|VOA Interview: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster|
VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren interviews General H.R. McMaster, national security advisor, at the White House, Jan. 2, 2018, concerning events in Iran and Pakistan.
|‘Mopping up’ of high-ranking servicemen 2017 – https://en.crimerussia.com/|
A significant number of former leading employees of law enforcement agencies of Russian Federation have celebrated this New Year in prison.
The CrimeRussia recalls owners of general’s apartments and mansions, who in 2017 had to move in cells of pre-trial detention centers and barracks of corrections facilities.
During implementation of the National plan for combatting corruption, the Russian law enforcement system has been paying extra attention to identification of large acts and prosecution of high-ranking corrupt officials in the last two years. On December 15 when a sentence to ex-head of Ministry of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukayev was pronounced in Zamoskvoretsky Court, deputy prosecutor general of the Russian Federation Aleksander Buksman announced it on the meeting of heads of the security agencies in the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Nevertheless, law enforcement bodies were not an exception in the fight against corruption at the top echelons. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, only in 2017 servicemen found more than one and a half thousand corrupted employees in their ranks. As the CrimeRussia has found out, in the last two years the percentage of representatives of generals and senior command structure among security officers has really become much higher than earlier. Several of them have recently become defendants in new criminal cases, others have already got their terms according to courts’ decisions and have left to detention facilities.
Ex-head of Main Directorate for Economic Safety and Counteracting Corruption of MIA Denis Sugrobov
Former head of anti-corruption central board of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), who in April was sentenced to 22 years of maximum-security imprisonment, has got a pretty pleasant gift for the New Year from the Supreme Court. On December 19 Russian Armed Forces cut term to condemned for creating an organized criminal group and official power abuse Sugrobov for 10 years. Terms of his former subordinates were significantly lowered as well. Though considering the time that the former lieutenant general spent in the pre-trial detention center since 2014, he may leave on parole already in 4 years, his defense intends to obtain a non-guilty verdict.
Meanwhile, the investigation has established that being the head of the Main Directorate for Economic Safety and Counteracting Corruption Sugrobov has created a criminal community which was engaged in provocation of crimes and falsification of operational materials. Illegal actions of Sugrobov and his subordinates were revealed in 2014 after their unsuccessful attempt to set up deputy chief of the 6th service of Administration of Internal Security of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Igor Demin. The Investigative Committee of Russia believes that there was no motive of profit in actions of the officers: by sending agents provokers to the victims, they tried to obtain career development and awards. In total the investigation has found 19 trumped-up cases, as a result of which 29 people were illegally condemned or bribes, commercial bribery and swindle.
Former head of General Administration of MIA across the Northwestern Federal District Vitaly Bykov
Major general Vitaly Bykov was detained in St. Petersburg within the high-profile ‘case of golden parachutes’ 2,5 years ago. According to the investigators, Bykov and several his former subordinates have stolen more than 19 million rubles ($330 thousand) during disbandment of the Northwest central board in 2014. The frauds with the administration’s money were carried out by issuing of huge awards to the elected employees “for performance of particularly complex and important tasks” and by means of transfer of office apartments to private possession.
On July 17, 2017 the St. Petersburg court sentenced Bykov to 7 years of imprisonment, deprived him of general rank and ordered to pay a fine of 400 thousand rubles ($6,9 thousand). On December 14 the St. Petersburg city court, having considered the appeal of Bykov and two of his former subordinates who were put on probations, has upheld the sentences pronounced concerning them.
Ex-head of the expert and criminalistic center of MIA of Russia Pyotr Grishin
On December 5 head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation expert and criminalistic center (ECC) Pyotr Grishin and his deputy Oleg Mazur were detained by the staff of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation on suspicion of embezzlement of more than 80 million rubles ($1,3 million). On December 8 Pyotr Grishin was dismissed by the decree of the Russian President.
According to the data of the investigation, the management of the ECC has helped the company of the familiar interested person to conclude government contracts during purchasing the criminalistic equipment for regional ECC on a price overestimated by more than 80 million rubles ($1,3 million). In total the case includes three episodes of embezzlement of budget funds. On December 7 the Basmanny Court of Moscow sent lieutenant general Pyotr Grishin under arrest till February 5, 2018. The same term was pronounced to his deputy Mazur and businessman Sergey Narutov. All of the accused will face up to 10 years of imprisonment, however none of the detainees admit their guilt.
