Collected, Inherited or Set Up? Find Out the Origin of Colonel Zakharchenko's Big Money
On November 20, a stated meeting was held in the case of Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko, who is accused of bribery, abuse of powers and obstructing justice. During the investigation, Zakharchenko was charged with several new crimes: law enforcers found more than 9 billion rubles, 13 apartments and accounts in foreign banks, initiated a case against the former policeman’s father, arrested Zakharchenko's relatives and attempted to initiate proceedings against his civil wife. Russiangate looked into how the case of the failed corruption fighter developed.
PRE-INVESTIGATION AND A BAR OF GOLD
Dmitry Zakharchenko, deputy head of one of the divisions of the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Anti-Corruption, was detained last September. Up to this point, Zakharchenko was not particularly known: he was born in the Rostov Region, graduated from the North Caucasus Civil Service Academy and Rostov State University, began his career in the tax police. Four years later, Zakharchenko moved to Moscow and joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Initially, Zakharchenko was suspected of abuse of powers and obstruction of justice: the investigation believed that he warned the staff of the Investigative Committee – Mikhail Maksimenko, Alexander Lamonov and Denis Nikandrov – of the ongoing pre-investigation work and operational activities in their relation. Maksimenko, Lamonov and Nikandrov were suspected of taking bribes from mafia boss of Shakro Molodoy; in July 2016, they were detained and are now under investigation.
Zakharchenko's apartments and office were searched – $ 124 million, € 1.4 million, 342 million rubles and a gold bar (about 8.5 billion rubles in total) were seized from the apartment of the former colonel's sister. Another 24 million rubles were found in the corrupt official’s car, although Zakharchenko's lawyer claimed that the colonel used the car by proxy and the money belonged to the owner of the car.
The day after the detention, a source in law enforcement agencies told that Zakharchenko could help Mikhail Slobodin, the former director of VimpelCom and the head of IES Holding, against whom a pre-investigation was also underway at that time, to flee the country. Former colleagues of Slobodin in the IES Holding, which is a part of the Renova group of companies, Yevgeny Olkhovik and Boris Vainzikher were detained on suspicion of giving a bribe on an especially large scale.
Soon, information about Zakharchenko's help to the defendants of the Nota-Bank case transpired: that was the opinion of Tatiana Vasyuchenko, the judge of the Presnensky District Court of Moscow this. She said that Zakharchenko was well acquainted with the financial director of the bank, Galina Marchukova, and informed her of planned searches in the case of embezzlement in Nota-Bank and her upcoming detention. At the same time, the investigators suggested that Zakharchenko took bribes for such services. Later, Zakharchenko claimed about the pressure put on Galina Marchukova and her sister Larisa from the investigation, fearing that women would be forced to slander him.
Later, Zakharchenko was also charged with taking a bribe of 7 million rubles from the former head and co-owner of the company Rusinzhiniring Anatoly Pshegornitsky.
COMMON FUND, THE RUSSIAN RAILWAY AND KICKBACKS TO OIL BUSINESS
The money found in Zakharchenko’s apartment was kept in packs of American banks on which the seals of the regional banks of the Federal Reserve System of the United States were preserved – the investigators hoped to find out in this way where the funds came from. They did not exclude even the version of a criminal group that takes abroad funds intended for kickbacks to foreign oil companies.
The investigation also considered the version according to which Zakharchenko took Galina Marchukova's deposit of some of the funds stolen from Nota Bank. Later, a version appeared about the family business of Dmitry Zakharchenko and his father Viktor: as the sources of Kommersant told, in the banking circles, the father of the detained corruption fighter was known for various schemes designed for problem banks. The version put forward by the investigators suggested that the Zakharchenko family helped the banks to withdraw funds abroad before their license were revoked. Such a scheme could be used with Nota-Bank.
Zakharchenko was also suspected of involvement in financial fraud in the Russian Railways: Life.ru wrote about the railway empire of Zakharchenko’s “godfather”, head of the Russian Railways construction trust Viktor Kharchenko, who, according to Life, helped Zakharchenko to move to Moscow. Rosbalt’s sources reported that the funds found in the apartment of the corrupt official, were ordered by the Russian banks working with the Russian Railways’ contractors; Novaya Gazeta wrote that Zakharchenko participated in a scheme that unites several construction companies, which were the winners of the railway tenders.
According to another version, Zakharchenko was simply framed: former State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein, Chairman of the Coordination Council of the inter-regional Moscow police union Mikhail Pashkin and head of the human rights group Agora Pavel Chikov felt that the deputy head of the department could be the guardian of the common fund owned by his colleagues’ in the anticorruption department or even by an organized criminal community.
“BECAUSE OF THE POSITION”
The suspect himself shed all the accusations and said that he had nothing to do with the 8.5 billion rubles found in his sister’s apartment. The investigation considers this very apartment a family bank depository.
Zakharchenko linked his arrest with the promotion: “All these accusations against me were made up in order to slander me, remove me from the office. It happened exactly at the moment when I became the interim head of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption of the Russian MIA. It all started because of my position.” Zakharchenko also said that he knew about pre-investigation in relation to himself and that he would not have taken bribes in front of the operatives. The former corruption fighter also expected new articles in his case: for example, the legalization of illegally acquired funds.
