Who hides behind governors?
Twenty-six deputy governors have recently been brought to criminal investigations. While arrests of the governors attract attention on the federal level, the criminal cases against their deputies seldom spill over the regional boundaries. Often, the deputy governors are actively involved into corruption activity of their bosses and struggle for political influence and resources within their region. Eduard Belozerov found out what the deputy governors had been convicted for, who of them has been awaiting trial and who has been released.
Four: behind the bars
Two former deputy governors of Novgorod region have been serving their terms in prisons. In 2013, first deputy governor Arnold Shalmuev was arrested over the charges of embezzlement of the public money: 15.4 mln rubles allocated for fixing the roads. In April 2016, he was sentenced to eight years and 10 month in prison. The Investigative Committee then said that would serve a lesson to the corrupt officials.
Still, in August 2015, Vyacheslav Nechayev was arrested over the charges of a fraud attempt. Investigators believe he offered the head of Shimsk district Mikhail Nekipelov to cancel a criminal investigation against the latter. For that, Nechayev asked 5.5 mln rubles and found himself under investigation. In August 2016, he was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison.
In Ivanovo region, the first deputy head of the government Andrei Kabanov was imprisoned for taking a bribe. For 7 mln rubles, he promised to preserve the office for the head of the forestry committee, and for 1 mln rubles to facilitate a private firm. On April 20, 2017 court sentenced Kabanov to 8 ½ years in prison and fined him 30 mln rubles.
In some cases, the judges sentence the officials to probation only. Former deputy head of Yaroslavl regional government Rostislav Danilenko was sentenced to 2 ½ years of suspended term. He pledged himself guilty of fraud with salaries of the medical workers and issuing building permits.
Eighteen: awaiting trial
Currently, 18 officials have been either under criminal investigations or their cases have been heard in courts.
On March 13, 2017 the hearing over Ryazan former deputy governor Dmitry Andreev started. He has been suspected of abuse of power, fraud and two counts of bribe-taking on 1.7 mln rubles. Several high-ranking officials have been involved in the case, including a deputy head of the government Vladimir Trushkin (he was searched on June 8). Trushkin immediately resigned and was hospitalized before a criminal case was opened.
In Khabarovsk region in April 2017, the hearing over ex-deputy head of the government Sergei Ignatovich started. He has been accused of power abuse, mediation in bribery and illegal commercial activity. He has been under house arrest since February 2016 as well as construction minister Andrei Skomorokhov. Investigators suspect Skomorokhov of facilitating Ignatovich and a firm he control of removing competitors in a 90-mln-ruble contract.
Ignatovich had also concocted an illegal deal with the main federal inspector Vitaly Lukyanchuk. The deputy governor promised him to renovate the inspector’s service apartment free of charge in exchange for obtaining a state contract on reconstruction of a childcare facility. The both men have been arrested.
In April 2017, former first deputy governor of Ivanovo region Dmitry Kulikov was released. In May 2016, he became a defendant in a criminal case over taking an extra-large bribe. The investigators believe he received 5 mln rubles from former mayor of Ivanovo, Vyacheslav Sverchkov, for solving land issues. Kulikov’s lawyer insist the accusation has been absurd, as the IC has not found any evidence against him during a year. The accusations have been based entirely on the confessions of the ex-mayor.
Not all is okay with the case of Chelyabinsk deputy governor Nikolai Sandakov. On April 26, two criminal cases against him were merged in the Sovetsky district court of Chelyabinsk.
The first criminal case has been based on confessions of the Ozersk former city manager Eugeny Tarasov convicted for embezzlement of over 20 mln rub. The second case has been based on confessions of the director of the Piton security firm Igor Kalugin who had allegedly given Sandakov a bribe of 1.9 mln rub for obtaining contracts over protection of the regional officials.
In March, Sandakov was released from a house arrest due to expiration of the term of punishment but the court hearing has been continued. The official himself calls those cases fabricated.
On June 7, the arrest of a deputy governor of Kursk region Vasili Zubkov suspected of taking a bribe was extended until August 4. Investigators believe that in 2015 he took a bribe in a form of property worth over 1 mln rub. In exchange, he put a blind eye on violations during a house construction. The General director and accountant of a local construction firm as well as a former chief of the Emergency ministry department have also been involved.
St-Petersburg former deputy governor Marat Oganesyan will also spend summer in detention. He has been accused of an extra-large fraud and taking a 20-mln-ruble bribe through intermediators from the General director of the SEM-5 LLC. The official received the bribe for signing a contract over a lightening of the Zenit-Arena stadium. Several employees of the company have also been detained.
In Vladimir region, two deputies of the governor Svetlana Orlova have been under arrest. Elena Mazanko has been under house arrest during the investigation. She was detained on June 4, 2017 on suspicion of taking a 3-mln-ruble bribe in exchange for facilitation to the commercial firms to win the contracts on renovation of the administrative building. Meanwhile, deputy governor Dmitry Khvostov remains in pre-trial detention. The operatives study four counts of bribery on 16 mln rubles. For that sum, Khvostov promised his protection to the construction firms.
