12 Feb 2018 15:37

Russian Interior Ministry anti-corruption dept ex-employee sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) - The Moscow City Court has found Sergei Astafurov, a former employee of the Interior Ministry's anti-corruption department, guilty of abuse of office in relation to Andrei Komarov, an owner of ChelPipe, Russia's leading steel pipe producer, and his lawyer, according to the sentence pronounced by Judge Oleg Muzychenko on Monday.

"The court has resolved to find Astafurov guilty of committing a crime under Part 3 of Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code [abuse of office causing grave consequences] and sentence him to four years and six months in a general security penitentiary," the judge said.

The court also barred Astafurov from occupying any positions in law enforcement agencies for two years following his release and deprived him of the special rank of police major.

The court also found another defendant in the case, the director of the state enterprise Promresurs, Vladimir Spiridonov, guilty of complicity in abuse of office, the illegal circulation of firearms, and the use of forged documents and sentenced him to four years and six months in a general security penitentiary.

Both defendants will remain under arrest until the sentence takes legal effect.

The investigation and the court determined that while serving in the Interior Ministry's economic security and anti-corruption department dealing with crimes in the metallurgical industry, Astafurov falsified some findings obtained through investigative procedures based on which Komarov and his lawyer, Alexander Shibanov, were indicted for bribing Spiridonov.

It became known in February 2016 that the criminal case against Komarov and Shibanov had been closed due to the lack of evidence. Moreover, a court awarded Shibanov compensation for his illegal prosecution. Both men were recognized as aggrieved parties in the criminal case against Astafurov.

Astafurov denied any wrongdoing. He insisted that there was no evidence proving that he had abused his office except the testimony of the aggrieved party, who, in his words, "illegally escaped criminal liability."

The Moscow City Court ruled in April 2017 to sentence the former head of the Interior Ministry's economic security and anti-corruption department, Denis Sugrobov, and eight other suspects in a case concerning the massive abuse of office to prison terms ranging from four to 22 years in prison. The Supreme Court later considerably reduced the sentences. Sugrobov's term was cut from 22 to 12 years in a high-security penitentiary.