Lipetsk officials decided to cash in on the future private road of Alexander Ryazanov

In the Lipetsk region, they are investigating frauds with land under a future highway.
Law enforcement officers of the Lipetsk region discovered a scheme through which local officials tried to steal money from the structures of the former president of Gazprom Neft, Alexander Ryazanov. His companies buy land in six regions of Russia for the construction of the country's first private highway "Meridian" between Kazakhstan and Belarus. The Russian project is estimated at more than 500 billion rubles. should become part of the global by connecting the expressway of Chinese Shanghai with German Hamburg. According to the preliminary version, officials, using insider information, handed over plots of state property to controlled firms, in order to receive money from the sale of land to investors.

According to the press service of the prosecutor's office of the Lipetsk region, Olga Kryuchkova, the head of the regional department of property and land relations, became the most statusful person in the proceedings. Officials and several of her associates of the regional FSB officers are suspected of illegal entrepreneurship and illegal establishment of legal entities (Articles 289 and 173.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The Office does not publicly disclose the version of the investigation, however, according to Kommersant, it is about using insider information for official purposes. Allegedly, Olga Kryuchkova knew the scheme according to which the Meridian track in the Lipetsk region should be located, and the firms controlled by it received land plots under the future road in order to sell them to investors of the global project at inflated prices.

According to the interlocutor of Kommersant, representatives of the Russian holding company Alexander Ryazanov and its structures addressed the prosecutor's office with a message about the "strange" owners of the plots. The supervisory agency was convinced of the validity of their suspicions and, together with the Chekists, promoted the case. The prosecutor's office and the FSB did not comment on the proceedings in more detail yesterday.

If the suspicions of the investigation prove to be justified, it turns out that the Lipetsk officials tried to make money on the project. The Government Transport Commission, chaired by then Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich in 2016, recognized the Meridian route as part of the global route Western Europe-Western China, designed to connect Shanghai and Hamburg. On the territory of Russia, the road must be laid for a distance of about 2 thousand km at once through several regions, in particular Orenburg, Saratov, Samara, Tambov, Lipetsk, Bryansk and Smolensk regions. The road should begin on the border with Kazakhstan at the checkpoint "Sagarchin" near Orenburg and end with the exit to Belarus. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, and officials in the regions are actively engaged in providing land to investors. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Tambov region administration Arsen Gabuev, who supervises the road industry, said that "the process of land transfer is over". "In the high stage of readiness" these procedures in the Samara and Saratov regions. They do not talk about any scandals connected with the "Meridian". At the same time, Kommersant's interlocutors in law enforcement agencies note that after the Lipetsk history they will check how officials have allocated plots in other regions. It is noteworthy that the Chinese section of the road was completely commissioned as far back as 2016, and the Kazakh section has been under construction for about ten years and is for the most part erected.

Lipetsk authorities did not publicly comment on the scandal. Olga Kryuchkova's receptionist told Kommersant that she was not there. The governor Oleg Korolyov and the supervising property of his first deputy Yuri Bozhko did not answer the calls of Kommersant. The Russian holding company was informed that "they do not give comments to the media".