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The initiative of United Russia member Yevgeny Fyodorov, who had introduced a bill of treating mass media as «foreign agents», became a cause of large trials in the Kremlin. The United Russia leaders were excoriated for not controlling their deputies.
"The dressing-dawn to Vorobyev (the leader of the United Russia faction Andrei Vorobiev) and Neverov (the secretary of the General Council of the party Sergei Neverov) was fundamental,” a source close to the presidential administration said. “Vorobyov got the treatment for not knowing about the events in fraction. Neverov got the same for not reacting in time to the things doing obvious harm to party."
Earlier, Andrei Vorobyov said that the bill on NGOs-foreign agents is one of the most important brought in the State Duma during the spring session.
Let's remind, the bill on NGOs-foreign agents was submitted to the Duma by United Russia deputies on June 29. The essence of the proposed amendments is that the media receiving more than 50 percent of their financing from abroad will be treated as “foreign agents”. If the amendments are adopted, Russian NGOs, which are engaged in political activities and have foreign sources of funding, will enter into a special register. They will be put on a special legal regime providing, in particular, the special reporting requirements and special audit. The law provides with criminal liability for non-compliance with the regulation. The maximum imposing punishment is up to 4 years in custody. The bill can be finally approved by the Federal Assembly in July.
The bill has caused a wide public resonance. On July 5, the Public Chamber recommended to the State Duma to bring a number of amendments into it, in particular, to replace the term "foreign agent" with a more neutral.
Meanwhile, a source in the governing body of United Russia said that it had been investigated on the request of the Kremlin: who or what had inspired Yevgeny Fyodorov write the scandalous bill and submit it to the Duma. "It turned out that Fedorov had Yury Shuvalov, a member of the Supreme Council of United Russia and the head of the State Duma press service, behind him», a source says. Shuvalov’ motives were to punch Fedorov's appointment to the newly created post of the chairman of committee on information policy. Since the topic of NGOs and foreign funding were hot, Shuvalov expected that the bill would fall into the stream.
One way or another, but, according to the source, the party bosses have been warned: either they work on bills carefully and thoughtfully, or «some corresponding conclusions will follow».
United Russia accused Alexey Navalny of illegal pre-election campaigning. Deputy Secretary General Council of the party Victor Kidyaev sent a request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Prosecutor's Office and the Central Election Commission asking to deal with the leaflets published in the blog of Navalny in early July. They talked about an increase of housing and communal services tariffs. The following text was published on the letterhead with United Russia logo: "Dear tenants, your complaints about the increase of tariffs have been declared to be unfounded due to the fact that there is an insufficient level of the voting for United Russia in your region".
On October, 14th, in a number of Russian regions, elections at various levels are to be held. Navalny’ leaflets mislead voters, Deputy Secretary General Council of United Russia Viktor Kidyaev believes. "We have a rule-of-law state, we must work, and we must work honestly and purely even if we are opponents. And we must convince people and prove with the actions which of us is better. And we have the result: Navalny took our letterhead and wrote, painted, and, most importantly, he wrote not what actually is. So, with these considerations, of course, I addressed to the relevant authorities to legitimate the case and to punished Navalny for his actions legally,” Kidyaev said.
This is not the first attempt of United Russia to draw Navalny to responsibility for the leaflets. On July, 5th, the State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergey Neverov sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office. In his opinion, the distribution of these papers is directed to inciting social hatred.
In early July, Senator, United Russia member Ruslan Gattarov asked Prosecutor General's Office to verify the correspondence of Alexei Navalny and Nikita Belykh. According to some members of the party of power, with the help of the leaflets, Navalny tried to distract public attention from this scandal.
There is some uncertainty in the law: whether it is possible to consider such materials agitation from the beginning of election campaign and until nomination of the list of candidates.
United Russia seeks to seize the moment.
Victims have appeared in the high-profile criminal case of fraud, where the name of head of the Main Directorate for Investigations of the Moscow police (GSU GU MVD) featured.
These are businessmen Alexey Tsarkov and Boris Yudin, who testified that in November 2009, they had paid Maxim Kagansky, "on MVD problem- solver”, $ 200,000 for arranging their meeting with Mr. Glukhov , whom they had intended to ask to close a proceeding criminal case against them. In total, the victims gave $ 800,000 to Kagansky.
After two days of questioning of businessman Alexey Tsarkov, the staff of Moscow Central Investigation Department of SKR (Investigative Committee of Russia) recognized him and his partner Boris Yudin victims of a high-profile criminal case of fraud. Alexey Kirsanov, Mr. Tsarkov’ lawyer, said that his client, permanently residing abroad, had specially arrived in Moscow for investigatory actions.
Investigators believe that three years ago the partners gave $ 800,000 to Maxim Kagansky, who promised them to cancel the claims of tax authorities at a rate of about 20 million rubles to Medkor-2000 company and to close the criminal case which had been instituted. In autumn 2009, as the businessmen say, Kazansky said that he urgently needed a deposit of $ 200,000. In return, he promised to arrange a meeting with the head of GSU Ivan Glukhov. The businessmen gave him the required amount.
In November 2009, Boris Yudin made an appointment with Mr. Glukhov and stated his request. After that conversation, the businessman handed Kagansky the remaining $ 600,000. A few months later the criminal case against Medkor’ co-owners was dropped “for absence of the event of a crime”.
However, a few months later the tax office wrote-off the previously accrued amount of arrears from the accounts of Tsarkov and Yudin’ company. The businessmen realized that Maxim Kagansky had deceived them. However, according to lawyer Kirsanov, Kagansky in response to the claims dropped that they “must rejoice to closing of the criminal case". Then he stopped responding to the calls.
In the end of June, Moscow Investigative Committee Department has initiated a criminal case under Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (large-scale fraud) against Kagansky and «other unidentified persons». Note that Kagansky is already under investigation for another criminal case of attempted fraud. In that case, the “problem-solver” demanded $ 3 million from the same Boris Yudin and Alexey Tsarkov for Nelly Dmitrieva, GSU investigator, who led the case on smuggling against the businessmen.
