
THE KEY DEFENDANTS OF THE CASE
Former head of the Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gayzer was detained on September 19, 2015. According to the investigation, the former governor, together with accomplices, headed a criminal group created to seize state property. The group has operated for ten years – from 2005 to 2015.
The defendants of the case received bribes in the amount of more than 198 million rubles, stole 100% of the shares of Poultry Farm Zelenetskaya and 67 million rubles of the Foundation for Support of Investment Projects in the Republic of Komi. They legalized the property obtained by criminal means worth more than 988.5 million rubles. The damage from their actions is estimated at 3.5 billion rubles.
Vyacheslav Gayzer is charged with the most criminal episodes. He is accused of seven crimes: the creation of a criminal community using the official position, two episodes of fraud on an especially large amount, two bribes on an especially large amount and two episodes of money laundering.
During the searches in Gayzer’s office, investigators discovered a large amount of money and a collection of elite wristwatches. They also found documents for several offshore companies, as well as evidence of negotiations for the purchase of private aircrafts Bombardier and Hawker. Now, the former head of the Komi is in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. Gayzer does not admit his guilt. At the court session on December 14, he accused the investigation of lying.
Former head of the Republic of Komi Vladimir Torlopov was arrested the last, on October 6, 2016. Torlopov headed the region for eight years, from late December 2001 to early January 2010. After that, he moved to the Federation Council.
The investigation believes that Torlopov, together with Gayzer, Veselov, Chernov and Zarubin, created and managed an organized criminal community. He is also accused of involvement in embezzlement of the shares of the Poultry Farm Zelenetskaya, seizure of other enterprises and money laundering. Torlopov admitted his guilt. Now he is under house arrest and wears an electronic bracelet.
The former Deputy Chairman of the Board of the holding Renova, Alexander Zarubin, is the only person involved in the case, who is at large. For a long time, he was the “right hand” of one of the richest people in Russia, Viktor Vekselberg. In addition, Zarubin was called the “master of Komi”.
Like other key defendants of the case, he is accused of creating and managing a criminal community, money laundering and seizing state property. Zarubin left Russia just a few days before the detentions started. Now he, presumably, is hiding in the UK.
Before the arrest, Valery Veselov managed the Syktyvkar sawmill and wood processing plant and was on the Board of Directors of CJSC Komizhilstroy.
In addition to managing the criminal community, he is charged with the theft of shares of the Poultry Farm Zelenetskaya and a share of the authorized capital of Syktyvkar Industrial Complex LLC (SPK). According to Izvestia, the investigation believes that Veselov siphoned abroad state assets in the amount of 197 million rubles. The last episode is connected with one of the defendants of the Oboronservis case. Veselov is under arrest and is kept in Lefortovo.
Deputy Head of the Komi Republic Alexey Chernov, like the rest of the defendants, was engaged in fraud and participated in money laundering through foreign offshore companies, as the investigation believes. Like Gayzer, Chernov is accused of two episodes of bribery. The defendant was arrested and together with other defendants of the case is in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center.
The former chairman of the State Council of Komi was charged with participation in a criminal group, illegal seizure of state property, money laundering and bribe-taking. Kovzel was arrested and is in Lefortovo as well.
Kovzel exerted pressure on deputies so that they make the right decisions on financing companies controlled by the organized criminal community. According to Kovzel, he could not influence the deputies: the defendant reproached the investigation for ignorance of the laws and said that the State Council only adopts the law on the budget, but does not deal with the distribution of money.
The Managing Director of Medlizing LLC was arrested together with the majority of the defendants, on September 20, 2015. At the first interrogation, he expressed a desire to cooperate with the investigation and answered all questions. Then, Libenzon has asked to change a measure of pre-trial restraint to house arrest, but the court refused to do that. He is accused of involvement in a criminal community, fraud and money laundering.
In the spring of 2016, Libenzon tried to commit suicide in the pre-trial restriction center. Before that, he complained about voices and sounds and said that he was being physically pressured with the use of technical devices. After the suicide attempt, Libenzon spent 20 days at the Psychiatry Research Center named after Serbsky.
According to the investigation, entrepreneur Mikhail Khruzin took part in laundering the criminal group’s money. According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, he was listed as the founder of three companies in Komi – Inkomtorg LLC, Technomax LLC and Promcenter LLC, which ceased operations in 2008-2009. Earlier, 50% of these companies belonged to the former CEO of Renova, Alexander Zarubin, one of the organizers of Gayzer’s criminal group.
Now Mikhail Khruzin owns operating companies in St. Petersburg - Pekarnya LLC, Kazanskaya 2 LLC, Paul LLC and Svetlanovskaya Ploschad LLC. Khruzin was arrested and sent to Lefortovo.
Vasily Molyarov was one of those whom the Investigative Committee called “financiers-technologists” – businessmen and lawyers involved in the criminal group. Molyarov is accused of involvement in an organized criminal community, major fraud and money laundering. Now Vasily Molyarov is under house arrest.