Former head of Administration of MIA of Russia across the Kamchatka Region Aleksander Sidorenko
The chief police officer of Kamchatka detained at the end of September on suspicion of official power abuse, became a defendant in the second criminal case under the same article in December, 2017. The police major general is accused of concealment of embezzlement of computer equipment for the of sum over 2,8 million rubles ($48 thousand) in the Administration. However in comparison with the first case concerning Sidorenko and the amount of damage according to it, the computers embezzled from the Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are nothing. The general was arrested in the fall on suspicion of embezzlement of 200 million rubles ($3,4 million) during construction of a helipad for the aviation group of a special purpose (AGSP) in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The construction was financed by the Ministry of Defence, it was planned to finish the works by 2015. In fact the object is still not finished though ‘according to papers’ it has been ready long ago.
Ex-head of Administration of MIA across the Tomsk Region Igor Mitrofanov
Clouds over former head of the Tomsk Administration of MIA major general Mitrofanov are condensed. Investigation of the criminal case over swindle in which not only Mitrofanov, but also members of his family appeared is resumed. According to the statement of the Tomsk businessman, throughout a long time he bought expansive cars for the family of the general for which Mitrofanov’s family paid only half of the real cost, while for one of them they have not paid at all. Among them – several BMW, Lexuses and Porsche. Afterwards part of them, according to some information, was resold by members of the general’s family for higher price. Earlier in the middle of October, a criminal case was brought against general Mitrofanov on suspicion of official power abuse (part 1 Art. 285 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to the investigators, he covered his corrupted subordinate — former head of local Administration for Combatting Financial Crimes colonel Konstantin Savchenko condemned for bribes.
Former head of Federal Security Guard Service across the North Caucasian Federal District Gennady Lopyrev
Lieutenant general Lopyrev detained at the end of December, 2016 became the first high-ranking employee of the Federal Guard Service (FGS) – the most secret intelligence agency protecting the president and the top officials of the Russian Federation, – accused of bribery. According to the investigators, in 2012-2014 the general patronized businessmen during conclusion of government contracts on repair and construction of facilities of the FGS in Sochi for what he twice got bribes in total amount of 6,3 million rubles ($109 thousand). In a year after arrest Lopyrev, who did not admit his guilt, was sentenced to 10 years of high security imprisonment and a penalty in the amount of 150 million rubles ($2,6 million). A week later after adjudgement the court sugared the pill a little – charge of illegal storage of weapon was dismissed from Lopyrev in this connection he will spend 4 months less behind bars. The penalty sum to the general was also reduced – from 150 million rubles to 130 ($2,2 million). Besides, military rank and awards of Lopyrev were not declined.
Former commander of a task force of FSB Vympel Vladimir Podolsky
The legendary in certain circles general, who directed a set of special operations and personally took part in them as well as Lopyrev is the only representative of his department in this list. On December 21 major general Vladimir Podolsky and head of department of Administration P of Economic Security Service of the Federal Security Service colonel Sergey Gorbunov received 4 years of imprisonment each for fraud with ‘dead souls’. As the Main Military Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia found out, the crime was committed by the defendants during their work in Federal State Unitary Enterprise Vedomstvennaya okhrana objektov promyshlennosti RF of Minpromtorg which later was a part of Federal State Unitary Enterprise Okhrana of Rosgvardiya. According to the investigators, Podolsky who long time headed the federal state unitary enterprise an affiliated employee issued to himself a dummy adviser and together with two accomplices received his salary for one and a half years, what in total amount was 3,5 million rubles ($60 thousand). The prosecution asked for the former member of special forces 4 years and 6 months, however the court considered services in battle of the general and knocked off half a year, leaving his rank and awards.
Ex-deputy commander-in-chief of Internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Varchuk
Federal National Guard Troops Service (Rosgvardiya) as well as other law enforcement agencies actively fights against corruption in its ranks. However, so far Victor Zolotov’s department is more concentrated on eradication of a bad karma of Internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, exposing those corrupt officials who were not transferred to the new structure in April 2016.
Lieutenant general Vyacheslav Varchuk was arrested at the beginning of March, 2017 on suspicion of receiving multimillion ‘kickbacks’. During interrogations the general who was responsible for distribution of financial flows in Internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation admitted his guilt in taking a bribe in 10 million rubles ($173 thousand) in the form of a ‘kickback’. For this sum Vyacheslav Varchuk promised the staff of the Administration of communication to achieve allocation of 250 million rubles ($4 million) in addition to means already received from the budget. At the beginning of November the criminal case file concerning the former deputy of central board of Interior Ministry Troops of the Russian Federation came to the Moscow garrison court and shortly before it according to the petition of the investigation property of the general and 20 million rubles ($347 thousand) on the bank account in VTB 24 were arrested. It should be noted that Varchuk who entered in 2013 Forbes rating of 20 richest security officers of Russia, for years of service provided to his family comfortable existence. He and his relatives own real estate in the center of Moscow, an estate in the Moscow Region and a park of elite cars with a total cost of half a billion rubles ($8 million).