Ksenia Sobchak demanded through the court for return of her money taken away by the investigators. On the eve of the March of Millions on June 12, the Investigative Committee searched her apartment in connection with the May 6 opposition rally, although she hadn’t been at Bolotnaya at the time of the police-opposition clashes.
Her lawyer Henry Reznik said: "We have filed a complaint about the illegal actions of the investigation of the seizure and retention of Xenia’s money. The court, in violation of the order, instead of appointing a hearing within five days after treatment, appointed the proceedings on August, 8. We appealed against the date to the court chairman because he is obliged to ensure that cases are dealt with in the term established by law."
The lawyer added that the money that had been illegally seized must be returned. "We’re going to look into it to the max. We may even bring people who have broken the law to justice. We think about it," - Resnick concluded. According to him, at first, the judge appointed a meeting "in secret" from the protection on July 6. After the plaintiff party hadn’t attended, the consideration was postponed on August 8.
The searches of number opposition leaders, including Xenia Sobchak, were held on June 11. The investigators found in her safe about 1.4 million euros. The money was placed in more than one hundred envelopes. After that, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation says that, a tax inspection has been started in respect of Sobchak. It will be tested in the inspection whether she paid taxes on the amounts detected. Sobchak’ protection insists that such a check in the framework of the investigation of the riots is illegal. Sobchak itself said more than once that she could store money as she wanted.
Recently, Sobchak has been actively involved in the opposition actions. Among other things, she was penalized for holding an unsanctioned rally. On the case of the riots at the Bolotnaya, 12 people have been arrested. Another defendant and one suspect are under house arrest.
The Russian opposition will only be able to put forward a presidential candidate popular enough to challenge Vladimir Putin’s rule “in one and half or even two years at earliest," former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin wrote in his blog on the website of the opposition Ekho Moskvy radio station on Friday.
Putin’s victory in the March presidential elections is inevitable since none of the current candidates for the presidential post is popular enough to compete with him, Kudrin wrote.
“Today everyone understands that whoever decides to compete with Putin in the March elections, including candidates who have not been registered, will lose even if the vote count will be the fairest ever,” Kudrin wrote.
The latest public survey conducted by the state VTSiOM pollster on December 24-25 shows 45 percent of Russians support Putin’s candidacy for the presidential post. Putin’s closest competitor, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, is supported by only 10 percent of the1,600 Russians polled in more than 150 residential locations across the country.
Kudrin, who resigned as the country’s finance minister and deputy prime minister last year following a row with President Dmitry Medvedev over budget issues, has supported the protest movement that swept across Russia following December 4 parliamentary elections, triggered by allegations of widespread vote fraud in support of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.
Kudrin took part in a mass protest on Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue in late December. He has repeatedly criticized a lack of coordination inside the protest movement and called on protest leaders to set up a special committee to present their demands, which include the cancellation of election results and the holding of new elections, to the authorities.
“So far, it is clear that there is a huge gap between the sides,” the former minister wrote in his blog.
He also warned those calling on voters not to cast a single ballot for Putin in the March elections.
“An attempt to reform two out of three constitutional branches of power, the legislative and executive… at the same time is too risky for our country,” he wrote.
The Southern District Court of New York denied Viktor Bout's motion to overturn the guilty verdict, passed by a jury in November. Lawyers for Bout claimed that a juror had been tainted by the Hollywood film Lord of War, depicting Bout as an anti-hero and illegal arms dealer.
It seemed lawyers were not disappointed with the first motion denial. They filed another motion, asking judge to set aside all or part of the conviction on the grounds that the indictment against Bout was poorly prepared.
The indictment says that Bout “conspired to kill US citizens”. Lawyers for Bout argue that the word “to kill” is inappropriate, because it does not imply “deliberate action”. What the jury in Bout’s trial deliberated on was Bout’s alleged deliberate murder, whereas the indictment contains different charges. Lawyers argue that the court sentenced Bout for charges that the jury had not, in fact, considered.
Another count of indictment is “conspiracy to kill US military personnel and officials”. The defence claim that the US citizens fighting on the side of the Colombian government against Farc are not necessarily US military personnel. It is not clear whether helicopters and other equipment used by US citizens in Colombia is a part of US armed forces. “US armed forces in Colombia de facto and probably de jure are Colombian armed forces”. “Viktor Bout’s trial serves Colombian military interest, not the interests of the US,” lawyers claim.
Russian side has already hinted that Moscow would not wait until the end of the debate in court. Konstantin Dolgov, Russia'a foreign ministry plenipotentiary on human rights issues, said Monday that Moscow would seek Viktor Bout's return to Russia in the nearest future. Kommersant daily quotes an unnamed source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that the preparatory work had already began. Russia has confirmed that the country considers asking US authorities to transfer Bout to Russia where he will serve the sentence. Such possibility is stipulated by the 1983 European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
Rumafia.com expects Russian authorities to file a transfer request after the judge will pronounce Bout's sentence on the 8 February 2012. Bout may faces a prison term from 25 years to life imprisonment.
The prosecutor in Poland’s Nowy Sacz town will interrogate on Tuesday a former Russian prosecutor, Alexander Ignatenko, detained in Poland on Russia’s request amidst illegal gambling scandal, a local prosecutor spokesperson said.
Ignatenko, first deputy prosecutor of the Moscow Region, was detained in the town of Zakopane in southern Poland on Monday where he had arrived with a Lithuanian passport to meet with his wife and son.
“Today Alexander I. will be interrogated by the prosecutor [in Nowy Sacz] and then his case will be sent to the district court in Nowy Sacz. If he is arrested, the Russian side will send us an official request on his extradition,” the spokesperson said.
