Employee of FSB 'banking division' Vlasov admits involvement in armed robbery
MOSCOW. July 17 (Interfax) - Artur Vlasov, employee of the K Department of the FSB's Economic Security Service, which primarily investigates crimes in the banking sector, has fully admitted his guilt to charges of armed robbery.
"I have written a full confession and partly compensated the damage," Vlasov said at a hearing in the Moscow District Military Court on Wednesday.
Vlasov and his attorneys have asked the court to change the measure of restraint in the form of custody for house arrest. His attorney said that the defendant "will cooperate with the investigation."
On July 5, the Moscow Garrison Military Court arrested until August five FSB (Russia's Federal Security Service) employees: Vlasov, Urusov, Obolensky, Chivkin, and Karelin - all suspected of armed robbery. The court placed another two suspects, Kapyshkin and Margiyev, under house arrest.
President of the International Association of Veterans of the Alpha Anti-Terror Group Sergei Goncharov told Interfax that three defendants served with the Alfa unit and one with the Vympel unit.
All the suspects have been charged with armed robbery committed by an organized group or in an especially large amount. Those convicted under the relevant article of the Russian Criminal Code may get 8 to 15 years in jail and be ordered to pay fines of up to 1,000,000 rubles.
According to sources interviewed by Interfax, one of the suspects was formerly employed with the so-called banking division of the FSB, working to identify firms offering "cashing" services. "Having moved to another division, he decided to get extra money and started, together with a coworker, to extort money from the very firms that specialized in cashing," a source said.
The Economic Security Service employees later invited Special Forces members to joint them in pursuing extortions, the source said.
The service's chiefs learned about the illegal activities of the group and initiated an inquiry into the actions of the secret service employees.
It later became known that the number of the suspects in the case had reached 15.