Merlion owners wont be released from jail

The arrests were extended to three persons involved in the high-profile assassination attempt, and one was left in reserve.
The Presnensky District Court of Moscow has extended for another 2.5 months the detention of the shareholders of the largest IT provider Merlion Alexey Abramov, Vladislav Mangutov, as well as the head of the company's security service Boris Levin, who have been under arrest since October 2020. They are accused of attempted murder of the former general director of the company Vyacheslav Symonenko, with whom they had financial disagreements in 2015. It is curious that the petition of the Main Investigation Department (GSO) of the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) for Moscow did not mention another accused - the shareholder of Merlion Oleg Karchev, whom the investigation tried to transfer to house arrest at the end of January, but the court refused.

Motivating the extension of the arrest, the representative of the Moscow State Investigative Directorate of the TFR said that there were no reasons for changing the preventive measure for Alexei Abramov, Vladislav Mangutov and Boris Levin, who were in custody. But for renewal there are. In particular, because the investigation needs to conduct at least two confrontations, including between the head of the security service Boris Levin and the victim Vyacheslav Symonenko. According to the investigation, this is especially important, since it is Boris Levin who is considered the organizer of the assassination attempt on the victim Symonenko in September 2015.

As Kommersant has already reported, the details of this incident became known when FSB officers detained a former DPR militant in the spring of 2020. He said that on the night of September 5, 2015, together with a friend (he had already died), he threw Molotov cocktails at Vyacheslav Symonenko's country house, hoping that the businessman would burn out with his family. But by accident, the flame was quickly extinguished - no one died. Now the investigation believes that the customers of this crime could have been the shareholders of Merlion, who were arrested on charges of attempted murder (Article 30 and Part 2 of Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) in October last year.

Continuing the motivation for the arrest, the investigator noted that it was impossible to release the shareholders, since it was necessary to conduct a situational examination, to interrogate seven witnesses and employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations who arrived on call to the fire in 2015. And as usual, the investigator told the court that if the measures of detention were weakened, the persons under investigation could go into hiding, put pressure on the witnesses, thereby hindering the investigation. He asked the court to extend the term of custody to Messrs Abramov, Mangutov and Levin until April 23, which displeased the defense.

The lawyers of the defendants stated that the representative of the Main Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation was unfounded and did not give specific facts about the intentions of the persons under investigation to interfere with the investigation.

At the same time, the defendants tried to transfer the discussion of the issue to the identity of the victim. In particular, they argued that Vyacheslav Symonenko had falsified evidence in the case by staging an attempt to set fire to his own house. In addition, the lawyers stated that the victim himself persuaded witnesses to give false testimony, and even tried to put pressure on the investigation through the media. At the same time, they assured the judge that their clients were not guilty of anything, so their case should be terminated. In the meantime, this did not happen, they offered the judge to transfer the clients to house arrest or to release them on bail.

To convince the court of the innocence of the defendants, the lawyers proposed to attach to the case file the testimony of Yulia Dieva, who worked in Taysu LLC in 2014, which provided services for the Merlion security service to test employees using a lie detector (polygraph). From her testimony, it followed that, after checking Mr. Symonenko in 2014, the woman concluded that he was involved in the theft from Merlion. He allegedly had foreign accounts to which funds withdrawn from the company were received. By the way, it was these accounts that Boris Levin subsequently presented to the company's management, which was the reason for Vyacheslav Symonenko's refusal to return his shares in Tegrus with a total value of $ 4.5 million.

Mr. Symonenko himself said that he also underwent a polygraph examination, but not in a private company, but in the Main Department of Criminalistics of the ICR, where the veracity of his testimony was confirmed. But Boris Levin refused to pass the polygraph during the investigation. At the same time, the victim assured that he did not have foreign accounts.

Now Mr. Symonenko drew attention to the fact that the investigation did not apply for an extension of the arrest of Oleg Karchev, whose term of detention expires on February 6. As Kommersant has already reported, at the end of January, the investigator unsuccessfully tried to transfer him to house arrest, but the Presnensky court refused him. In this regard, Vyacheslav Symonenko suggested that after February 6, Mr. Karchev could be released.

Citing the fact that this issue has nothing to do with the essence of the case, the presiding judge granted the request of the investigation, extending the measure of restraint to the accused until April 23. The lawyers of the defendants intend to appeal the court decision.