Almost immediately after his arrest, Zakharchenko lost the post of deputy head of the “T” Department, which dealt with corruption offenses in the spheres of the fuel and energy complex and chemistry. The head of the Russian MIA, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, initiated an official check on the management of the agency, as a result of which Zakharchenko and head of the department Alexander Tishchenko were dismissed, and Zakharchenko’s direct chief Andrei Kurnosenko, the head of the conspiracy of cadres and civil service Vladimir Abmetko and head of the MIA’s transport department Oleg Kalinkin were proctorized. Later, in January 2017, the whole department was dismissed.
FAMILY AND PROPERTY
As early as November 2016, the Presnensky Court seized the accounts of Lilia Gorshkova, a relative of Zakharchenko's civil wife Anastasia Pestrikova. On those accounts there were about $ 16 million. Pestrikova said that she had transferred to Gorshkova the money earned by her father; Zakharchenko would only send her small sums for the child. In September of 2017, a year after the case started, the investigators asked to arrest Pestrikova as well – she was suspected of attempted fraud on an especially large scale, but as a result, the case was terminated.
In the spring of 2017, Victor Zakharchenko's father was detained. The criminal case against Viktor Zakharchenko, former employee of the Moscow Mortgage Agency MIA Vladimir Koryevkin and ex-head of the bank Sergei Grib is related to the embezzlement of MIA Bank's funds – according to the investigation’s version, Zakharchenko was fictitiously listed as a bank employee, receiving 4 million rubles of salary. As a result, the court also seized Viktor Zakharchenko's property – three apartments, two parking places and a house with a total cost of 400 million rubles. Now, the investigation into the case of the corrupt father continues.
In November 2017, the Prosecutor General's Office reported about 19.5 million rubles, € 600 thousand, $ 20 thousand found in the apartment of Zakharchenko's mother, Valentina Zakharchenko. She, at the same time, claimed that she had saved some of the money, and received some from selling real estate. The investigation did not believe the woman, thinking that Colonel Zakharchenko simply used his mother's and sister's apartments to store money obtained by criminal means.
The Prosecutor General's Office demanded to seize the apartments (13 in total), as well as four cars owned by Zakharchenko and his family members, in favor of the state, since neither Zakharchenko nor his family have documents that could confirm the sources of their income. According to law enforcers, Zaharchenko's income for 15 years of work in the civil service amounted to 12 million rubles, while the total amount of funds found was about 9 billion rubles. Despite this, Zakharchenko said that he accumulated these funds from his salary.
Soon, Zakharchenko's mother and sister presented the investigation with a different version of the origin of money in their apartments: the women stated that the funds had been flaked. Later the same day, Valentina Zakharchenko's lawyer said that most of the money was inherited from her relative.
Now, the apartments of Anastasia Pestrikova, Zakharchenko’s daughter Ulyana and his ex-wife model Yana Saratovtseva are seized, as well as Viktor Zakharchenko's accounts; the Prosecutor General's Office is trying to recover the property of the corrupt official in favour of the state.
DISCREDITATION OF THE MIA AND THE FALSE TRAIL
A new charge of bribe taking in Zakharchenko’s case appeared in May 2017: the investigators suspected that Zakharchenko received $ 800 thousand and a discount card of the restaurant La Mare for 3.5 million rubles from the owner of the restaurant, Alexander Dus.
At the same time, new persons of interest appeared in the case: Zakharchenko’s another relative Dmitri Senin, a member of the FSB department who unexpectedly left Russia, and Major General of the MIA Alexei Laushkin. As reported by the lawyer of the main suspect, Alexander Gorbatenko, Laushkin and Senin, according to investigators, were intermediaries in the transfer of bribes between Zakharchenko and Dus.
In late October, an episode of a bribe in the form of a vacation the case also appeared in the case. It was from businessman Avsholum Yunayev, the head of Gazprom's automation company, which provided Zakharchenko with a vacation in Sochi for about 800 thousand rubles.
It is not known what is happening now with accusations of abuse of power in connection with the Nota Bank. In the spring, the Marchukovs sisters gave testimony against Zakharchenko, the employees of the Investigative Committee and Renova, told what services Zakharchenko rendered to Yunayev, Dus and Pshegornitsky, and what is the status of Senin and Laushkin now.
On November 20, a stated meeting was held in the case of Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko, which revealed several interesting details: the Prosecutor General's Office found a notebook in which Zakharchenko's mother kept records of the money received. It turned out that Zakharchenko's mother and sister had left Russia in the spring of 2017, Zakharchenko's wiretapping was sanctioned 2013, and the money found in the apartment of Zakharchenko’s sister may belong to businessman Vladimir Levin, the owner of the concern Levin.
The witness in Zakharchenko’s case, Oleg Kremeznoy from the National Security Assistance Foundation, said that the funds of the Levin concern seized during the investigation in the case, which ended in an acquittal, were planted to Zakharchenko “with the aim of concealing criminal actions, discrediting the MIA and aiming to draw a red herring across the investigation’s path.”