Investigative actions under a probe into Mikhail Abyzov and 11 his accomplices finished

The Major Crimes Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia finished investigative actions under a probe into former Open Government minister Mikhail Abyzov and his accomplices. Depending on the role of each the 12 perpetrators have been finally charged with committing offenses under Article 210, Part 4 of Article 159, Paragraphs A and B of Part 4 of Article 174.1? Article 204 and Article 289 of the Criminal Code of Russia (creation of a criminal community through use of official position; swindling on an especially large scale; legalization of money acquired in an illegal way; commercial bribery; illegal participation in entrepreneurial activity).

According to investigation, from April 2011 to November 2014 Abyzov, being a beneficiary owner of a number of offshore commercial structures, created a criminal community with his acquaintances Nikolay Stepanov and Maxim Rusakov and became its leader.

In 2014 Abazov with assistance of his accomplices fraudulently stole monetary funds of Sibirskaya Energeticheskaya Compania (SIBEKO) and Regionalnye Elekricheskie seti (RES) of over 4 billion rubles. This way the accomplices jeopardized the reliability of the SIBEKO's generating equipment as part of functioning of the unified energy system of Russia. Their criminal actions also entailed an unjustified tariff burden on electricity consumers. The stolen funds in full were withdrawn from Russia and placed in ruble accounts in banks on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The money was then converted into US dollars in order to legitimize the ownership.

The fact of legalization of money by Abazov and other perpetrators was detected due to effective cooperation with Rosfinmonitoring and assistance of relevant authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.

Apart from that, in 2017 Mikhail Abyzov actually owned a controlling stake of SIBEKO shares registered for offshore companies controlled by him. At the same time, he hid information about his property status in violation of anti-corruption legislation. Willing to sell his stake, Mikhail Abyzov, through other members of the criminal group, transferred 78 million rubles as a commercial bribe to former top managers of SIBEKO Ruslan Vlasov, Yana Balan and Oksana Rozhenkova. In their turn they reported to a potential buyer of shares significant information about the activities of SIBEKO, including financial ones, secretly from shareholders, regulatory bodies, employees of the enterprise

In total, 15 persons became Abyzov's accomplices. Four of them - Vladimir Nuyazov, Sergey Stolyarov, Andrey Titorenko and Konstantin Tyan - are on the international wanted list. Probe materials into them are processed separately.

The investigation has taken interim measures for the subsequent compensation of the damage inflicted by the offenses. Thus, upon a motion of investigator of the Investigative Committee of Russia, the court ruled to arrest accounts of companies controlled by the ex-minister, containing money in different currencies. RES shares owned by Abyzov through offshore accounts have been also arrested. The total value of the arrested property accounted for over 32 billion rubles.

The materials indicating violation of anti-corruption law by Abayzov and information about property recognized by investigation as acquired in an illegal way have been referred to the General Prosecution Office of the Russian Federation. After evaluating this information, the supervisory authority went to court with a claim to recover more than 32 billion rubles from Abyzov and turn it into state revenue.

At present the investigation is planning to proceed to fulfillment of the provisions of Article 217 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation, and after the accused and their defenders study the materials of the criminal case, it will be transferred to the supervisory agency for approval of the indictment.