Corruption in Russia - 2017: Arrests, Courts, Sentences

Detentions, arrests and sentences of the most high-profile corruption cases of the outgoing year
27.12.2017
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On January 31, Russia's Attorney General Yuri Chaika commented on FBK's (Anti-Corruption Foundation) investigation into the business and criminal ties of his sons. In particular, a TASS journalist asked Chaika if he did not think it was a tricky situation when the father holds a state post, and the children make a successful career in business.

“Why should I be embarrassed? The sons achieve everything themselves, they are smart guys, with brains. I did not help them, both of them established their own business. From the scratch! Both the junior and the senior,” said the Prosecutor General.

After the investigation of the Anti-Corruption Foundation into the business of the Prosecutor General’s sons, there were no checks or investigations by the state authorities.

On February 16 in Simferopol, former vice-premier of the Crimea Oleg Kazurin was arrested. The Deputy Head of the region supervised the construction sector. Kazurin is suspected of taking a bribe in the amount of 27 million rubles. The Investigative Committee believes that for this amount the Deputy Prime Minister was supposed to “facilitate the selection of one of the construction companies as the sole supplier when concluding a contract for the construction of housing in the Crimea.” In addition, he guaranteed the general patronage of the company in the performance of the contract. The name of the company was not disclosed. Kazurin is under arrest and is preparing for trial.

On March 6, the court of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk began to consider the case of ex-governor of the Sakhalin Region Alexander Khoroshavin. He was arrested on March 4, 2015. The ex-governor is accused of creating an organized criminal group in 2009. According to the investigation, the OCG received bribes from eight entrepreneurs for a total of 522 million rubles for the protection of their business. The court will pass the sentence on January 22, 2018.

On March 9, the Basmanny Court of Moscow temporarily suspended the head of Vladivostok, Igor Pushkarev. Despite the fact that the official was arrested in the summer of 2016, he was formally the mayor of the city. And only at the beginning of November 2017, he wrote a letter of resignation at his own request.

Pushkarev is accused of embezzlement in the amount of 160 million rubles and taking a bribe of 75 million rubles. According to the investigation, from 2009 to 2016, he purchased building materials for the needs of the city for budgetary money from companies controlled by his close relatives. These companies are included in the SC Vostokcement. For these transactions, the mayor of the city received a bribe.

On March 15, after inspections of illegal accruals of bonuses to the management of the Russian Post, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case. It was a one-time bonus received by the CEO of the organization, Dmitry Strashnov.

The Prosecutor General's Office believed that the head of the company illegally charged himself bonuses in the amount of 95.4 million rubles. Another official also ended up on the dock: the investigation decided that the director of the Department of Organizational Development of Russia’s Ministry of Communications, Irina Lapteva, is responsible for what happened. It was she who overstated the CEO’s salary. After the scandal, in early July, Strashnov was fired from the Russian Post.

In early September, the Basmanny Court seized the money on Strashnov's accounts equal to the bonus he received. On November 2, he took the post of the operational director of the Eurokhim group and went to work to the holding’s headquarters in Switzerland. At the time of writing of the given material, none of the defendants in the case were taken into custody.

On March 16, the Investigative Committee initiated criminal proceedings against Mikhail Yurevich, the former governor of the Chelyabinsk Region. He is accused of taking a bribe of 26 million rubles from the former health minister of the Chelyabinsk Region. In May, the Sverdlovsk court arrested the ex-governor in absentia. Yurevich denies his guilt and is on treatment in London.

He also was one of the defendants in the case of receiving bribes worth not less than 3.4 billion rubles. However, as of now, within the second case, he has not yet been charged and has a status of a suspect.

On March 18, in in the cell of a pre-trial detention center No. 5 called Vodnik in Moscow, the body of Vladimir Evdokimov, the former executive director of Roskosmos, was found. He died of three knife hits – two in the heart, one in the neck. The investigation considered that he, along with his accomplices, had fraudulently got hold of the right to the property of OJSC Russian Aircraft Corporation “MiG”. The company's value is estimated at 200 million rubles. The investigators believe that someone could be afraid of Yevdokimov's testimony.

On March 22, the Basmanny Court arrested six suspects of embezzling 255 million rubles in the construction of the presidential residence in Novo-Ogarevo. CEO of the construction company Stroifasad, Stanislav Kyuner, the head of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Ateks Andrey Kaminov and former CEO of StroyKomplekt Dmitry Torchinsky were taken into custody. Together with them, businessmen Andrey Rodionov, Sergei Perevalov and Sergei Litvinov were arrested.

On April 13, ex-head of Mari El Leonid Markelov was detained. He is accused of taking a bribe in the amount of 235 million rubles from the founder of Akashevskaya Poultry Factory, Nikolai Krivash. According to the investigation, Markelov took money for help in obtaining subsidies from the state for the development of the agricultural complex.

On April 27, the Moscow City Court sentenced Denis Sugrobov, the former head of the MIA’s Anti-Corruption Department, to 22 years in a strict-security colony. His subordinates received from four to 20 years of imprisonment. At the end of December, the Supreme Court mitigated Sugrobov's sentence to 12 years in a high-security prison colony.

The court found Sugrobov guilty of creating and managing a criminal community. The group consisted of officers of anti-corruption department who falsified operational materials on businessmen and high-ranking officials. Later, they provoked them to commit crimes. According to the state prosecution, the community’s main purpose was not the money, but career growth and awards.

On May 23, the Investigative Committee instituted the case of the Seventh Studio on the theft of 68 million rubles allocated for staging performances within the framework of the Platforma project.

