As it became known to Kommersant, Sergei Makhlai, the beneficiary of the Togliatti Nitrogen Plant PJSC (ToAZ), who was condemned in absentia in Russia, became a defendant in another criminal case. According to the Russian Investigative Committee (TFR), a millionaire in the midst of an investigation of the theft of chemical giant funds tried to bribe the judges of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for canceling the decision to recover tax arrears from the enterprise. Mr. Makhlai himself and his convicted father are on the international wanted list. In Russia, charges will be brought against former head of Togliattiimbank Alexander Popov and former head of the ToAZ security service Oleg Antoshin, who is in jail, who allegedly spoke about an attempt to bribe judges.
A new turn in the investigation connected with ToAZ became known when the Basmanny District Court considered the application of the Investigative Committee to extend the detention of former head of Togliattiimbank Alexander Popov. Recall that the banker has long been a witness in a high-profile case of multi-billion dollar thefts committed by the owners of ToAZ father and son Vladimir and Sergei Makhlai and their three accomplices. Their trial was conducted in absentia, since all five managed to go abroad. Meanwhile, Mr. Popov remained in Russia, regularly following the investigator’s calls, and was detained only at the end of May last year, a month before the verdict was announced by the Komsomol District Court of Togliatti. The latter in July 2019 appointed eight and a half to nine years of imprisonment as defendants. In addition to fraud, the banker was accused, together with Messrs. Makhlai, of organizing a criminal community using his official position (part 3 of article 210 of the Criminal Code) and non-payment of taxes (part 2 of article 199 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Alexander Popov himself categorically denies blame.
Asking for an extension of the arrest, the Investigative Committee of the Investigative Committee said that another criminal case was opened against Mr. Popov. The corresponding decision was issued on January 24 by the permanent head of the Investigative Team of the Investigative Committee in the ToAZ case, Major General Justice M. Tumanov. This time it refers to an attempt to give a bribe on an especially large scale (part 3 of article 30 and part 5 of article 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
The new episode is connected with claims of tax authorities against ToAZ, which arose in 2012.
Then the staff of the interregional inspection No. 3 for the largest taxpayers of the Federal Tax Service considered that ToAZ underestimated more than 1 billion rubles. export revenue from the sale of ammonia in 2010. As a result, the tax authorities additionally charged ToAZ profit tax for 2010 by more than 161 million rubles. Representatives of the enterprise did not agree with this decision and appealed it to the arbitration court, but lost in all instances. The last opportunity to cancel the already entered into force decision of the capital's arbitration was to submit a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court. According to SKR, Sergey Makhlai decided to get the right decision with the help of Oleg Popov, banker Popov and the head of the security service (SB), Oleg Antoshin, who were instructed to find a mediator and through him give a bribe to the VS judge.