15 Dec 2017 19:09

Russian Investigative Committee completes inquiry into 3 crimes of Zakharchenko

MOSCOW. Dec 15 (Interfax) - The Russian Investigative Committee has completed an inquiry into two cases of bribes totaling about 50 million rubles, which were taken by the former deputy head of the Russian Interior Ministry's Anti-Corruption Department, Dmitry Zakharchenko, committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told Interfax on Friday.

"The inquiry into three crimes of Zakharchenko, which were made a separate proceeding, is over now. He is accused of taking two bribes (Article 290 of the Russian Criminal Code) and obstructing a preliminary investigation (Article 294 of the Russian Criminal Code)," Petrenko said.

The bribes, parts of which were received in hard currency, were roughly equivalent to 50 million rubles.

"The defendant and his lawyers are studying materials in the proceeding," Petrenko said.

According to the investigators, Zakharchenko and his accomplice, a law enforcement officer, "initiated a check of several food-supply companies and restaurants of one businessman [in 2014] for the purpose of extorting a bribe."

"The businessman realized his enterprises were unable to operate under such circumstances and had to give a $800,000-bribe to Zakharchenko and his accomplice so that they made an official decision in his favor. The partners in crime demanded $5 million at first," Petrenko said.

Zakharchenko and his colleague extorted a 50%-discount card of the restaurant chain from the same businessman in 2015 for general protection.

"Zakharchenko used the card to save over 3.5 million rubles on bills in those restaurants he was visiting several times a week. It was a bribe in the form of services," Petrenko said.

Besides, Zakharchenko warned his female acquaintance in 2016 of the search pending in the fraud inquiry and organized the evacuation of all documents and office stationary to prevent their seizure.

"The court seized a large sum of money in various currencies discovered by the investigators during the search of the defendant's property, in addition to 27 real estate pieces, among them 12 luxury apartments," Petrenko said. The source of the cash is still being established, she added.

"We can already say this money has been obtained illegally, including as bribes," Petrenko said.

The investigators keep looking into another two bribes taken by Zakharchenko and are trying to uncover other episodes of his criminal activity. Zakharchenko's accomplice is wanted, she said.

Zakharchenko was taken into custody on September 10, 2016.

On December 1, the Nikulinsky District Court in Moscow upheld the request of the Prosecutor General's Office for impounding the assets of Zakharchenko and his family totaling about 9 billion rubles. The lawyers have appealed this judgment.