In Moscow, FSB officers detained former Minister for Open Government Mikhail Abyzov - the Investigative Committee of Russia (SKR) charged him with two articles of the Criminal Code - about fraud and the organization of the criminal community. The government does not associate what is happening with the “Open Government” project that was closed on the eve, in which the ex-minister was involved in the White House. The charge is built around a deal to sell four power companies. According to the TFR, Mr. Abyzov’s structures sold them for 4 billion rubles. at the real cost of 186 million rubles. Mikhail Abyzov’s lawyers and the other defendants in the case claim that the latter do not admit their guilt, considering the transaction a market one. On Wednesday, March 27, the court will decide on the arrest of Mikhail Abyzov.
According to unofficial data, the 46-year-old ex-minister was detained in Moscow by operatives of the “K” department of the FSB economic security service. It happened on Tuesday, March 26, in the afternoon, shortly after he flew in from abroad, his return coincided with the birthday of former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, to celebrate which he supposedly was to fly from Italy After his resignation in May 2018, Minister Abyzov had been relatively much outside of Russia, however, no one in his entourage or the government believed that he left the country: thus, according to Kommersant’s information, Mikhail Abyzov participated in several meetings led by The “digital” Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, and his status was not indicated in the protocols.
The ex-official and businessman in handcuffs under heavy guard were taken to the central office of the TFR in the Technical Lane, where special investigator Sergei Stepanov (major general of justice, led the case of Mari El Leonid Markelov) officially announced that he was detained on suspicion in the participation and creation of an organized criminal community with the use of official position (part 3 of article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and especially large-scale fraud (part 4 of article 159 of the criminal code of the Russian Federation). Immediately, the first interrogation of Mr. Abyzov as a suspect was held, after which he was officially charged. Mr. Abyzov, according to the lawyer Alexander Asnis, did not admit his guilt, like the other detainees.
As expected, on Wednesday, representatives of the TFR will appeal to the Basmanny Court with a petition to elect a preventive measure in the form of detention for the ex-minister. According to the version released by the official representative of the TFR Svetlana Petrenko, Mikhail Abyzov in the period from April 2011 to November 2014, "being the beneficiary owner of a number of offshore commercial organizations, he created and headed the criminal community." According to her, he acted with at least five accomplices. This is one of the former leaders of the RU-COM business group, 45-year-old Nikolai Stepanov, former CEO of the energy company Siberian Energy Company (SIBEKO) 50-year-old Alexander Pelipasov, 49-year-old former head of the company Regional Electric Networks (RES) Sergey Ilyichev, 42-year-old deputy chairman of the board of directors of RES, Maxim Rusakov, and 49-year-old deputy general director for economics and finance of the Novosibirsk hydropower plant, Galina Freidenberg. Two of them were detained in Novosibirsk and taken under special escort to Moscow, the rest in the capital, where they were also immediately interrogated.
A spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, almost immediately after the arrest, explained that he had been “informed in advance” about the circumstances of the case, but refused to specify further. A spokesman for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Oleg Osipov also explained that he was informed about the situation.
As I understand it, we are talking about actions that are not related to the performance of the duties of a member of the previous government, ”he said.
For the employees of the government, what was happening was a complete surprise, several government officials told Kommersant, although information "about a certain interest of the siloviki in the activities of the former minister has been discussed on the sidelines since his resignation." The situation is extremely unpleasant for the prime minister, says one of the federal officials. So, for example, being an adviser to President Medvedev, Mr. Abyzov, during two and a half months of the Duma election campaign in 2011, headed the Public Committee of supporters, which later transformed into an “Open Government”, in general, the Prime Minister always considered that “they are .- "b") are on the same wavelength. "
We note, however, that the main project of Mikhail Abyzov in the White House, the Open Government system, is now proposed to be eliminated in its current form. By itself, the reform of the supervisory activity in the Russian Federation, the largest project supervised by the minister, has not been canceled. At the beginning of 2019, in private conversations, Mikhail Abyzov reported that at this stage of the reform he expects strong pressure from the reformed supervision, and his resignation was not a surprise. Nevertheless, there are no traces of the fact that it was precisely this activity of his that was directly related to the detention and the criminal case: the attitude of the current officials to it is from neutral to skeptical.
The accusations of the TFR (for the time being - in the form of comments by the press service) against Mikhail Abyzov and his colleagues are kept in extremely rigid formulations.
“By deceiving the shareholders of SIBEKO and RES, which produce and transmit electricity in the Novosibirsk region, Abyzov committed theft of funds of these companies in the amount of 4 billion rubles,” said the TFR representative, noting that the stolen money “was fully transferred abroad ", According to sources of" Kommersant ", on accounts offshore" Bleksiris. " The TFR on Tuesday emphasized that the theft committed by the OPS of Mikhail Abyzov and his associates, "put at risk the sustainable economic development and energy security of several regions of the country" (according to Kommersant, the Novosibirsk Region and the Altai Territory).
Recall, Mikhail Abyzov, before joining the government in 2012, was engaged in investments in energy assets (see Kommersant Online). JSC SIBEKO in February 2018 was acquired by the Siberian generating company SUEK Andrei Melnichenko. The situation with the RES is more complicated: it is considered to be a market affiliated with SIBEKO, in the structures of the Siberian generating company, which is a part of SUEK, they deny control of the RES. About any property claims from SUEK structures to Mikhail Abyzov’s structures is unknown.
