Banker against Colonel
The arrest and placement in custody of FSB colonel Kirill Cherkalin in April occurred after testimony was given against him by the former owner of Ugra Bank Alexey Khotin, two sources familiar with the investigation told RBC.
According to one of the interlocutors of RBC, Khotin told the investigation that for three years he had been paying Cherkalin as head of the banking department of the K department of the FSB Economic Security Service for patronage. "The tasks of the head of the banking department included the resolution of issues related to criminal cases in relation to structures and individuals affiliated with Khotin," the source explained.
As a result, employees of the department, carrying out instructions from Cherkalin, contacted colleagues from the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Investigative Committee and took control of the investigation of cases, or, if possible, prevented their initiation, the source said. This information was confirmed to RBC by three interlocutors familiar with the persons involved in the case.
"Hotin testified against the head of the banking department after he was arrested," the source said. It was a big surprise for the banker that FSB officers came to him, but when he realized that he couldn’t avoid arrest, he told about the relationship with Cherkalin.
The FSB’s own security department was aware of Cherkalin’s illegal activities prior to this testimony, another RBC source said. “The CSS contained information on at least three episodes of Cherkalin’s illegal activities, but after Khotin’s testimony, it was decided to proceed with the implementation of the accumulated information,” he added.
RBC sent a request to the Center for Public Relations of the FSB with a request to confirm information about the testimony of Khotin. Aleksey Khotin’s lawyer Igor Mardirosov refused to comment on this information.
From the materials read out in the Moscow District Military Court, it is known that Cherkalin, head of the 2nd Department of Administration “K” of the Economic Security Service (EBS) of the FSB of Russia, is accused of taking bribes (Article 290 of the Criminal Code) for $ 850 thousand in one and a half years November 2013 to February 2015 - “for committing acts or omissions in favor of the briber and commercial structures, as well as for general protection”.
Three defendants from the same department
Kirill Cherkalin - graduate of the Academy of the FSB. According to the interlocutor of RBC in law enforcement, his father led the personnel department of one of the divisions of the General Directorate of Special Programs (GUSP) under the President of Russia. This administration is considered a separate special service, but the governing apparatus consists mainly of immigrants from the FSB.
Together with Cherkalin in April, his former leader, Dmitry Frolov, and colleague Andrey Vasilyev, were detained and accused of embezzling assets worth 490 million rubles in 2011. developer Sergei Glyadelkin.
At the time of the detention, Frolov and Vasiliev "were dismissed from military service due to compromising circumstances," the FSB Public Relations Center stressed. In August 2013, journalists of “Novaya Gazeta” found these officers with real estate on the shores of Lake Maggiore on the border of Italy and Switzerland. Then, the FSB DSP responded to the publication request that Frolov was dismissed in July 2013 precisely because of the failure to provide information about foreign real estate. However, he retained “extensive contacts in the state security organs,” the investigator of the TFR stressed in the Basmanny court, insisting on the arrest of the accused.
According to the interlocutor of RBC, who collected information about the illegal activities of Frolov, he maintained relations with all the major players in the market "discovered." Frolov had direct access to the deputy director of the FSB, Sergey Smirnov, who oversees economic crimes.
The interlocutors of RBC in the FSB said that General Ivan Tkachev, who now heads the K department, comes from the FSB’s own security department, and Cherkalin and Frolov were developing connections, but he was informed about the operation to detain them just before it began. He supervised the arrests of the deputy head of the FSB CSS, Alexey Komkov.
Billions in cash
Kirill Cherkalin, Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasilyev seized cash and valuables worth 12 billion rubles. According to the investigation, a comparable amount may be in the accounts of nominees and companies. Money and valuables were kept in apartments owned by detainees, as well as in bank cells rented in their name.
Plus two financiers
On May 22, it became known that the ex-head of Eurofinance Mosnarbank, a former member of the FSB public council Vladimir Stolyarenko, and Alexander Bondarenko, member of the board of the Eurofinance Mosnarbank, are involved in the case of the colonels from the K department. Both of them are on the wanted list, both, as RBC found out, are related to the Cyprus offshore company Darth Vader (Darth Vader Enterprises Limited), who was deprived of assets stolen from developer Glyadelkin.
It is also known that Bondarenko was related to the Eastsib holding, in one of whose subsidiary companies Colonel Frolov worked before his arrest. The beneficiaries of the holding, whose parent company is registered in Cyprus, have not been disclosed, its board is headed by the British citizen Lord Frederic Ponsonby.
"Ugra" in the red
The former owner of "Ugra" Alexey Hotin was placed under house arrest on April 19. According to the case file read out in court, he is accused of withdrawing 7.5 billion rubles from the assets of Ugra Bank. The criminal case against the banker was initiated under Part 4 of Art. 160 of the Criminal Code (misappropriation or embezzlement). The case was filed after a letter from the Central Bank Chairman Elvira Nabiullina.
The head of the expert-analytical department of the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA), Yulia Medvedeva, explained that the bankruptcy of "Ugra" is the most difficult and large-scale case in the history of the agency. According to her, 98% of all loans (about 240 billion rubles) were used to finance the business of its owner in real estate and oil production. Business assets were acquired by lending to various banks, pledged to secure debt, and then loans were extinguished by depositors' money, withdrawn from Ugra, said a DIA representative.
The regulator revoked the license of the bank “Ugra” in July 2017. Then "Ugra" ranked 29th in terms of assets among Russian banks. According to the Central Bank, the credit institution did not comply with the requirements of federal laws and regulations of the Central Bank: the bank placed funds of the population in assets of unsatisfactory quality. At the time of revocation of the license, the fair value of the bank's assets was 51 billion rubles. with liabilities of 199.3 billion rubles.