Ignatenko had been put on the international wanted list in November 2011 after Russian investigators established his alleged involvement in covering up an illegal gambling ring outside Moscow, Polish radio station RMF FM said.
The Nowy Sacz district court will rule on Ignatenko’s extradition to Russia but the final decision will have to be approved by the Polish justice minister.
The scandal around Ignatenko and other senior officials in the Moscow region government broke out in spring of 2011 when police uncovered a network of illegal casinos in 15 towns just outside Moscow.
Police said the gambling ring organized by businessman Ivan Nazarov with involvement of the officials had brought them a profit of $5-10 million a month.
Ignatenko, Moscow Region prosecutor Alexander Mokhov and several other officials involved have been suspended.
The former head of GUVD of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region Vladislav Piotrovsky was summoned to appear in St. Petersburg court at a regular’ hearing on charges of the businessman and head of the Federation of free-style wrestling of Petersburg Vladimir Kulibaba in organizing the murder of Vadim Chechel. He was declared as a witness by the defense of Kulibaba.
It will be recalled that arrested Kulibaba earlier said that his criminal prosecution had been allegedly inspired by directly Vladislav Piotrovsky, the chief of GUVD of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region at that time. According Kulibaba, one day they met and discussed the business assets located in the Port of Ust-Luga. After that, Kulibaba rejected the proposed scheme on which he had to have Piotrovsky as business partners.
Vladislav Piotrovsky called Kulibaba’ version fiction. At the same time, he confirmed the fact of the meeting, explaining that he really had had a meeting with Kulibaba in Tavrichesky Garden, but they had been talking about the attempted murder of Sergey Vasilyev in May 2006.
According to Piotrovsky, at that time, Kulibaba were organizing protection of the wounded businessman in hospital and was his confidant. That is why the information about masterminds behind the murder could be important for the Criminal Investigation Department.
One of the most active opponents of the WTO, the president of Rosagromash association Konstantin Babkin, intends to unite opposition forces rejected Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization.
Babkin said that his Party of Action movement takes the second and, as he believes, successful attempt to register the party in the autumn. All the State Duma oppositionists are ready to cooperate with him and build coalitions. Also, he is supported by the leader of The Other Russia Party Eduard Limonov.
Babkin said that in September, he is beginig to closely interact with all potential allies. It will be considered a possibility of coalition with the Communist party, Just Russia, LDPR, as well as Limonov, to work together to achieve revision of the conditions of Russia's membership in the WTO and favorable conditions for domestic manufacturers.
"The main idea of
The trial in absentia on charges of embezzling shares in respect of the former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin who has already received a life sentence for the organization of the murders, will begin on July 30, Moscow Simonovsky District Court spokesman Oleg Shassaev said to RAPSI Agency on Tuesday. According to him, a trial in absentia does not provide for preliminary hearings, so, in late July, the court immediately proceeds to consideration of the criminal case on the merits.
According to the investigation, in 1998, Nevzlin misappropriated 38 % of the shares in Tomskneft, VNK, Achinsky Refinery, and other companies as part of an organized crime group. The shares were then contributed to the VNK (Eastern Oil Company) charter capital. The shares were worth more than 3 billion rubles ($93.03 million). Major Yukos shareholders Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and Yukos EP Executive Manager Ramil Burganov were earlier convicted in the case. Nevzlin has been living in Israel for the last few years. Russia has announced him to the international wanted list. Previously, he received a life sentence in absentia for organizing murders and attempted murders, including the ones on manager of East Petroleum Handelsgez company Evgeny Rybin, Head of Public Relations department of Moscow Mayor Olga Kostina and Rosprom business manager Viktor Kolesov.
In addition, in 2004, Nevzlin was charged in absentia with committing a series of economic and tax crimes in 1999-2000. In particular, he was accused of tax evasion and embezzlement. According to the investigation, the damage from tax evasion exceeded 26 million rubles, and from misappropriation - 30 million dollars.
In 2003, Nevzlin served as rector of the Russian State Humanitarian University. The same year, he left for Israel when the YUKOS case opened. In Israel, he received citizenship.
At the High Court in London, the opening speech of Mark Howard, attorney of Mikhail Cherney, who issued a claim for 20% of Russian Aluminium JSC (RUSAL) of Oleg Deripaska, was completed.
"The heart of the case" was the events on March 10, 2001. This date was stated on the two documents signed in London hotel Lanesborough. On the first agreement, Oleg Deripaska was to pay Mikhail Cherney $100 million for 17.5% of Siberian aluminium (Sibal, entering in Russian aluminium company after the merger with the assets of Roman Abramovich in 2000) and another $150 million to repay the debt of the company. In addition to the agreement, it stated that within three to five years Deripaska was to realize 20% of Russian aluminum to third parties and pay Back the amount on the basis of current market value of shares minus the $ 250 million.
Payment of $250 million was held. But the respondent insists that these documents were only established with the aim to end the "roof" relationship with Mikhail Cherney and Anton Malevsky. According to Deripaska, the addition to the agreement was just about the "payment of kickbacks."
The complainant claims that by the moment of acquaintance with Deripaska in October 1993 at the London Metal Exchange, he had already been a successful entrepreneur with extensive contacts in government and business. The lawyer told about the close cooperation of Lev and Mikhail Cherney with Trans World Group (TWG) David and Simon Reuben since 1992. Deripaska, according to the complainant, at the moment of their acquaintance needed the support of Mikhail Cherney, at least in order to establish control over the Sayanogorsk aluminium smelter (SAZ). By October 1993, his share had not exceeded 10%. The lawyer told the court about the curious episode: on October 22, 1993, at the meeting of SAZ shareholders, about 75% voted against Deripaska's appointment as Director of the factory.
Just after that, as the complainant states, Deripaska was advised to enlist “the support of the international trader". Thanks largely to TWG, Oleg Deripaska managed to establish control over SAZ and develop his aluminum business. Mikhail Cherney played a key role in providing this support.
