Interview of the head of the Investigative Committee Directorate for the Central Federal District Dmitry Zagorodnev for "Kommersant"

“The criminal case of security at Domodedovo will not be dropped”

Head of the Investigative Committee Directorate for the Central Federal District talking on high-profile cases

Ahead of the professional holiday, the anniversary of formation of the Investigative Committee, Major General of Justice Dmitry Zagorodnev, head of one of the leading units of the Investigative Committee – the Directorate for the Central Federal District, told the head of the “Kommersant” crime section Maxim Varyvdin of the most high-profile cases handled by his subordinate investigators.

"The key rationale for the murder is the governor’s professional activity"

- In contrast to the Main Directorates for Moscow and the Moscow region, your Directorate is not so well known. Which criminal cases fall within your competence, investigations in which regions do you control?

- The Investigation Directorate for the Central Federal District deals with the most complex and difficult crimes that occurred in several regions and have drawn great public interest. In addition, we investigate criminal cases withdrawn from the regional directorates for various reasons. Such decisions may be motivated by objectivity considerations and the reputation of our Directorate as a reliable unit whose investigators are able to unravel any complex crime. And we do not exercise control over criminal cases investigated in regions.

- Your Directorate was investigating the murder of the Magadan Governor Valentin Tsvetkov. A number of guilty verdicts have already been brought within this case, the price of the governor’s life was announced, but it still remains a mystery who had ordered his death and why.

- Indeed, 11 people were brought to trial for this offense and six of them were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, including life imprisonment. However, the investigation is ongoing, because we have to find the orderers and put them in the dock. For obvious reasons, I have no right to reveal all the details. But we have thoroughly established the circumstances of the crime. A key rationale for the murder is Tsvetkov’s activity as governor.

- Your employees are currently investigating another high-profile contract killing – of the brandy "king" Solomon Gavrilov. Is there any progress?

- There is. Three suspects have been detained. Step by step, the investigator and the law enforcement officers were getting closer to the orderer and the organizer of the murder and have finally established them. They were the residents of Moscow and the Moscow region and committed the crime of personal animosity toward the victim. They both were charged in absentia. Yuri Izrailov suspected of ordering the murder is hiding in Israel - we will be seeking his custody and extradition.

"No reasons to talk about the orders for criminal cases"

- Last year, In November, "Kommersant" told about another high-profile investigation involving the arrests of Sberbank senior officials who had proposed a businessman to write off his 700 million rubles debt for 100 million rubles kickback. Whether such kickback schemes are characteristic of Sberbank and other banks? What is the current stage of proceedings? May new episodes or names appear within this case?

- It would be incorrect to say that such schemes are characteristic of Sberbank of Russia and other large financial institutions. The vast majority of banks are working in good faith. As for this case, the criminal charges have been brought against three Sberbank employees. The final legal assessment of their performances will be given at the end of the investigation. It is possible that a few more episodes of illegal activities will be added to those already proven. They also involve the extortion from Sberbank borrowers.

- Your officers investigated and then dropped a high-profile case of failure to ensure transport safety, which had been filed after the terrorist attack at the Domodedovo airport in January 2011. But then several new cases were opened in connection with the economic crimes at same airport. In the midst of investigation the media reported that these cases were aimed at forcing the airport owner to sell his business. Can you comment on this? Will new cases be brought against Domodedovo?

- The criminal case you are talking about is being investigated, no one is going to drop it. At present, we have no reasons to accuse the airport staff and the transport police officers (they were initial suspects in this case - "Kommersant"). It will be possible to speak of the involvement of particular persons only after the investigation is over. But as it often happens, while checking one episode of the crime, the investigator reveals additional facts requiring legal assessment. In case the allegations of law violations are confirmed, the investigator files new criminal cases. So it was... The legality of case initiation is being verified by prosecuting bodies, and often by the court. There is no reason to talk about the orders for criminal cases.

- Not so long ago, the Investigative Committee reported on the institution of a criminal case against two leaders of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "FT-Center" and the deputy head of Rosimushchestvo Information Policy Department Vladimir Pinigin. They were accused of 17 million rubles commercial bribery. The Investigative Committee report said: " the circumstances under which the accused persons and their families, possessing quite a modest official family budget, obtained super profits and acquired numerous and expensive cars and real estates in Moscow are being checked".

- Yes. This work is going on, because it takes time. I will say that the court has seized the real property amounting to 50 million rubles belonging to one of the defendants. Another defendant admitted his guilt, the criminal case against him will soon be sent to court.

"The police officers demanded money for solving the problems they have created"

- I cannot help asking about another person, whose actions were assessed by the Investigation Directorate for the Central Federal District - the former first deputy chief of the Economic Security Department of the Ministry of Interior Andrey Horeyev. Questions have arisen due to General’s foreign properties and the assigned privileges of a combat veteran. Why was not he prosecuted?

- You are right. The questions have arisen, but they were checked thoroughly and cleared up. In particular, it was found that this person owned no foreign property (the deal with the hotel had not been completed by the period the check was conducted - "Kommersant"). In addition, it was established that the status of combat veterans was given to a number of police officers by mistake, without their influence. Now the confusion is resolved, the order has been corrected and the persons listed accidentally have been crossed out.

- The Main Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee investigated the case of “Rosenergomash” President Vladimir Palikhata who was a victim of the extortion by the investigator. At the same time, Nikolay Nesterenko and Vladimir Palikhata are the suspects in the case of the raider seizure of ZAO "Infiko" buildings in Bauman Street?

- The criminal case of attempted bribery was instituted reasonably and investigated objectively. This was repeatedly confirmed at the pre-trial stage by prosecuting bodies and the courts (though the Moscow City Court had eventually brought the non-guilty verdict on the basis of the jury's opinion - "Kommersant"). The criminal investigation into the allegedly false claims for the administrative building was sent by Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation to the investigative unit of the Ministry of Interior in September, therefore, I cannot comment on it. We did not bring any criminal actions against Palikhata.

- Another case is related to the Transport Police Directorate for the Central Federal District. The investigation began with a bribe of 3 million rubles, and now, the case comprises a dozen episodes and the same number of persons involved?

- Yes, it all started with one bribery episode. The investigators have identified and procedurally consolidated seven additional episodes of criminal activities of five former transport police officers. Some of them were arrested. It was established that the police officers demanded money for general patronage and the solution of problems they were artificially creating. It is a standard set of corrupt criminal motives. Now the criminal case is divided into several episodes, which are under final investigation. The accused persons will stand trial in the near future.

- The Moscow City Court has recently convicted a former staff member of the Central Office of the Ministry of Interior of Russia Vladimir Tyurenkov who was involved in one of your cases. He was charged with an offense under Part 1 of Art. 286 of the Criminal Code (abuse of power). There is not much information about this case, whom was he bugging and why?

- The criminal case was classified as "top secret" because the fact to be proved included information that reveals the tactics and methods of carrying out the operational-search activities of law enforcement bodies. Therefore, the public knew nothing about the case. It was found that a too diligent officer wiretapped everyone, not caring about the fact that he violated the constitutional rights of citizens. In addition, he decided to bug one of his friends. It was absolutely illegal, so the court gave the fair legal assessment to his actions.