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Investigators of the Main Directorate on Major Crimes Investigation of the Investigative Committee of Russia have filed charges against Aleksey Kuznetsov, former Deputy Governor of Moscow Region who was extradited by the competent authorities of the French Republic. He is charged with commitment of offences under Articles 159, 174.1, and 160 of the Criminal Code of Russia (swindling; legalization of amounts of money acquired by a person as the result of the committed offence; embezzlement).
According to the investigation, by deceit and abuse of trust, participants of the organized group led by Alexey Kuznetsov and his First Deputy Valery Nosov had acquired the rights for other people’s property in the form of the right to claim debts for indicated services from Moscow Region municipalities, from Moscow Region public utilities municipal unitary enterprises, and legalized the acquired amounts of money. The accomplices also had stolen money in the result of a transaction for sale and purchase of registered ordinary non-certificated shares of Rosweb owned by Mosobltrustinvest JSC and funds of Mortgage Corporation of Moscow Region received in the resulting sale of the third series of bonds of Moscow Regional Mortgage Agency JSC. The damage inflicted by the illegal actions of the convicts to the Moscow Region budget exceeds 14 billion rubles.
The money had been legalized through fake deals with various legal entities controlled by members of the organized group, with accounts in a bank controlled by Kuznetsov and his accomplices. For instance, the stolen money had been transferred to accounts of non-resident companies registered in the offshore zone of the Republic of Cyprus. It had been spent on elite real estate objects in Switzerland and France, high-value cars, and other assets. The indicated offences had been committed in 2005-2008.
During investigative activities in Russia, the Investigative Committee discovered antiquities of artistic and historical value that Kuznetsov’s ex-wife Janna Bullock tried to smuggle to the Republic of Finland. These assets amount to 1,357 items, including print media, books, paintings, furniture, interior design items, coins, armor, and other valuable property.
A number of Kuznetsov’s accomplices have been already brought to justice. Valery Nosov, Vladislav Telepnev and Elena Kuznetsova are serving sentences in places of deprivation of liberty by court sentences. Janna Bullock was sentenced in absentia. She was found guilty of swindling and legalization of money and other assets acquired by a person in an illegal way. The probe into Bullock was processed separately. She is hiding in the USA and the relevant officials of this country have reported on the impossibility of her extradition due to a lack of extradition treaty with Russia. Therefore, the trial was held in her absentia.
The real opportunity to bring Aleksey Kuznetsov to justice is a legal result of close, productive and consistent cooperation of the Investigative Committee of Russia and competent authorities of the French Republic. In 2013, Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin had discussed the matters of criminal proceedings against Kuznetsov in person with French law enforcement officers. Thereafter, the French criminal police had promptly identified the location of the convict and arrested him. The extradition process to come after that can be literally called unprecedented. With due regard for the French legislation features, the process took several years. However, the uniqueness of this procedure is not only in its timeline but in the fact that the direct cooperation between French relevant officials and representatives of the Russian investigation managed to dispel any doubts the extraditing party might have had about the legitimacy of criminal proceedings against Kuznetsov and circumstances of crimes he was involved in. Aleksandr Filin, senior major crimes investigator at the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia who processed the probe made a significant contribution to this process. He personally visited France and explained to the representatives of the judicial authorities the circumstances of the complicated corruption schemes implemented by Kuznetsov jointly with other persons.
Thereafter, the High Court of Paris ruled to arrest hotels in Courchevel, pieces of art, and other property belonging to the perpetrators. Moreover, as a result of cooperation with foreign relevant authorities, the investigation managed to gather enough evidence including this to establish what the money obtained by illegal activities had been spent on.
The Investigative Committee of Russia repeatedly reminded about the inevitability of punishment as one of the principles of the criminal process. The criminal case of Aleksey Kuznetsov is another example of the inevitability of criminal and legal consequences for persons who committed crimes many years ago.
Official spokesperson for the Investigative Committee of Russia S. Petrenko