Interview by Head of Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Investigations Directorate Oleg Tushmalov to news agency RIA Novosti

Investigative Committee: damage from transport corruption in 2012 exceeds 175 million rubles.

Head of Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Investigations Directorate Oleg Tushmalov told about investigating a case over large-scale fraud with purchasing medical equipment in Civil Aviation Central Clinical Hospital and a number of other corruption crimes.

Revealing corruption crimes in the area of transport, among which are frauds of officials, police and customs officers traditionally raises higher interest. Head of Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Investigations Directorate Oleg Tushmalov told about investigation of a high-profile criminal case over large-scale fraud with purchasing medical equipment in Civil Aviation Central Clinical Hospital and a number of other corruption crimes in the interview to RIA Novosti correspondent Yekaterina Nabirkina.

- Mr. Tushmalov, this year investigators from your directorate have exposed a large-scale fraud with purchasing medical equipment in Civil Aviation Central Clinical Hospital. Which stage is the investigation on at the moment?

- Investigation of the case is nearly completed. As you remember it was initiated against head of Civil Aviation Central Clinical Hospital, who had organized purchasing of medical equipment at the price considerably exceeding its real market price. During investigation it was found that in 2009-2010, RF Ministry of Finance assigned 415 million rubles for the Hospital to purchase medical equipment. After that unknown persons entered a criminal conspiracy with the head of the hospital to steal funds from the federal budget.

According to information we have, the perpetrators found necessary equipment of one of popular manufacturers and concluded a state contract with the supplier they had found in advance. The transaction was conducted under pretense of a tender.

For the present the head of the hospital is charged with three episodes of concluding state contracts on purchasing medical equipment at considerably inflated prices resulted in damage of more than 170 million rules to the hospital.

During preliminary investigation with the purpose of observing the victim’s rights, the property and accounts of the accused worth a total about 80 million rubles have been arrested.

- Tell us in general about work of your investigators in the anti-corruption area.

- The Investigative Committee pays special attention to the problem of fighting corruption. This area has been and will stay the priority for us.

Each year investigators of Moscow Inter-Regional Transport Investigations Directorate investigate a lot of corruption crimes and many of them are conspicuous ones.

Over ten months of 2012 the Directorate has received about 233 messages on corruption crimes. Based on the results of reviewing those messages, we have launched 59 criminal cases, some cases have been overruled. Part of messages has been sent to other law enforcement agencies.

I should note that damage inflicted on the victims in cases sent to court and those currently in proceedings has exceeded 175 million rubles. To recover damages investigators have arrested the perpetrators’ accounts and other property.

- Are such crimes characteristic for commercial organizations?

- Yes, such crimes do happen. In our opinion, crimes in the area of commercial activity aggravated by power abuse and commercial bribery also pose great public threat, this is the same corruption, but outside the state and municipal authorities.

In the area of transportation, CEOs of commercial organizations using their dominant position at the market of services, frequently in conditions of lack of or limited competition use their powers to get illegal profit.

Our Department is investigating a criminal case against Head of Service Center of branch company OAO TransKonteiner (OJSC), who is charged with illegal receipt from Deputy CEO of OOO Agency of Logistics Decisions (LLC) money for providing containers. During investigation we have found that the accused with the purpose of personal enrichment illegally demanded the victim to give him 212 thousand rubles. In the evening of 22 November under control of the Moscow and Moscow Region FSB agents the man was detained. Meshchansky court placed the Deputy CEO under house arrest. Though the case has been launched only recently, it is already about to be finished.

- Which corruption crimes committed by employees of customs and law enforcement has your department investigated this year?

- The subject of corruption crimes committed by law enforcement and customs officers is still urgent. We are planning to finish a number of such cases by the end of the year.

They include a case against senior police operative agent of Smolensk customs, who was detained a bit over a month ago. He is charged with repeated bribe-taking – 30 thousand rubles each time from participants of foreign-economic activity (physical and legal persons importing and exporting goods – note by RIA Novosti) for not causing problems and providing assistance in customs registering. Another one of the money transfer operations was taking place under control of operative services and on 8 November the customs officer was apprehended in the car parked near one of supermarkets in Smolensk. Now he is in the custody.

In addition, a number of criminal cases initiated against customs officers, who took bribes, are being finished. There is a case against one of senior officials of Domodedovo customs. The man is suspected of receiving 6,300 US dollars for assistance in customs registering; a case against an investigator and an operative agent of Sheremtievo customs, who through an intermediary received 1.2 million rubles and demanded another 200 thousand US dollars from a participant of foreign-economic activity.

A case against two officers of transport police is also close to be completed. The police officers demanded a businessman to pay them 50 thousand rubles each month for general patronage over his bakery. They were also detained at the moment they were receiving the money and are in custody.

In November we completed and forwarded to court a case against a transport police officer, who had sold heroin and amphetamine to drug addicts with the intention to commit fraud with their property in future.

It has been found during investigation, as the result of his frauds the police officer with the participation of a real estate agent fraudulently got ownership right for 2 flats in Moscow worth more than 4 million rubles each. About 30 drug addicts have been questioned as witnesses. Investigators have studied a great deal of contracts, worked with many organizations including justice authorities.

- You have said about the cases when money was demanded by officials or law enforcement agents. Can you give any examples of giving bribes?

- This November we completed investigating a case against an employee of Moscow Biryulyovo operational wagon depot. The man was caught on giving a bribe of 1 million rubles to an officer of central division of Ministry of Internal Affairs. He offered the money for stopping to check facts of possible stealing of parts and components of railway carriages and for returning the parts and objects already seized during the check.

The bribe-giver was detained at Kazansky railway station at the moment when he was giving the money.

- How many criminal cases have been forwarded to court this year?

- This year we have forwarded to court 111 corruption cases with approved indictments. 65 of them are over the crimes under article 291 of the RF Criminal Code (bribe-giving).

- Which measures are taken in your directorate to prevent corruption in the transport area?

- Employees of the directorate constantly work to eliminate circumstances that make for corruption crimes. Representations have been submitted to heads of transport investigations directorates on the results of investigating all the cases. The court has passed no acquittals and no corruption cases investigated in our directorate have been dismissed. Senior officials of the directorate regularly take part in inter-agency board meetings, coordination meetings, where they together with representatives of transport internal affairs bodies, prosecutor’s office and customs discuss the issues of preventing such crimes and develop measures to suppress them.