Former head of department of quartering and construction of Interior Ministry Troops of the Russian Federation Vladimir Panov
In a week after arrest of general Varchuk, the 1st Military Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia across the Southern Military District initiated a criminal case over bribe taking in an especially large scale concerning lieutenant general Vladimir Panov – one more deputy commander-in-chief dealing with construction issues. According to the investigators the general received ‘kickbacks’ rom the Spetsdorstroy company on construction of facilities in 127th motorized regiment of Interior Ministry Troops in Adler. During construction Panov has allowed the contractor to overestimate the estimate and illegally change the project documentation, putting into it works which were not provided by the government contract. The investigation has assessed the general damage caused to the state by criminal activity of Panov at 20 million rubles ($347 thousand). According to the criminal case file, for this Panov has received from the contractor 2 hydrocycles and a powerboat with a total cost of 2 million rubles ($34 thousand). The general, who retired 3 years ago and headed Administration of quartering and building of the Main command of Interior Ministry Troops of the Russian Federation for 16 years appears in the center of corruption scandal not for the first time. In 2005 he was suspected of inappropriate expenditure of means, and in 2011 – of embezzlement of 220 million rubles ($3,8 million). Both criminal cases were closed due to lack of evidence.
Ex-director of Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Aleksander Reymer
In the next years the former colonel general of internal service would learn features of life of his former wards by own experience. In June, 2017 Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow found Aleksander Reymer guilty of arge scale swindle committed by a group of persons (part 4 Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and sentenced him to 8 years of imprisonment, depriving him of the colonel general’s rank.
The court has established that Reymer and his accomplices have stolen 2,7 billion rubles ($46,9 million) of budgetary funds when purchasing electronic bracelets for prisoners. Since August the former head of the Federal Penitentiary Service serves sentence in ‘red’ correctional facility No. 5 in the Kirov Region. It is remarkable that in 2011 Reymer personally inspected this colony and gave it 4 points on a five-point scale.
Former head of General Administration of the Federal Penitentiary Service across the Republic of Komi Aleksander Protopopov
Arrest of lieutenant general Protopopov last year on a charge of embezzlement of road plates has laid the foundation for series of high-profile criminal cases concerning the top management of the Federal Penitentiary Service in regions which has proceeded in 2017. During the investigation concerning Protopopov, a bribery episode was revealed and then in May of this year the Syktyvkar city court sentenced him to 7 years of maximum security penal colony and confiscation of property and also to a penalty of 1,875 million rubles ($32 thousand). On August 3 according to the petition of prosecutor’s office the court deprived the condemned ex-chief of the General Administration of the Federal Penitentiary Service across Komi of the lieutenant general’s rank, however at the same time reduced his penalty to the sum of 600 thousand rubles ($10 thousand).
Ex-head of General Administration of Federal Penitentiary Service across the Rostov Region Sergey Smirnov
A former colleague of Protopopov in the Rostov region, lieutenant general of internal service Sergey Smirnov became a defendant in a criminal case one year later. Smirnov is in custody on charge of two episodes of bribe taking for the total amount of 3 million rubles ($52 thousand), which he, according to the Investigative Committee of Russia, received from businessmen through his deputy, colonel Sergey Ralnikov. The colonel began to cooperate with the investigation, admitting his guilt before the hearing. According to his indications, he was only an intermediate link between businessmen and head of the General Administration of the Federal Penitentiary Service across the Rostov region Sergey Smirnov. The head of regional Administration of the Federal Penitentiary Service for a moderate bribe provided to representatives of the Rostov business preference on obtaining government contracts for works in corrective labor colonies of the area.
Former head of General Administration of Federal Penitentiary Service across Kuzbass Konstantin Antonkin
On a twist of fate major general Antonkin had to meet the New Year in the Kemerovo pre-trial detention center because of an unfinished construction of other pre-trial detention center in the region. The object, which construction has begun in 2014 still is not finished. According to the investigators, in 2012 the head of the General Administration of Federal Penitentiary Service suggested the director of civil engineering firm to provide him a government contract for the sum of about 60 million rubles ($1 million) connected with carrying out repair construction works namely – to construct the pre-trial detention center-5 in the city of Belovo. For the services the suspect has asked to issue to him a land plot and to build there a house. As a result the house for the general at the cost of 15 million ($260 thousand) was built, while the pre-trial detention center – was not. As a result, a criminal case against the major general according to part 6 Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (bribe taking on especially large scale).