One of the most interesting moments in the speech of the lawyer was the news that in 2003, SUAL of Victor Vekselberg was ready to buy 50% of Russian aluminum for $3 billion from Cherney and Deripaska. At a meeting in Vienna in mid-2003, Mikhail Cherney expressed concern that had not yet received the money for the remaining in the company 20%, and agreed to $1 billion from the transaction with SUAL. However, Deripaska refused to sell the business and assured Cherney that he would perform his obligations. As Cherney discovered later, Deripaska had been already engaged in negotiations with Abramovich about the repayment of his share in Russian aluminium.
The People’s Bank of the Republic of Tuva announced last Tuesday the board’s decision to issue new shares, Kommersant daily reports. The bank has only 2 weeks to outline and implement recapitalization plan that implies raising the bank’s authorized stock from 97 million roubles ($ 3.1 million) to 180 million roubles ($ 5.7 million) by 1 January 2012. Taking into consideration the time that the recapitalization usually takes, that is 3-6 months, it is likely that the bank, in the past owned by former Tuva representative in the RF parliament Sergei Pugachev, will lose its operating license.
The bank’s shareholders have not yet agreed on the recapitalization terms. “The sides agreed that the recapitalization should be implemented by the side which is on the shareholders’ register [at the moment of recapitalization]”, said a source close to the bank.
The bank has been in the center of the conflict of interests ever since previous controlling shareholders sold their stake.
One of the bank’s shareholders - government of Tuva, a Russia’s region on the boarder with Mongolia - said it had no plans to sell their shares. “We do not even consider selling our shares,” said local state property minister Orlan Dugur-Syuryun. “We want to get control of the bank”. He added that the ministry would file a lawsuit against a firm called Tsentr Realizatsii that hold e-auction for a controlling stake in the bank and would seek reauctioning of the bank.
The analysts say it is very unlikely that the sides will reach an agreement until the New Year, which means the bank will lose the license. A corporate conflict that hinders additional issue of shares is a rare case for Russian banking system. State participation in the bank’s capital worsens the situation, the experts say. “It is easier for private shareholders to agree on the recapitalization. For them it is important to not lose the bank, while the state will never buy additional shares for unprofitable price,” says Evgeny Trusov, head of bank consulting and buying and selling banks department in NEO Tsentr advisory firm.
Marginal opposition group PARNAS flamboyant leader Boris Nemtsov was embroiled in a scandal yesterday after a Russian on-line outlet published his private telephone conversations.
Nemtov has apologized for offensive remarks and profanity today. “I apologize to Zhenya Chirikova, Bozhena Rynska and all those who were affected or insulted in my private telephone conversations. I think, what I did was wrong. One has to hold back emotions and mind every word even when talking with relatives and friends over the phone,” he wrote in his blog.
He also promised to take the case to court, asking Russia’s Investigative Committee to probe into the phone-hacking scandal.
The Life News internet publication, famous for delivering scoops, published the the PARNAS leader’s telephone calls, presumably made in advance to the 10 December rally. Nemtsov derided his supporters saying they were “chemical internet types” and labeled fragmentized opposition leaders “scoundrels”, “bitches” and “prostitutes”.
The publication of Nemtsov’s talks got backlash among Russian pro-liberal bloggers - they condemned phone hacking. In fact, they were even more indignant at the fact of Nemtsov’s telephone having been hacked than at what he really said.
“Methods are sometimes more compromising than the result reached”, twitted Evgeniya Chirikova, leader of For the Khimki Forest movement.
Pro-liberal Ekho Moskvi radio station editor-in-chief Aleksei Venediktov said that the publication of Nemtsov’s telephone talks would attract more people to the 24 December rally. “I think, more people will come, because everyone can put himself in Boris Nemtsov’s shoes and understand that their phone could be tapped and leaked to the media. Everyone feels humiliated by this violation of Constitution,” said Venediktov.
Famous blogger Aleksei Navalny was released from jail last night after a court sentenced him to 15 days in prison for obstructing police at the 4 December protest march, which was held without advanced notification of Moscow police.
Before Navalny left jail the only available information about his release had been its exact time - 2.30 a.m. Russian parliament MP Ilya Ponomarev whose status stipulates free access to any police station began searching for Navalny. He founded Navalny in Maryinsky Park police station. An hour before Ponomarev arrived in his car, Mrs Navalnaya had been told at the same station that her husband had been to a different place. By half past two, a few people gathered outside the station. On the door there was a sign: “Wait! You will be invited!” Navalny, accompanied by Ponomarev, came out at quarter to three. He asked photographers to let him first greet his wife, saying that a family reunion photo would be very romantic. But no one yielded to a point, and Navalny began to speak. His words contained nothing new and were laced with his famous “crooks and thieves” catch phrase.
“We got into jail in one country, 15 days after we get out in another country,” he said. Deprived of reliable information, Navalny looked as if he were afraid to say something in a wrong way. He made it clear that he saw the situation change in the country.
“Putin will not be legitimate president,” the blogger and anti-corruption whistle-blower said.
“It would be illegitimate act of succession to the throne. One crook hand over power to the other crook. Free presidential election is among our claims. In those elections lots of people will take part, me possibly”.
Navalny said nothing else about his plans for political future.
“To avoid provocations”, Ponomarev undertook to see Navalny home.
On Wednesday, leader of minor opposition group Ilya Yashin has left the jail where he served the same term for the same offenses. Rumafia.com reported, that he refused to have a crime prevention talk.
Reportedly, Just Russia leader Sergey Mironov said that his faction intends to appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the State Duma session, demanding the resignation of the head of Krasnodar region Alexander Tkachev. According to Just Russia, Tkachev doesn’t cope with the duties of the leader of the region.
Mironov also said that Just Russia faction insists on a parliamentary investigation of the circumstances of the tragedy in Krasnodar region. "Just Russia faction calls for a parliamentary investigation into the circumstances of the catastrophe to determine the effectiveness of the government bodies and officials’ activities", Mironov said at the State Duma plenary session.
