Rosoboronexport prevents Venezuelans from shooting with a Kalashnikov assault rifle

The case of fraud in the construction of arms factories in Venezuela has been completed.
As it became known to Kommersant, the Ministry of Internal Affairs completed the investigation of the criminal case against the general director of ZAO Kislorodmontazh Sergey Tyukulmin and his partner Vladimir Yaremenko, who were accused of embezzling 200 million rubles allocated by Rosoboronexport to complete the construction of factories for the production of Kalashnikov assault rifles and cartridges for him in Venezuela. The expectation of the defendants and their defense that the case would be dropped was not justified: the prosecutor's office approved the indictment in order to send the materials to court.

The final indictment against Sergei Tyukulmin and Vladimir Yaremenko has undergone major changes. If initially both defendants were charged under Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud on an especially large scale, up to ten years in prison), then at the final stage of the investigation they were charged with Part 2 of Art. 165 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (causing property damage by deception or abuse of trust, causing especially large damage), the maximum punishment for which is up to five years in prison.

Messrs. Tyukulmin and Yaremenko became involved in the criminal case after the management of Rosoboronexport approached law enforcement agencies with a statement that 200 million rubles allocated for the completion of plants in Venezuela for the production of Kalashnikov assault rifles and cartridges for them had been stolen.

From the appeal to law enforcement officers, it followed that on August 7, 2015, Rosoboronexport and ZAO Kislorodmontazh concluded two contracts for construction and installation work. According to them, the CJSC has undertaken to complete the construction by 2018 of both plants in Venezuela, which were not built by Stroyinvestengineering SU-848 LLC, the former senator from the Belgorod region Sergey Popelnyukhov.

Rosoboronexport's choice of a contractor represented by Kislorodmontazh was due to the fact that earlier the organization was engaged in the installation and maintenance of cryogenic equipment at the Baikonur and Plesetsk cosmodromes, and built various facilities in Iran, Iraq, Cuba and India.

As follows from the materials of the criminal case, in March 2016, Rosoboronexport transferred two advance payments to Kislorodmontazh for 200 million rubles, that is, 30% of the contract amount. After some time, Rosoboronexport organized a comprehensive check on the spot, since the certificates of work performed and their cost, signed by Mr. Yaremenko, raised doubts among the inspectors. According to the investigation, with the money allocated by Rosoboronexport, practically nothing was done: the buildings were not fully erected, the equipment was not supplied, and the cost of the materials already used was overstated by more than 70 times. And even the additional agreements concluded between JSC Rosoboronexport and CJSC Kislorodmontazh did not bring the construction site out of the crisis.

It was then, suspecting Messrs Tyukulmin and Yaremenko of embezzling funds, the management of the AO appealed to the MIA Administration for the Central District of Moscow, where a criminal case was initiated.

The police investigation recognized Rosoboronexport as an injured party in the case, which filed a claim against the accused for the entire amount of the stolen funds.
Recall that the agreement on the construction of Kalashnikov plants in Venezuela was signed back in 2001. The customer from the Venezuelan side was Kavim, and the general contractor from the Russian side was Stroyinvestengineering SU-848 LLC, between which corresponding agreements were signed in 2006. True, Mr. Popelnyukhov started construction only in 2010. Venezuela fully paid for the contract, and Rosoboronexport was entrusted with control over its execution. Despite the fact that the factories were built by 70%, inspectors revealed that during their construction, Sergei Popelnyukhov stole more than 1 billion rubles from 2009 to 2011. through front companies-suppliers - LLC "Antrek", LLC "Medekskom", LLC "Stroymarket", LLC "Ecotechprom" and others. The victim Rosoboronexport then filed a lawsuit against Mr. Popelnyukhov for 1.18 billion rubles, and the Lefortovo court, having sentenced him in February 2017 to seven years in a general regime colony, satisfied this demand.

Sergei Popelnyukhov never admitted his involvement in the theft. Sergey Tyukulmin and Vladimir Yaremenko do not recognize her. The defense of the latter refrained from commenting.

Note that the construction of defense plants in Venezuela has not yet been completed. In addition to theft, plans to open production of Kalashnikov assault rifles and cartridges for them were affected by American sanctions and even the coronavirus pandemic. It is assumed that the facilities will be completed in this or at least in 2022.