Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for the first time commented on the criminal case against the former open government minister, Mikhail Abyzov, accused of creating a criminal community and embezzling 4 billion rubles. According to Medvedev, he has no complaints about the work of an open government. “It was a serious and important work for the country,” he said.
“I don’t know the commercial activities of his [Abyzov], but I really heard that there was, and apparently remained, a certain conflict between him and creditors, which, apparently, got this kind of criminal law development,” said the prime minister. He added that this is probably bad, but there is no other way for the situation to develop which was not settled before the trial. Now the question will be decided by the investigation and the court, the premier added.
The criminal case against Abyzov was initiated on March 25, the next day he was detained in his home near Moscow. The former minister was charged under Part 3 of Art. 210 (creating a criminal community with the use of official position) and in accordance with Part 4 of Art. 159 (fraud on a large scale) of the Criminal Code. Earlier, the lawyer of the ex-official, Alexander Asnis, said that the case was not of a political nature: "This is a business conflict, which has been given the status of a criminal offense."
The detention of Abyzov is related to the bankruptcy case of the E4 group; previously, several interviewees of “Vedomosti” in the electricity industry and friends of the former minister did not rule out. The group’s conflict with creditors arose back in 2014 — at the time, Abyzov was the main beneficiary of the company. The company stopped servicing loans, by the end of 2014 the debt reached almost 30 billion rubles, Kommersant wrote. According to the publication, the largest creditor of E4 was Alfa-Bank, the debt to it was about 5.7 billion rubles.
The representative of Alfa Bank declined to comment. “This episode has nothing to do with us,” said the source of Vedomosti in Alfa Bank.
According to investigators, in the period from April 2011 to November 2014, Abyzov, as the beneficiary of several offshore companies, created and led the criminal community. In addition to him, there were several other people, including Nikolai Stepanov, one of the former leaders of Ru-Com, Maxim Rusakov, Deputy Director General of Ru-Com, Alexander Pelipasov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the First Building Fund, Galina Freidenberg, Director for Economics and Finance of AO ex-head of "Regional Electric Networks" (RES) Sergey Ilyichev. All but Ilyichev were detained and arrested. The ex-head of the REC at the time of the arrest of other defendants was abroad, explained the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR).
Having deceived the shareholders of the Siberian Energy Company and the Regional Electric Networks, working in the Novosibirsk region, Abyzov and his accomplices kidnapped and taken 4 billion rubles abroad, the agency said. The TFR stressed that the actions of the criminal community jeopardized the “sustainable economic development and energy security of the Novosibirsk Region and the Altai Territory”.