According to Just Russia, great responsibility for the tragedy devolves on the governor of Krasnodar region Alexander Tkachev. Just Russia believes that the local authorities failed to provide adequate public notification of the approaching disaster, and it led to the large numbers of victims.
Alexander Tkachev responded to Mironov’ criticism by offering him to try himself for this job and then to discuss his actions. "It is big-time politics ... Will it be in a different way if they put Mironov here? I doubt it ... First try and then judge," Tkachev said.
Analysts believe that Tkachev is very convenient for the Kremlin, since he actually guarantees complete peace in mind in the objectively difficult region. His resignation, "even for such a significant occasion is unlikely." In addition, it is known that the President treats him "not bad". The Legislative Assembly elections are scheduled for October, and the political regime in the region is ground under the manual control of one person. If Tkachev is removed, the situation will become uncontrollable.
The Interior Ministry's (MVD) Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Department reported that some leaders of Master-Bank, including CEO Boris Bulochnik, had been searched within investigation on illegal cashing of more than 2 billion rubles. In Master-Bank, this information hasn’t been confirmed or denied.
Bulochnik has been chairman of Master-Bank since 2001, directly having 5.5% stake in the bank. At the same time, on the whole, the family of Bulochnik controls about 85% of the shares.
In early July, the Central Bank of Russia informed about the decision to hold Master-Bank administratively liable for violation of legislation on counteraction to laundering of criminal income. It followed from the controller’ data that the decision had been taken in respect of the credit institution itself. It may face the penalty under Article 15.25 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Violations. According to the media, the penalty amount is going to be 50 thousand rubles.
MVD confirmed that within the investigation, the former Master-Bank managers of the department on work with big business Sergey Kormschikov and Igor Babich had been detained. According to the police, the heads of several banks created a credit organization in Moscow, without a license and not registered in the Book of the state registration of credit institutions of the Central Bank of Russia. Using some "one-day firms", they transferred funds to the accounts of commercial banks on forged documents, then they threw them to the accounts of other organizations and cashed, the agency informed. For their services, the organizers of the schemes appointed a commission of 3-7% of payment amount.
For several members of the group, it has been initiated a case of illegal banking activity. Vice-president of the Master-Bank Evgeny Rogachev has been already arrested and charged.
The State Duma is looking for ways to dismiss Kirov region Governor Nikita Belykh for paying his non-staff adviser Alexey Navalny from the regional budget. Such conclusions were drawn by the deputies on the basis of the hacked e-mail correspondence between the governor and its former adviser that were laid out in the network.
The State Duma accepted United Russia deputy Michael Markelov’ legal request asking the Constitutional Legislation Committee to investigate the possibility to discharge Kirov governor Nikita Belyh from his post. 231 deputy of the State Duma supported the decision.
The paper noted that it is clear from the published e-mail exchange between Governor Belykh and that time "non-staff adviser" Alexey Navalny that the head of the region "paid certain services of Mr. Navalny from the budget of the Kirov region". From the correspondence, the facts of "distillery plundering" and "Mr. Belykh’ settling of cases with representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and FSB” became obvious to Mr. Markelov. In the published correspondence between the Kirov region governor Nikita Belyh and the lawyer Alexey Navalny, the question is a certain sum of money which Navalny, being an adviser on a voluntary basis, demanded from head of the region. A distillery, which was plundered, if to trust Navalny letter, is mentioned in correspondence as well. Belykh and Navalny have confirmed authenticity of the correspondence.
Markelov has noticed that, according to the law, the President can dismiss the head of the subject from his post “due to the Legislative Assembly of the Russian Federation subject has no-confidence on him”. The State Duma has charged the Constitutional Legislation Committee "to inform deputies on possibility to apply the given article on Nikita Belyh". As well, the vice-speaker of the State Duma Sergey Zheleznjak has suggested the Kirov head to retire or at least to suspend powers for the period of investigation.
But Kirov governor has declared that he isn’t going to resign. "I know that nothing bad is behind me", Belykh said. He assured that the story mentioned in the correspondence "doesn't concern neither the budget, nor the region enterprises, and it emerged long before his appearance in the Kirov region”. Besides, the governor noticed that he hasn’t communicated with Mr. Navalny for one and a half year. "All who know the way of Navalny’s interacting, all they can understand", — Belykh noted.
The epic of the appointment of the former Moscow mayor as United Petrochemical Company (ONHK) chairman of the board (ONHK is a joint venture of Bashneft, which has 74.99%, and Yakov Goldovsky’ Petrochemical Holding) has already lasted for several months. According to the media, the ex-mayor was ready to lead the company, provided the modernization of the enterprises entered and restructuring the company to arrange a united technological chain. Luzhkov estimated the renovation program at 5 billion Euros, 15% of which was to be guaranteed by AFK System. However, Vladimir Yevtushenko refused to give the guarantees, and the ex-mayor did not want to be a “waxwork”, even well-paid.
As a result, the former mayor has been actively engaged in the development of agricultural business based on a stud farm in the Kaliningrad region. This farm was bought by Elena Baturina at the time of horse riding hobby, but when the passion was over, the farm began to come to desolation. 20 horses appeared to be washed-up.
Initially, Luzhkov had to deal with the farm to prevent the deaths of the animals. Now, basing on the stud farm, he is trying to create a model agricultural enterprise, but already at the family’ expense. The ex-mayor is now so fascinated with the agribusiness, that he has already bought and rented 5,000 hectares of land and planned to rear 5,000 head of sheep.
Presidential council on human rights and civil society development has published a report, containing analysis of the second case of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.
Tamara Morshchakova, former judge of the RF Constitutional Court and a member of the panel, told local media, that in experts’ view Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev’s verdict was a “mistake”. Morshchakova added that the council had studied only court documents: text of the verdict, typescript of the hearings and other publicly available documents.