In Komi republic, the governor Vyacheslav Gaizer and his deputies Konstantin Romadanov and Alexei Chernov have been serving prison terms. In 2015, they were accused of fraud and creation of a criminal ring, which damaged the budget on 1.1 bln rub. Despite Romadanov cooperated with the investigation, he has been remained in detention. But natalia Motorina and Eugeny Samoilov earned their release that way.
Two Kemerovo deputy governors were caught on extortion of 51% of shares from the owner of he Razrez Inskoi JSV Anton Tsygankov. The main investigator of the region and his subordinates have also been involved.
They all were detained on Nov 14, 2016 but a few days later Danilchenko’s terms had been mitigated and he got away with the house arrest. The governor Aman Tuleev said that was a way to exercise pressure on him. The investigation goes on.
In spring 2014 in Jewish autonomous region, two deputy heads of the government were detained under similar accusations but on the different cases. In March, Sergei Krivosheev was accused of taking a bribe and abuse of power: investigators believe he convinced the chief of the local Red Cross to buy goods and services from a certain supplier on 12 mln rub.
Krivosheev was suspended from his office but remained free. In June 2016, the case was re-characterized to “fraud” and the sum of the damage incurred rose to 14 mln rub. Krivosheev has been awaiting trial.
First deputy head of the Jewish region’s government Dmitry Prokhodtsev was convicted of taking an extra-large bribe and placed in a pre-trial facility the same time as Krivosheev in April 2014. He has been suspected of taking a cut of 5% of shares in exchange for facilitation of obtaining a state contract in the region. In February 2017, his case was returned to additional investigation by the prosecutor's office for the third time.
In April 2017, detention of the former deputy governor of the Maritime region Oleg Yezhov was extended until May. He has been waiting for a court ruling. Investigators found he had signed an act of acceptance of a fire depot which had not been built. He also paid a contractor 24.5 mln rub for the works which had not been done.
Another deputy governor, Sergei Sidorenko, was detained in december 2016 for preparations to committing a crime and a fraud committed by an organized group resulted in depriving a person of his dwelling. He has been accused of embezzlement of 10 mln rub from the budget.
Sidorenko has been under house arrest. In March 2017, the governor Vladimir Miklushevsky appointed another official to that position.
In Krasnodar region, the situation has been unusual. It is unknown what has happened to the criminal case of the former deputy governor Vadim Lukoyanov. He was arrested in February 2015 for abuse of power and released a year late on bail of 500,000 rub. In September 2016, the IC refused to reveal to the media a status of the case.
His colleague, deputy governor of Krasnodar region Yuri Gritsenko, has been detained on fraud charges and abuse of power. He has been accused of obtaining a land plot from a municipal property in 2010. He also organized a scheme of withdrawing 200 mln rub from the budget disguised as a loan for a Kuban universal bank (the bank lost its license in October 2016).
Despite Gritsenko had been under investigation for a few months, he resigned in late May only. He has been in a pre-trial facility and his case has been investigated by the FSB.
Two officials stand apart
A former deputy governor of Krasnodar Alexander Ivanov got away with responsibility. In december 2015, he was accused of abuse of power while allocating the land plots for a sports facility in 2007. Ivanov had spent time in a pre-trial detention and under the house arrest. In April 2016, the court closed his case due to expiry of the period of limitation.
Head of the IC’s investigative department of Krasnodar region Vadim Bugaenko said that Ivanov’s guilt had been proven and the case was closed under non-rehabilitating ground. Still, the court arrested Ivanov’s property worth 1 bln rub.
Now the former deputy governor works as a managing director of the AFK Sistema and controls the Delta construction company which earned about 3 mln rub on state contracts in 2010-2015.
Former deputy governor of Tumen region Pavel Mitrifanov has been arrested in absentia, he has been under an international search warrant for giving a bribe of 5 mln rubles. The law enforcers believe he was trying to close a criminal case against his acquaintance Gendrik Mundut accused of stealing of 5 bln rub from the VTB in 2006. Mitrofanov sold a part of his business and moved to Latvia.
Two: released upon servin terms
Former deputy governor of Krasnodar region and ex-director of Ulyanovsk branch of the Rosselkhozbank Eduard Kutygin served three years for illegal acquisition of the bank’s funds using his powers. In 2009-2011, when he was the director of the bank, Kutygin used to give out generous benefits to his employees, thus incurring the damage to the bank of 18.5 mln rub.
In April 2017, former deputy governor of Omsk region Yuri Gamburg was released earlier by 2 years 7 months and 18 days. He was detained in 2014 on suspicion of abuse of power and fraud with land plots. However, thanks to his cooperation with the investigation, a former subordinate of Victor Nazarov got away with a fine of 7.45 mln rub and 2-year ban to work in public service.