Pavel Marushchak is former head of the information department of the administration of the Komi head and government. He is accused of participating in an organized criminal community, as well as receiving a bribe of 1 million rubles from a construction company.
According to the investigators, for a bribe, Marushchak persuaded local deputies to add a land plot in Syktyvkar to a multi-story buildings development zone. As a result, the most valuable territory of the urban botanical garden became a part of a construction site.
Now Marushchak is in the pre-trial detention center. There, he began to write a book How to survive in a Russian SIZO.
Igor Kudinov, the former CEO of the Foundation for Support of Investment Projects, is also in the SIZO. He is accused of involvement in an organized criminal community, particularly large fraud and money laundering. According to the investigation, through the state-owned foundation headed by Kudinov, state assets were siphoned to offshores.
The scheme worked as follows: the Foundation created a subsidiary company called Agroholding, the second founder of which was the Cyprus offshore. According to orders of Vyacheslav Gayzer, the largest state enterprises of Komi – the Poultry Factory Zelenetskaya, a dairy plant in Syktyvkar, Syktyvkarkhleb – are transferred under the management of Agroholding. In the meantime, Agroholding creates a subsidiary company Metleasing LLC. The main shareholder of the company is the Cypriot offshore Grittonbai Treiding LTD. At the same time, more than 2 billion rubles are allocated from the budget for the reconstruction of the poultry farm.
After that, Agroholding withdrew from the founders of the Foundation. Thus, according to the investigation, the income of the Syktyvkar enterprises ended up being on Cypriot accounts.
Natalia Motorina was a lawyer of Yuri Bondarenko, one of the persons of interest in the case. According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, until 2014, Motorina was the founder of CJSC Yuridicheskaya Kompaniya (Legal Company), and until 2015 –director of the management company Sovetnik (Advisor) in Komi.
She is suspected of involvement in a criminal community, especially large fraud, receiving a particularly large bribe and money laundering. Now she is under house arrest.
During the period when Vyacheslav Gayzer was managing the Republic, Alexey Sokolov was CEO of Kompleksnoye Upravleniye Poryektami (Integrated Project Management) LLC. He is connected with the episode of Gayzer’s bribe-taking. According to the investigation, in 2014, Gayzer's people were given a bribe in the form of 50% of the shares of company Autocenter LLC, which owns hotel Avalon.
Earlier, the company belonged to former senator from Komi Yevgeny Samoilov. He gave it as a bribe to Gayzer for patronizing his own business through Alexey Sokolov. In 2014, he became a formal owner of 50% of the company called Autocenter.
Sokolov was first a witness in the case, but now became a person of interest. He is under a written undertaking not to leave the country.
Entrepreneur Alexander Tretyakov is accused of involvement in a criminal community and money laundering – that is all that is known about him. Now he is under the obligation not to leave the country.
The former director of Agroholding, Sergey Smeshnoy, first was a witness in the case, and later became a defendant. He is charged with participation in a criminal community, especially large fraud, as well as money laundering. He is under a written undertaking not to leave.
DEATH, TWO PLEA BARGAINS AND TERMINATION OF THE CRIMINAL PERSECUTION
The former CEO of OJSC Komizhilstroy and current CEO of Metleasing, Anton Faershtein, was one of the important defendants. He was arrested in September 2015 and placed in the pre-trial detention center Matrosskaya Tishina.
Faershtein was accused of involvement in a criminal group and fraud. At the time when the Gayzer group seized the poultry farm, he was the director of the company Metling Ltd., to which 95% of the shares of production were transferred.
In the evening of August 9, it transpired that Faershtein hanged himself in the cell. After the death, forensic experts discovered that the prisoner had broken ribs. According to one of the versions, they were damaged during the rescue operations.
Deputy Chairman of the Komi Government from 2009 to 2015. Since 2004, he headed the regional tariff service. Romadanov is accused of participating in a criminal group. Other details of the charge are unknown. Nine months after his arrest – in June 2016 - it transpired that Romadanov pleaded guilty, testified and concluded a pre-trial agreement. The criminal case against him has been severed from other charges.
Moskvin, another “financier-technologist”, was arrested in September 2015 and placed in a pre-trial detention center. On March 16, 2017, the Basmanny Court sent him under house arrest: he fully confessed his guilt, repented, concluded a deal with the investigation and testified against other defendants in the case. After Moskvin concluded the pre-trial agreement, charges against him were severed from others.
Bondarenko is the entrepreneur and co-owner of Inlescom, which appears in the scheme for privatizing state property. First he was sent under house arrest. In mid-2016, Bondarenko ceased to be involved in the case – he left the criminal group in 2007, and now actively cooperates with the investigation.
The criminal prosecution against businessman Alexander Goldman was also terminated. Only one thing is known about his role and participation in the criminal group: the investigators call him one of the “financier-technologists”.