The experts arrived at the conclusion, she said, that former Yukos CEOs had been “punished for carrying out legal activities”: vertical integration of the company with centralized management, agreements to transfer assets from one subsidiary to another, and general agreements. According to the founding of criminal law experts, the RF Criminal Code and Russian criminal procedural law does not contain legal provision to “consider them criminals”. The verdict, the experts believe, violates Russian Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.
The council urged the Prosecutor General to conduct a retrial, and recommended Russia’s Investigative Committee’s reinvestigating the case, “given newly obtained evidence”.
Rumafia.com reported earlier, that the council in July had called for general amnesty for economic crimes. The council also called for “liquidation of negative consequences of the similar cases”. It recommended that the jury trial should be applied if a defendant wants it. Another recommendation was to forbid the police to open criminal investigation without written request from an aggrieved party, and to change the procedure of submitting appeals for pardon or suspended sentences.
Sergey Ivanov, former deputy Prime Minister, was appointed head of Presidential Administration. The official is not prone to dramatic reshuffles in staff; however, Rumafia sources in the Kremlin claim that Ivanov will introduce a number of changes in staffing in the nearest future. The position of Presidential Civil Service chief is about to become vacant. Currently it is filled with Sergey Dubik, a business partner and a close friend of the most corrupt police General Andrey Khorev, former first deputy head of the Interior Ministry Department of Economic Security. Dubik, who was in the centre of a number of scandals, may soon face dismissal.
General career Lord
Sergey Dubik can hardly be called a public figure. The last time he was mentioned in the press was in June 2011 in connection with a car accident. Dubik’s vehicle ran into a security SUV, part of his own motorcade. The security Range Rover stopped to let people cross the road at a crosswalk. Dubik’s driver was too late to react and the BMW with the official ran into the SUV.
Nevertheless, Dubik’s name is quite frequently mentioned behind the scenes in most power ministries and the judiciary. As Presidential Civil Service chief, he is in charge of promoting, conferring ranks and awards, and distributing of apartments and other bonuses and amenities. Thus, if Dubik asks a General for a favour, the General willingly does whatever he was asked to do.
It is no surprise that many major “problem solvers”, namely former and acting law enforcement agencies officials, refer to their friendship with Dubik when they promise to solve the problems of this or that businessman. Such friendship guarantees that problems will be solved at the highest level. For example, Anatoly Shavlyakov, former high-ranking Interior Ministry Investigative Committee official, claimed that he forwarded most of the money he received as tools to Dubik asking at least 3 million dollars for initiating and terminating a criminal case. By the way, Shavlyakov was notorious for driving a Bentley vehicle to work while he was an acting police officer.
Among the closest friends of Dubik there is Andrei Khorev, the owner of hotels and villas all over the globe. Khorev has recently been in the centre of corruption scandals. While in office, he turned the Department of Economic Security into a business ready to provide any service for a fee.
The latest success of Dubik was resounding victory over the trade union of Presidential Administration and government employees. This came about after the trade union leaders revealed large scale scams that concerned apartment allocation. The scams were drawn up by Dubik’s closest associates. Most front-line employees of the government agencies forming the trade union were off the collective labour agreement, which earlier could protect their rights at least to some extent. The trade union leader, Lyudmila Popkova, who pushed for the scam revelation, may soon be incarcerated over evidence collected by Khorev’s subordinates.
Kremlin allocation conveyor
At some point of time a well-known journalist Vladimir Soloviev held an independent investigation. He found that Presidential Civil Service gave straight orders to judges of various jurisdictions concerning rulings in favour of relevant businesses. Valery Boyev, Dubin's secretary, filed a lawsuit against the journalist. However, during the litigations at Dorogomilovsky court the claims of intervention were confirmed by Elena Valyavina (deputy chairman of the Supreme Arbitration court), Evgeny Ilyin (chairman of Moscow region Arbitration court), Boris Kanevsky (chairman of Nizhny Novgorod regional court), and Artur Absalyamov (chairman of the tenth Arbitration court of Appeal), after which Boyev urgently dropped the lawsuit. Regardless of the scandal that erupted, Dubik kept his position. Moreover, he remained member Higher Qualification Panel of Judges.
His powers and strength of his position are partly due to nepotism. Sergey’s brother Nikolay is head of law department at Gazprom and friend of Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov who studied at Moscow State University at the same time as Nikolay Dubik. Gazprom top-manager Vladimir Alisov, also a friend of Nikolay Dubik, is a close relative of Tver court of Moscow chairman, Igor Alisov. And there are plenty other connections like that.
Dubik allocated apartments belonging to President’s Executive Office fund to his close Kremlin associates as if the apartments were his own, some worth a million dollars. This was revealed in 2009 by Leutenant-General Sergey Khlebnikov, Governor of the Kremlin.
Khlebnikov paid special attention to the spacious costly apartment allocated to his aide, Federal Protective Service official Sergey Shestakov. The general shared his concerns with Lyudmila Popkova, head of the trade union of Presidential Administration, government staff, the Council of Fereration, Accounting Chamber, and Presidential Executive Office. Khlebnikov addressed her for a reason. Popkova was on the board of apartment allocation committee of the Presidential Administration. She found the fact of allocation quite peculiar and conducted an insider probe.
Popkova soon found that Shestakov and Baryshnikova, another Kremlin official close to Dubik, registered in the apartments they live four of their long gone relatives. After that they appealed for housing improvement, groundlessly and regardless of the existing queue of other claimants. Thus, Shestakov and Baryshnikova got new expensive apartments. Among those in the official claim by Baryshnikova there was her mother, a citizen of Ukraine born in 1914 who had perished seven years ago. Somehow she also participated in the privatization of the apartment.
