Investigative Committee continues looking into spread of fake alcohol in some regions of Russia

We have warned citizens against buying alcohol in doubtful places, but unfortunately our worst prognosis has come true. Over the past 2 weeks 15 people have died and 10 more are in hospitals with severe poisoning in several regions. The investigating bodies of the Russia’s Investigative Committee have opened 9 investigations in crimes under article 238 of the RF Penal Code (production of or selling unsafe goods if they entailed grievous bodily harm or death of consumers).

Five people died in Krasnoyarsk Territory from 21 to 23 November after they had drunk alcohol labeled Jack Daniel’s bought from the Internet at inadequately low price. In addition, more than 24 people were taken to hospitals in Krasnoyarsk with similar signs of alcohol poisoning. The exact number of victims is being checked.

Two women died in Kursk Region on 13 November 2015, after they had drunk alcohol labeled BACARDI. The investigators revealed that husband of one of the women had bought the said alcohol on 7-8 November 2015, at a warehouse located on a ground floor of the FOOD CITY shopping center on the 22nd km of Kaluga highway in the village of Sosenskoye, Moscow Region. Apart from the bottle of alcohol, the victims drank, he had bought there other alcohol. The bottles with alcohol were confiscated and sent for examination.

The Moscow Region investigative authority also during the investigation of cases opened in death of five local residents in Domodedovo District of adulterated alcohol poisoning, has searched the largest wholesale and retail food center FOOD CITY.

During the search, the investigators found a truck loaded with adulterated alcohol (vodka, rum, cognac, champagne). When the excise stamps were checked, the bottles  turned up to have been destroyed. The investigators also found the premises where presumably the adulterated alcohol was poured in bottles, stored and made look like real alcohol. In the same place the investigators found two pavilions piled with boxes – 150 boxes with different vodka labels, 140 boxes with caps. Necessary documents were confiscated. Samples of the adulterated alcohol are going to be sent for tests in the near future.

People selling the said alcohol, were identified in shortest possible time. By now Shakhin Afig ogly Ismailov, 40 and Ilkham Zakhid ogly Mammadov, 36 have been charged and following a request of the investigators a court has ruled to remand them in custody pending trial. Other accomplices are being identified at the time.

In addition, the Chuvash investigative authority during the investigation in death of three people in hospitals of the town of Cheboksary and Cheboksary District of acute methyl alcohol poisoning, is checking if the alcohol had been bought in Moscow Region.

Dmitry Mitrohin, 32, a resident of the town of Cheboksary and CEO of a cargo transportation company has been held in Cheboksary. According to investigators, he is the organizer of the said crime. Besides, his girlfriend Marina Akimova, 31, his mother Tatyana Mitrokhina, 50 and his friend Aleksey Orlov, 33 were his accomplices and had their own roles in the criminal group.

By analyzing those facts, we can say that as a rule people got poisoned after drinking expensive drinks of foreign production. All this can be the evidence that there are several criminal groups running this fatal business in our country and perfectly aware of the implications. The theory that the alcohol was illegally imported from abroad can’t be ruled out as well, so control over import of such goods in the country has to be tightened.

In any way, the state has to take some additional steps. No doubt, the Investigative Committee is going to investigate all those cases and hold accountable not only those responsible for deaths of people, but also to find out the role plaid in it by officials of supervising authorities charged by the state to assess the quality of alcohol. If there are certain factors, for example, if we find out that the same people are involved in production of the adulterated alcohol, the cases will be joined in a single law suit.

But it is much more important in this situation to secure our people in future and here we need strict state control. We don’t have to look too far for examples: in Iceland there is the state monopoly not only on selling, but production of alcohol as well, Norway, Sweden, Finland have very high taxes on alcohol. I believe that in our country as well the state monopoly on production of ethyl alcohol and maybe on all alcohol would make our citizens safer and would boost the inflow of money in the state budget. If we look back in history, we will see that in some periods such a monopoly did exist in Russia, but at some point business interests seem to have prevailed over health of people.

Head of Media Relations                                                                                                                            V.I. Markin