Sergey Makhlai did not bring 2 million euros to the Supreme Court

Sergei Makhlai, beneficiary of the Togliatti Nitrogen Plant, is suspected of attempting to bribe the Supreme Court.
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.

In the fall of 2015, Mr. Antoshin allegedly found the “right” people, whose candidates were approved by the head of Togliattiimbank, who controlled the course of the “operation”. The latter put in one of the cells of the credit institution $ 1.2 million in cash (more than 77 million rubles at the then exchange rate), which were to become part of the fee to ToAZ representatives in the Armed Forces and intermediaries in a bribe. According to some reports, the judge’s total remuneration was supposed to be about € 2 million. However, the attackers who acted with certain “unidentified persons” did not manage to bring the crime to its logical conclusion, since on November 2 the Supreme Court refused to refer the cassation appeal for consideration to judicial board on economic disputes.

We did not know anything about this criminal case before, however, we are no longer surprised at anything, ”Murad Musaev, one of Alexander Popov’s lawyers, explained to Kommersant, noting that the Basmanny court extended his client’s detention period to May until May.

He also said that the new charge is based on the testimony of Oleg Antoshin, who, he suggests, will soon be taken out of business, ending his criminal prosecution. It should be noted that Oleg Antoshin himself is now the defendant - in the case of the tossing into the territory of ToAZ in 2017 of an arsenal of weapons and explosives. This was conceived by the head of the Security Council and his accomplices, among whom was the former security chief of Boris Berezovsky, Sergey Sokolov, could provoke inspections of the enterprise, suspension of activity and discredit of the management with whom they had a conflict. Mr. Antoshin himself during the investigation admitted his guilt and concluded an agreement on cooperation.

They did not comment on the new investigation in ToAZ, citing the lack of official information about him, and Dmitry Tatyanin, legal director of Uralchemical and Chemical Combine Uralchem ​​JSC (minority shareholder), told Kommersant that the company, as an injured party in several criminal cases, associated with the actions of the majority shareholders of Togliattiazot PJSC, “interested in conducting a thorough and complete investigation”. “We hope that with the help of investigative and judicial authorities, the damage caused to Togliattiazot, Uralchem, and the state will be compensated,” he said.