An even more shocking situation concerned the assets allocated to Anatoly Ivanov, deputy chief of a department within the government agency headed by Dubik. Ivanov received not an apartment, but a subsidy for its purchase totaling to 22 million rubles, to which there were no relevant grounds. This happened with direct involvement of Dubik.
Oleg, Akimov, Dubik’s deputy of legal affairs, was involved in a notorious scandal concerning a takeover of 2,200 hectares of arable lands in Yegorievo district of Moscow region. Sergey Dubik was directly involved in the scam and was considered one of the masterminds behind it.
Trade union chairman tried to draw attention of the Kremlin officials to the revealed scams. But Dubik skillfully curbed all her activities in that regard. The collected data was given over to the Ministry of the Interior, namely to Andrey Khorev. Popkova, who was not familiar with the official's ties inside Kremlin, did not know that the General was a friend of Dubik’s. As a result, the collected materials never reached the investigators. Instead, they mysteriously disappeared and Dubik learnt about Popkova’s actions. He got angry and nursed a grudge against her.
Trade union revolt
Soon Dubik had another reason to be angry at the trade union leader. In 2010 Popkova drew up a collective labour agreement on labour and vacation conditions for employees of all agencies in the trade union. Sergey Naryshkin, head of Presidential Administration, instructed Dubik to clear through all relevant documentation. But the Civil Service official was not satisfied with any of the suggestions by the trade union. For instance, he did not like a provision specifying fixed working hour, adequate nutrition, bonuses, abiding work place laws, etc. Popkova was resentful to introduce any changes in the agreement for which she literally got consent from Naryshkin. Dubik was outraged and declared war. Passes of trade union activists were canceled, they were not allowed in their own receptions, and were deprived of offices and their phones were switched off.
In January 2010 the trade union held a conference for reports and elections. Those present at the conference appointed Popkova as head of the trade union for another five year term. However, in May Dubik asked her to “leave while she can”. Popkova turned him down. “If so, I will have you put behind bars,” Dubik told her. “You do know, don’t you, how influential I am with the FSB and the Interior Ministry". Later these threats were repeated by Anatoly Ivanov, whom we mentioned earlier. He said that “Dubik has already called Khorev about you. So you’d better resign while you can”.
Regardless of a presidential decree, Popkova was off the allocation committee. She addressed Naryshkin for assistance. He promised to help her. After his promise Human Resources Management of the Presidential Administration sent an official address to Ministry of the Interior Department of Economic Security asking to conduct a probe into Popkova’s activities. Khoprev personally supervised the probe carried out by his subordinate, Oleg Letuchev. Popkova was hospitalized in late May 2010 as a result of a mental breakdown. On 1 June Dubik held an extraordinary session of the trade union. Oleg Letuchev, officer at Department of Economic Security No 8 operational office, was the principal speaker.
He read a report on the probe into the activities of Popkova and added that “she has stolen 25 million, we are about to put her in prison”. As a result it was decided to dismiss Popkova from the trade union. The position was filled with Evgeny Tatarenko, a 64 year old Presidential Administration employee and a friend of Dubik and Ivanov.
Popkova tried to appeal against the dismissal in courts of various jurisdictions. However, taking into account Dubik’s influence on the judiciary, success of such an appeal was out of the question. Illegal intervention by the administration and the Interior Ministry in the activities of the trade union were criticized in a number of mass media publications by Mikhail Shamtkov, chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia. He called Dubik’s actions a "raider takeover". Lyudmila Popkova addressed President Dmitry Medvedev in a letter which was publicized by a number of news agencies. This outraged Dubik even further.
Who gets sentenced first?
Khorev received consent for Popkova’s prosecution. In August 2010 Ministry of the Interior Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Popkova based on the evidence forwarded from Presidential Administration Human Resources Management at the Department of Economic Security. Aleksandr Matveyev, Investigative Committee investigative unit head, directly participated in the events. So did Mukhamed Musov, head of a department within the agency; and investigator Evgeny Denisov, who had twice turned down the appeal to institute criminal proceedings over apartment allocation fraud under Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, thus deliberately concealing the crime and committing abuse of power.
Several dozens of investigators and other operational personnel collecting compromising materials on Popkova came up with a frame up. The accusations against the former trade union leader were as simple as that: in spring 2010 she organized several concerts for 6,000 trade union members the cost of which amounted to 940 thousand rubles. Department of Economic Security employees recalculated the expenses stating the actual cost of the events at 4,700 rubles. It is not clear how they managed to include all payments to the performers, the banquet, presents for the veterans and so on in the 4,700 rubles. According to the investigators, Popkova misused the remainder allocated funds, which is subject to prosecution under Article 160of Russian Criminal Code.
The mentioned data is being prepared to serve as evidence in court. It is certain that in any other case law enforcers’ activities would have been challenged. But the litigation will take place in Tver court of Moscow, the one chaired by Igor Alisov, a friend of Sergey Dubik. And also the one to which Popkova and the redundant trade union members appealed against the unlawful dismissal. The judge, Lyudmila Bykovskaya, denied satisfaction of the lawsuit and was promoted to being a judge at Moscow city court. Dubik, as member of Higher Qualification Panel of Judges, decides whether a judge would be paid 100 thousand rubles pension or would be fired, so to say, with no severance package. Lyudmila Popkova and the dismissed employees in the trade union appealed against the unlawful decision of the judge Bykova before the European Court stating 12 violations of Labour legislation.
A lot has changed in law enforcement agencies since the beginning of the war against Popkova. Some officials, namely Khorev, Matveyev, and Musov failed state certification and were dismissed from the Ministry of the Interior. However, Dubik is still in office, and that means that the case against the former Presidential Administration trade union head will not be terminated. Nevertheless, Sergey Ivanov joining Presidential Administration may lead to a drastic change in the situation.
