In September, the fourth interrogation of ex-Minister for Open Government Affairs Mikhail Abyzov took place. On it, he complained that for almost half a year he had not been able to testify on charges of fraud on a particularly large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), two sources surrounded by the former minister told Forbes. As the ex-official specified, this is because the investigation does not specify what property was stolen from the victims in the case.
The charge under article 159 was brought against the ex-minister in March at the same time as the charge of creating a criminal community (part 3 of article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In August and September, with a difference of a week, the Investigative Committee opened two more cases against Abyzov. The former official was charged with illegal participation in entrepreneurial activity and money laundering during the sale of shares (Articles 289 and 174.1 of the Criminal Code).
At the September interrogation, Abyzov commented on the new charges. According to the businessman, the charge under Article 289 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation is far-fetched and contrary to the law. According to the ex-minister, the mandatory qualifying feature of this article is the provision by the official of benefits, advantages and other protection of a commercial organization. However, there are no such circumstances in the indictment, Forbes interlocutors convey the words of Abyzov.
According to the businessman, this deprived him of the opportunity to explain something on the merits of this article. Abyzov asked the investigation to clarify what patronage he had expressed.
Commenting on the charge under Article 174.1 of the Criminal Code, the ex-minister said that he did not consider his “legitimate activity criminal”.
Abyzov gave the most detailed testimony on charges of creating a criminal community. According to the ex-minister, the investigation did not provide evidence of its creation, and the facts of the acquaintance themselves cannot serve as "evidence of stable criminal ties." Abyzov separately pointed out that since January 2012 he held the positions of adviser to the president and minister of government and therefore all his movements in a company car, his time at the workplace, as well as all visitors were recorded by “services that provided the regime and functioning” of the government apparatus.
“The main objective of my activity during this period was to ensure interaction between the president and the government with civil society institutions. In this regard, I considered it my duty and civic duty to comply with the highest standards and principles of legality, decency and openness, ”said Abyzov.
The former official called his further stay in jail an attempt to persuade him to self-incrimination.
Abyzov’s lawyer Aleksey Kirsanov refused to comment on the testimony of his client on the merits, but explained that if we proceed from the logic of the investigation, then under the article of the Criminal Code it would be possible to bring “almost any transaction, completely ignoring all other laws and rules of business turnover, replacing the concepts of profit and economic expediency by the term "mercenary intent". "
What are Mikhail Abyzov Accused of?
The investigation believes that in March 2013, Abyzova Sibenergostroy sold the Blacksiris Trading Limited, also controlled by Abyzov, to the Cypriot offshore company NESKO, Engineering Center, PRP and ESM. The deal amounted to 186 million rubles. After the transaction, the companies acquired by offshore merged with the companies that Blacksiris established in 2012 - ACC, PRiS, PESK and REMiS. And already in December 2013, Blacksiris sold these structures to SIBEKO and RES companies belonging to Abyzov. The transaction amount - 4 billion rubles - according to the investigation was overpriced. This money was transferred to Blacksiris, and minority shareholders of SIBEKO and RES (citizens of Rubtsov and Hakobyan, as well as FSUE Almazyuvelirexport Foreign Economic Association) suffered from the actions of the ex-minister, the investigation believes.
About the accusations made in August and September, RBC wrote that they are based on the deal of 2018, when Abyzov still held the post of minister. We are talking about the sale of shares of SIBECO to the companies of Kuzbassenergo JSC and KhRSK JSC for 32 billion rubles. The investigation considers this money obtained by criminal means and subsequently legalized. All cases against Abyzov are now combined in one proceeding.