The defendants in the case are former CEO of the Seventh studio and director Kirill Serebrennikov, former CEO of Gogol Center Alexei Malobrodsky, director of the RAMT Sofya Apfelbaum, producer of the show A Midsummer Night's Dream Yekaterina Voronova and former chief accountant of the Seventh Studio Nina Maslyaeva.

Malobrodsky is in jail, Voronova went on vacation even before the criminal proceedings were initiated and after that, she refused to return to Russia. She was arrested in absentia. The rest of the defendants are under house arrest. Only Maslyaeva recognized the guilt. At the end of November, Voronova published a letter. In it, she accuses Maslyaeva of creating a “black box office” and forgery of documents.

On August 3, the City Court of Ozersk, the Chelyabinsk Region, convicted the former member of the Federation Council, Konstantin Tsybko. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in a strict-security prison and a fine of 70 million rubles. According to the investigation, the former senator received 17.5 million rubles from the head of the administration of the Ozersky City District for assistance in career promotion. Another 10 million rubles he received from an entrepreneur who was going to open a shopping center in Ozersk. For the “tenner”, the official promised to patronize the businessman.

On September 5, the court began to consider the case of ex-governor of the Kirov Region Nikita Belykh. He was detained in the summer of 2016. Nikita Belykh is accused of taking bribes totaling € 600 thousand from the leaders of the Novovyatsk Ski Plant and the Forest Management Company Kirovles for patronage of the enterprises.

On September 14, the former deputy director of the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences (FSIN), Oleg Korshunov, was charged with embezzlement of 160 million rubles with the use of official position. According to the investigation, Korshunov concluded contracts for the purchase of sugar and fuel for the FSIN at inflated prices. In November, Korshunov’s arrest was extended until February 13, 2018. In December, the former deputy head of the FSIN appealed to the chairman of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, asking him to interrogate him.

On September 27, Alexander Vakulin, chief of the technical support department of the food department of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and later its boss – head of the Department Alexander Berezhny and head of the department for the state defense order Alexey Grinyuk – were arrested. According to the investigation, they received bribes amounting to 368 million rubles for protecting entrepreneurs in concluding state contracts. This bribe became the largest in the history of the Ministry.

On October 9, the verdict on the “restorers' case” was delivered. Ex-Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov was sentenced to a year and six months in a general-regime colony and immediately released in the courtroom – he had already served that term in a pre-trial detention center.

According to the investigators, in 2012, Pirumov created a criminal group to steal money allocated for the restoration of cultural heritage sites. The officials of the Ministry of Culture gave the state contracts for the restoration of monuments to the company BaltStroy associated with St. Petersburg businessman Dmitry Mikhalchenko and former deputy head of the FSB in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region Nikolai Negodov. The damage amounted to about 164 million rubles.

The head of BaltStroy, Dmitry Sergeyev, was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison and a fine of 800,000 rubles. He was released from custody in the courtroom. However, at that moment, the building was blocked by FSB officers. They immediately detained him within another case on the theft of 225 million rubles allocated for the construction and repair of the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo.

Dmitry Mikhalchenko was arrested within another case – smuggling of expensive alcohol. All other defendants of the case were sentenced to suspended sentences or released in the courtroom.

October 11, it transpired that the Investigative Committee suspects several Roskomnadzor officials of fraud. The defendants in the case are press-secretary of the department Vadim Ampelonsky, head of Roskomnadzor’s legal department Boris Yedinin and chief of Roskomnadzor’s staff Alexander Veselchakov.

The Investigative Committee did not report what exactly the officials of the department are accused of. According to several media outlets, the case may be related to the withdrawal of funds from the FSUE Main Radio Frequency ​​Center, which is subordinate to Roskomnadzor. There, “dead souls” were hired for work, and their salaries were taken by the Roskomnadzor employees. The amount of theft is more than 20 million rubles.

On November 17, the military court of the Znamensky Garrison sentenced Gennady Lopyrev, the former head of the Federal Security Service in the North Caucasus Federal District, to ten years in prison and a fine of 150 million rubles. According to the investigation, Lopyrev received bribes in amount of 7 million rubles from businessmen for patronage when concluding contracts for repair and construction works.

On December 5, the Investigative Committee detained Pyotr Grishin, the chief of the Forensic Center of the Russian MIA, and his deputy Oleg Mazur. They are suspected of stealing funds when purchasing forensic equipment for the needs of the MIA. According to the investigation, Grishin and Mazur signed state contracts at inflated prices with the companies of their acquaintance. The damage from their actions is estimated at 90 million rubles.

On December 15, the Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow sentenced former economic development minister Alexei Ulyukayev to eight years in a strict-regime colony. In addition, the court fined Ulyukayev for 130 million rubles and banned him from holding managerial positions for eight years after his release. The court found that Ulyukaev received a bribe of $ 2 million in the fall of 2016. The court established that Minister Ulyukayev demanded a bribe from Rosneft for a positive conclusion on the purchase of Bashneft shares.

On December 19, the Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow began to consider the case of ex-head of the Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gayzer and his subordinates. They are accused of creating a criminal community that was engaged in seizure of enterprises, fraud, bribery and money laundering. In total, there are 16 persons involved in the case – all of them are officials who held high positions in Komi.

According to the investigation, the criminal group appropriated 100% of the shares of Poultry Farm Zelenetskaya, the funds of the Foundation for Support of Investment Projects of the Komi Republic. They are also charged with taking bribes and laundering illegal proceeds through off-shores. The damage from their actions amounts to 3.5 billion rubles.

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