Major General Khorev memorandum, sent to deputy head of RF Investigative Committe. The document contains list of files with the materials of the probe into Ms Popkova
The investigatory office of the 4th Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) of Russia has initiated a criminal case for an offense under Part 2 of Art. 201 of the Criminal Code of Russian Federation (abuse of power resulting in serious consequences). The staff of the Economic Security and Anti-corruption Department of MVD came to Russian Space Systems JSC (RSS).
This happened after the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) director Vladimir Popovkin had given them the results of internal audit of RKS.
The auditors found that from 2006 to 2010, a part of the work on GLONASS was actually carried out by RSS staff, but the charge for allegedly executed research contracts was transferred to NPO KP CJSC and Sinertek Company accounts. According to MVD, these companies did not have their own material and technical resources and a qualified professional staff, but they were controlled by RSS management in return. Then, as the MVD department noted, the funds were taken out of the legitimate turnover through one-day firms and appropriated. Thus, as the investigation established, RSS unreasonably spent more than 565 million rubles. In addition, the investigation is checking information about cashing-out 1.2 billion of 6 billion rubles which had been transferred by RSS to the third-party organizations.
According to the media, criminal case number 118021 was raised against "unidentified persons” from the RSS management. However, the two RSS managers - CEO and general designer Yuri Urlichich and his first deputy Ivan Golub - are being checked for involvement in the unlawful diversion of the budgetary funds. Both RSS top managers appeared in the conflict with Vladimir Popovkin who said that the main stream of GLONASS funds had gone through NPO KP CJSC and the Sinertek JSC. Moreover, the head of Roscosmos did not rule out that Yuri Urlichich had been able to control these companies.
According to the expert reports and the searches which were held in the offices of the RSS heads, specific persons involved may appear in the case. In addition, as the Economic Security and Anti-corruption Department of MVD noted that “the operational-investigative activities aimed to establish new episodes of illegal activity are continuing" in RSS.
The Paris Commercial Court has decided to close one of the oldest publications in France - France Soir newspaper. The lawsuit to the court was filed by the owner of the newspaper, Russian businessman Alexander Pugachev, the son of former Russian senator Sergey Pugachev.
Alexander Pugachev bought France Soir in 2009. At the time, the publication was on the verge of closing. But Pugachev initially invested € 20 million into the project, € 6 million of which went on the advertising campaign. At the same time, he appointed Christian de Vyulver to the position of editor and seriously changed the format of the articles and the list of topics covered.
As a result, France Soir circulation grew by 35% up to 76 thousand copies, and the audience of the online version increased 4.5 times. Inspired by the success, the owner set a team goal to achieve the daily circulation in 100-200 thousand copies in the near future.
In August 2010, Pugachev announced Christian de Vyulvera's dismissal and appointed Remy Dessar, who had previously participated in the launching of the German tabloid Bild, to the position of editor. This decision caused a riot in the journalistic team of France Soir. The staff of the newspaper issued a communiqu
Oleg Deripaska is embroiled in the scandal over the bankruptcy of Bogoslovskiy Aluminium Plant (BAZ), which is a part of his RusAl Group. The plant is the only company of the city of Krasnoturynsk, Sverdlovsk Region. It employs about 3,500 people, almost all labour force of the city.
As of the first half of 2011, BAZ incurred losses of 180 million roubles ($2.9 million). BAZ officials allege that the losses were due to high prices of electricity.
Deripaska’s decision is to close down the unprofitable enterprise. In April 2011, for the same reason Deripaska shut down Zaporozhsky Aluminium Plant, offering workers to move to any of RusAl plants, say, in Siberia.
BAZ plans to stop producing alumina bricks and dismiss half of its employees. The situation, surrounding BAZ, resembles that of the city of Pikalevo, Leningrad Region, back in 2009, when prime minister Vladimir Putin intervened to prevent closure of a main plant in so called one-company city.
With aluminium prices going down, Deripaska loses millions of dollars every year. It was rumoured that RusAl had already approached its key creditors asking to restructure the company’s debt. The company asked for postponing the due dates for interests on loans until 2012. At first RusAl denied allegations. Later on in a statement the company said that “it began negotiations with Russian and foreign creditors on the issue of changing credit agreements in accordance with the current market situation”.
The company will cut expenses by redundancies and lowering administrative costs. The analysts say that the company may pay dividends this year, the first time since 2009. According to the shareholders’ agreement, the company has policy of paying dividend at a rate of no less than 50% of net profit after tax.
At the High Court of London, a hearing on the suit of the former head of the Department of Logistics of TNK-BP Igor Lazurenko was held. He accuses the company and its executive director German Khan of “bribery and corruption of senior public officials, and the improper funneling of hundreds of millions of dollars.” The notification on the proceeding appears on the court website.
At the court session, the TNK-BP's lawyer called the allegations “naked blackmail” and asked the judge to set a timetable for the exchange of documents, which Lazurenko said are evidence of corruption.
TNK-BP does not comment on the situation. A source close to the management of the holding company says that the Lazurenko’s charges are defence by attack. “Several months ago during a regular audit in the company, some fraudulent schemes were revealed in which, as the company suspected, Lazurenko could have participated. Now these facts are being investigated, and Lazurenko doesn’t work in the company anymore,” a source of "Vedomosti "says. According to Bloomberg, Lazurenko resigned from TNK in April and fled Russia.
This is not the first time former TNK-BP's employees connect Khan with corruption schemes. In 2011, TNK-BP convicted of fraud a large contractor, Belsibservisgarant company (BSSG). Its owners, former TNK-BP’ employees spread information that they were connected with the management of the holding company, and personally with Khan, a top manager said. Thus, BSSG received greater access to the information than the other contestants and created a competition illusion, advancing affiliated companies to participate in tenders. "Once they really were our employees, but now we have no personal relationships with them" Khan assured. After investigation, the contractor was disqualified, and all contracts with him for a total of $ 600 million were broken.
At last year's rally of TNK-BP's vendors and contractors, Khan said that a corruption approach is unacceptable for the company. "We will clean out this infection and break the back".