According to lawyers defending the defendants in the case, Mr. Abyzov’s accusation is being built around a single transaction: allegedly Mr. Abyzov and his associates acquired 100% in four power companies - ASS, PRiS, PESK, REMiS, then artificially inflated the value of their assets and sold AlmazeweliRexport for 4 billion rubles., While the money went to offshore companies, which were issued property rights. The management of FSUE considered that the cost of the transaction was too high. According to the investigation, “the cost of companies was 186,026,718 rubles. 11 cop. The victims are the management of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise and the shareholders of SIBEKO and RES, who did not know about their wrongfulness, who participated in the transactions. According to lawyers, their clients claim that the transaction was a market one, and the conflict around it was artificially transferred to the criminal plane. We also note that Mikhail Abyzov has had disputes for many years over energy assets with Viktor Vekselberg, including in the British Virgin Islands. Evidence that these disputes are related to the detention of Mikhail Abyzov, no. Companies that participated in disputes with the structures of Mikhail Abyzov did not comment on what was happening yesterday.
Anyway, at least in the government, they are sure that the detention is connected with Mr. Abyzov’s commercial activities in 2011–2014. So, according to Oleg Osipov, “it is known that his business partners made claims against him (Mikhail Abyzov. -“ Kommersant ”), and, probably, these claims had to be settled in a different way”. He also clarified that the talk in the version of the investigation is that Mikhail Abyzov kept control over the activities of commercial structures after 2012.
The confidence of almost everyone that Mikhail Abyzov was detained as a result of a commercial dispute is the main political issue of what is happening. In fact, this means that the Russian authorities approve the rights of security agencies to intervene in commercial disputes, bringing criminal charges against their participants. The same problems arose in February over the dispute between co-owners of the Eastern Bank, which ended with the arrest of the head of Baring Vostok, Michael Calvi. The regular appearance of such cases on the FSB charges demonstrates that the public demands of the authorities to the security forces not to participate in “disputes of business entities” are exclusively declarative.
What ended the criminal cases against members of the government
On March 26, the TFR announced the opening of a criminal case against the former minister of the open government of Russia, Mikhail Abyzov. On other high-profile criminal cases in the government - in the certificate "b".
Andrei Vavilov case
In July 1997, the Prosecutor General’s Office launched an investigation into the embezzlement of $ 231 million allocated from the budget for the production of MiG-29 aircraft. The former deputy finance minister, Andrei Vavilov, was a witness. By 2000, the case fell apart before reaching the court, but in 2006 the Prosecutor General’s Office resumed it. In 2007, the Supreme Court found signs of fraud and abuse of authority in the actions of the ex-official, but in July 2008 the case against Andrei Vavilov, who had become a senator by that time, was discontinued due to the statute of limitations.
The case of Nikolai Aksenenko
The case against the Minister of Railways Nikolai Aksenenko was initiated in 2001 after checking the Accounts Chamber. It turned out, in particular, that the leadership of the ministry acquired apartments from the investment program for $ 400–800 thousand. In 2002, the minister resigned and was charged with abuse of office and embezzlement on a large scale. In October 2003, the case was taken to court, to which Nikolai Aksenenko did not live, having died of cancer in 2005.
The case of Yevgeny Adamov
In May 2005, the former head of the Ministry of Atomic Energy of Russia Yevgeny Adamov was arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States. In December, he was extradited to the Russian Federation, where he was accused of fraud and abuse of power. According to investigators, in 1998–1999, the ex-minister and his accomplices seized 62% of the shares of the Russian-American joint venture for uranium trade GNSS and helped the illegal writing off of $ 113 million of debt of this joint venture to Techsnabexport. In 2008, the court sentenced Yevgeny Adamov to five and a half years in prison; later the term was replaced with a conditional one.
The case of Sergei Storchak
On November 15, 2007, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Sergei Storchak was detained. According to investigators, during the restructuring of Algeria’s debt to the Russian Federation, Sergei Storchak, who oversaw the issue at the Finance Ministry, overestimated the amount that was due to Sodexim (this company bought part of the Algerian debt in 2006) through the Interregional Investment Bank. On October 1, 2008, after being in custody for 11 months, Sergei Storchak was released on bail. On January 31, 2011, his criminal prosecution was terminated “due to the absence of a crime event”. The post in the ministry Sergei Storchak retained.
The case of Anatoly Serdyukov
In October 2012, searches of the defense company Oboronservis, which was under the control of the Ministry of Defense, began to investigate numerous cases of fraud in the sale of military property. On November 6, the scandal led to the resignation of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Established damage in the case exceeded 5 billion rubles. One of the main defendants in the case was the former head of the Department of Property Relations of the Ministry of Defense Yevgeny Vasilyev. Anatoly Serdyukov was a witness in the case, and on December 6, 2013, he was charged with negligence, but his criminal prosecution was terminated under an amnesty.
The case of Grigory Pirumov
On March 15, 2016, FSB officers detained Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Grigory Pirumov. He was accused of embezzling funds allocated from the budget for the restoration of cultural heritage sites, in particular, the Izborsk fortress (Pskov region). In October 2017, Mr. Pirumov was sentenced to 1.5 years and released in the courtroom, but in January 2019 the sentence was tightened to three years in prison.
Delo Alexey Ulyukaeva
On November 14, 2016, the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Alexei Ulyukayev, was detained while receiving a bribe of $ 2 million. In December 2017, the court found him guilty of receiving and extorting a bribe for his department approving the buyout by Rosneft of the state shareholding of Bashneft . The former minister was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined 130 million rubles.