In Novosibirsk, last defendant jailed for abduction of businessman and wounding him to death

A court has recognized the evidence collected by the Novosibirsk Region Office of the Investigative Committee sufficient to convict Valery Kudryavtsev found guilty of crimes under Part 3 of Article 33, Part 2, items “a” and “h” of Article 126 and part 4 of Article 111 of the RF Penal Code (abduction by a group of people in conspiracy out of mercenary motives, deliberate infliction of grievous bodily harm entailing death by negligence).

The court and investigators have established that Yakov Khanin and Yuri Zabirov were involved in long civilian and commercial litigations with different money obligations from 2007 to 2013, including those connected with joint construction of a business center in Krasny Avenue in the city of Novosibirsk. Not wanting to pay Khanin the settlement under a judicial decision, Zabirov decided to abduct the businessman and to get back at him in cruel manner. To do that he employed Khanin, a former police officer, 55-year-old Yevgeny Abarnikov, his 32-year-old son Sergei Abarnikov and his personal aide 62-year-old Valery Kudryavtsev. The abduction was carefully planned. Knowing every detail of the businessman’s timetable, Abarnikov father and son met the victim near his home on the morning of 29 January 2013, showed him fake police IDs, forcibly pushed into a car and took him to a rented garage. They received 50,000 rubles they had been promised for the job and took off. The plan was to get Khanin, who was also known as the head of a Jewish diaspora, drunk and take compromising pictures of him with underage girls (the inside of the garage was laid with red cloth, there was some furniture and some alcohol drinks on a table). That should have made him give up any financial claims he had to Zabirov. In the garage, Zabirov and Kudryavtsev beat the victim and forced him drink a lot of alcohol, of which he died. Having not expected such an outcome, the perpetrators put into the victim’s pockets pornographic pictures they had made in advance and hid the body on the premises of Proyektirovshchik, a garage construction cooperative.

When investigators did not believe that the businessman’s death was not of criminal nature, and opened an investigation Zabirov decided to get them on the wrong track. To avert any suspicions, he employed one of his accomplices to seek out a drug addict so that he would confess to the murder ordered by Khanin’s son. The plan failed, as the investigators had held Yevgeny Abarnikov.

He said that he had committed the crime and made a plea deal. A court found him guilty of abduction by a group of people in conspiracy and sentenced him to 4 years in prison in 2014.

Kudryavtsev was put on a federal wanted list. He was held on Cyprus in the autumn of 2015 and in early 2016 extradited to Russia.

Yuri Zabirov and Sergei Abarnikov were founded guilty of crimes under Part 3 of Article 33, Part 2, items “a” and “h” of Article 126 (abduction by a group of people in conspiracy out of mercenary motives), Part 4 of Article 111 (deliberate infliction of grievous bodily harm entailing death), part 1 of Article 30, Part 3 of Article 33, Part 2, items “h” and “j” of Article 105 (plotting a contract murder) and part 1 of Article 222 of the RF Penal Code (illegal purchase, storage and selling firearms and ammunition). Zabirov got 15 years to be served in a maximum-security correctional facility and Abarnikov got 6 years in a maximum-security correctional facility.

It should be noted that the investigation was complicated by the unobvious nature of the crime making it impossible to identify the killers as the crime had been planned and thoroughly organized by Zabirov, who had worked in the police and had special knowledge of investigative and search operations. He inflicted the victim grievous bodily harm in a manner suggesting a non-criminal nature of the death by forcing the man to take in a great amount of alcohol and making it look like extreme intoxication after drinking too much. However, the crime was solved thanks to investigators’ expertise and meticulous work, well-planned and organized investigative and search operations. In addition, Zabirov had taken care of an alibi before the abduction. After the investigation had been opened he also took some active steps to conceal the traces and was effectively hiding from the investigators by changing phone numbers, residences constantly and pressing witnesses and accomplices of the crime. A lot of complex forensic medical, soil-science, DNA, psychiatric inquiries, as well as a large number of investigative and search operations were carried out.

The court has sentenced Kudryavtsev to 12 years to be served in a maximum-security correctional facility. He is also to pay 1 million rubles in damages to the victim’s wife.