The case of the "Arctic" theft stalled

The siloviki cannot agree on how to plant the owners of Rusalianstroy, which has built several Arctic bases for the Ministry of Defense.
The loud criminal case of embezzlement during the construction of military facilities in the Arctic, which are the co-founders of the company Rusalyansstroy Dmitry Bushmanov and Alexei Eckert, was once again returned for further investigation. First, in March 2018, the Tagansky District Court did this, and now - Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin. In both cases, violations of criminal procedure legislation were identified. Lawyers for the defendants believe that the criminal case is being stalled due to a weak evidence base.

The decree refusing the approval of the indictment in the Rusalyanstroy case and sending it to an additional investigation on October 9, 2018 was signed by the Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Viktor Grin. The reason for this decision was a violation of the rights of one of the accused - Dmitry Bushmanov - to the defense: the investigation did not familiarize his lawyer with the case materials. “The elementary requirement of the CPC was ignored of the need to notify a lawyer in advance about the end of the investigation and giving him the opportunity to get acquainted with the case,” lawyer Dmitry Sokolov, representing the interests of the accused Eckert, explained to Kommersant. “If this violation somehow would have gone unnoticed in the supervisory authority, then it would certainly have been revealed by the court, since the defense would certainly have indicated this,” added Mr. Sokolov. He noted that the Prosecutor General’s Office had paid attention to the miscalculation of the investigation even without a defense complaint.

Recall that in 2014 the firm Rusalyansstroy was entrusted with the construction of strategic facilities for the Ministry of Defense in the Arctic. At work allocated an advance of just over 3 billion rubles. Another 1 billion, according to entrepreneurs, they invested from their own and borrowed funds. Comfortable barracks built by the RusAlalsstroy company for military personnel who take up combat duty on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt, were even shown on federal television channels.

However, in March 2016, businessmen Bushmanov and Eckert were accused of embezzling the entire advance payment and arrested, although, as the defense indicated, of the three contracts concluded, one was fully completed, and the other two also went to the customer acceptance stage. It is worth noting that initially entrepreneurs were accused of embezzling 3.2 billion rubles, but the defendants and their lawyers through the Moscow Arbitration Court were able to prove that the work on the construction of one of the objects, the duty station on Novaya Zemlya, was carried out in accordance with the agreement with the customer. The object itself was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense. After the court decision entered into force, the investigation reduced the size of the alleged theft by 300 million.

According to representatives of the accused, the construction of other objects, including those being built on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt, was proceeding at a normal pace. According to them, these objects were 60–80 percent ready, but unexpectedly for builders, the customer in the person of GUIR No. 2 at Spetsstroy broke the contract and stopped financing. The position of the Arctic builders to a certain extent was confirmed by the Moscow Arbitration Court, which recognized that it was not businessmen who owed the customer, but the customer - to them. The court found that Eckert and Bushmanov actually spent not only budgetary, but also own funds on military facilities in the Arctic - in the amount of more than 1 billion rubles.

It is worth noting that the Arctic case returns for additional investigation for the second time. This was previously done by the Tagansky District Court of Moscow, which in March 2018 found that the investigation had violated the rights of defendants to the defense: the accused Bushmanov and Eckert were charged in violation of the law.

At the same time, as Sokolov’s lawyer says, the consequence can make the same mistake a third time. According to him, on October 17, Eckert and Bushmanov were again charged in the absence of their lawyers. "We received notifications that the charge will be brought on October 16, and in fact it happened on October 17," Mr. Sokolov complained. He believes that, most likely, the case will be returned again, since the Prosecutor General’s Office will not pass by such an obvious mistake. “The main reason why this case is stalled is the lack of evidence for the investigation,” Mr. Sokolov is sure. He recalled that the defense’s position was also supported by Boris Titov, the ombudsman for the President of the Russian Federation for the Rights of Entrepreneurs, who said that “there are no grounds for detaining Alexei Ekkert and Dmitry Bushmanov”. Mr. Titov even included both in the list of entrepreneurs affected by raiding and unlawful criminal prosecution.