Former head of General Administration of Federal Penitentiary Service of the Perm Region Aleksander Sokolov
For ex-chief of Russian Federal Penitentiary Service across the Perm Region Aleksander Sokolov the 2017 year was completely unlucky. This is because the former lieutenant general, who was deprived by court of a special rank, already serves a sentence, which he received in 2016, 5 years for swindle. In September a new criminal case was brought against Sokolov. According to the investigation, the general in 2012-2013 took from a Perm businessman bribes in a large size, and took it in deferent means – certificates on tours, collection silver coins, weighing 1 and 3 kg and a land plot of 0,5 hectares. Now this property is arrested, and the indictment on criminal case is approved. Soon it will be considered by court.
Former deputy director of Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Nikolay Barinov
On November 2 former deputy director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Nikolay Barinov was detained in Moscow. The state councilor of the Russian Federation of the second class (the rank corresponding to the lieutenant general’s rank) is suspected of bribe taking (part 4 Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to the investigators, Barinov got bribes for the total amount of not less than 110 million rubles ($1,9 million) during construction of the new pre-trial detention center Kresty-2 near St. Petersburg. The president of the Petroinvest company Ruslan Hamkhokov, who is also under arrest, paid to representatives of Federal Penitentiary Service 12% of the allocated funds in the form of ‘kickbacks’. The bribes were first transferred to the deputy chief of Administration of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Sergey Moyseyenko, who then shared it with Barinov.
Ex-deputy director of Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Oleg Korshunov
Deputy director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia Oleg Korshunov arrested on September 14 became famous as “the richest jailer of Russia”. During Korshunov’s search, a collection of expensive watches was found. Besides, the deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service had his own yacht, house with the mooring in the Moscow Region Pirogov and a Robinson helicopter. The 54-year-old Korshunov, who from the middle of 2015 was responsible for logistic support of the Federal Penitentiary Service is accused of misappropriation of more than 160 million rubles ($2,7 million). According to the investigators, the deputy director of the Federal Penitentiary Service entered into collusion with businesswoman Marina Dyukova and promoted a victory of her Energoresurs company in competitions on supply of sugar and gasoline to the department. Korshunov considers transactions with Energoresurs favorable to the Federal Penitentiary Service and does not admit his guilt. The ex-deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service celebrated the New Year in the pre-trial detention center Lefortovo, where according to the members of Public monitoring commission of Moscow, he was convinced of defects of the apparatus of execution of punishments. . According to the person under investigation when he tried to report about shortcomings of keeping of prisoners to the chief of the pre-trial detention center, he in reply showed him the resolutions and orders signed by him. “Yes, it was necessary to appear here to understand a lot of things”, Korshunov admitted.
It is easy to notice that in the long list of heads of the law enforcement agencies who in 2017 appeared before the law there is no representatives of the Investigative Committee of Russia. However, judging by the latest events, the Investigative Committee has every chance to ‘recoup’ in respect of cleaning of the ranks in new, 2018.
On December 26 after searches at his the place of residence and at the country house, former head of the Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee in Central federal district of Moscow colonel of justice Aleksey Kramarenko was detained. He is suspected of official power abuse (Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and bribe taking (Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to Kommersant, former deputy chief of the Main Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee across Moscow Denis Nikandrov accused of bribe taking from Zakhari Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy – Shakro the Young) for release of his colleague Andrey Kochuykov (Italiyanets – Italian), gave testimonies against him. From the middle of 2016 general Nikandrov together with other persons involved in this case Mikhail Maksimenko and Aleksander Lamonov is in the pre-trial detention center where as it has become clear in court recently, he managed to get married during this time. Due to the activity of Nikandrov counting on a special order of consideration of the case and Kramarenko’s arrest in new year, some more leading Russian Investigative Committee officers suspected of corruption collaboration with ‘thief in law’ Zakhari Kalashov may appear under investigation. In September it was reported that due to this searches at the head of the Main Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee across Moscow general Drymanov were allegedly carried out, however the general has publicly denied this information later. Sources predict personnel ‘cleaning’ in the Investigative Committee till spring of 2018. It may end with large-scale reform of Investigative Committee or its abolition. As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, his initiative is being considered in the Russian President Administration now.
Former White House aide Steve Bannon “lost his mind” after he lost his job, US President Donald Trump has said.
The president disavowed Mr Bannon after he was quoted in a new book describing a meeting between Mr Trump’s son and a group of Russians as “treasonous”.
The Russians had offered Donald Trump Jr damaging information on Hillary Clinton at the June 2016 meeting.