On this day, Platon Lebedev was apprehended

On this day, Platon Lebedev was apprehended

Hide-and-seek on a hospital bed. Beginning of a big investigation of Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 2, 2003.

On this day 19 years ago, on July 2, 2003, Russian law enforcement agencies apprehended in Moscow the president of the board of directors of the CJSC MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev. As was pointed out in the statement of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia, “Lebedev in suspected of embezzlement in 1994 of 20% of shares of the OJSC “Apatit”, belonging to the state, to the amount of $283 million 143 thousand (Article 159, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

A bit earlier, on June 20, 2003, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia filed a criminal case No 18/41-03 on fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion committed by an organized group of persons consisting of leaders of the oil company Yukos and their henchmen. The affairs with the shares of the mining and processing enterprise OJSC “Apatit” is an episode of this big investigation of crimes committed by members of Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group.

WHITE HOSPITAL ROOM, PAINTED DOOR

The apprehension of Platon Lebedev took place in a rather specific circumstances – investigators found him in hospital. In the wording of some “sources”, which the media outlet “Gazeta.ru” referred to, this had looked as follows:

“Until present day (i.e. until July 2, 2003), Platon Lebedev was in hospital. The subpoena seeking testimony came at his home address. Instead of ill Lebedev, his lawyer headed for the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia. Yet, the readiness of the lawyer to provide all information that was needed didn’t satisfy the investigators. Approximately at 18.00, representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor General came to the hospital and, as is argued by people close to Lebedev, they, the representatives, with a demonstrative cruelty (Lebedev was handcuffed) took him away with them”

In the words of one of Lebedev’ lawyers, the name of one of the investigators that carried out the interrogation of Lebedev, was Karimov, “and the communication between the investigators was held exclusively in Tatar language”.

In a nutshell, “lawyers’ horror”, and multiple indications of procedural violations!

LEBEDEV “WAS FORCED” TO GET DRESSED

According to the newspaper “Vedomosti”, the picture looked slightly different. Couple of days before the apprehension of Platon Lebedev, employees of the Office of the Prosecutor General came in the bank “Trust” (it was part of the Group “Menatep”). As it was pointed out in a statement of the bank, “there were no searches, no withdrawal of documents, and employees of law enforcement agencies were interested in such questions as movements of money on accounts of one of the client of the bank “Menatep”.

Then, by an official subpoena, Platon Lebedev was summoned to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, as a witness, at that. On July 2, “in the morning, he should have come to the Prosecutor’s Office for a second time, but, about 5 a.m., he felt bad, and he was taken to the hospital named after Vishnevsky”.

Instead of Lebedev, the lawyer Anton Drel went to the Prosecutor’s Office where he received the subpoena for Lebedev.

However, about 16.00, employees of the Prosecutor’s Office themselves went to the hospital named after Vishnevsky, where they “forced Lebedev to get dressed”, handcuffed him and took him to the Prosecutor’s Office for interrogation”.

The phrase “forced him to get dressed” makes a twofold impression, as if Lebedev was trying to go undressed to the Prosecutor’s Office, and employees of the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t allow that categorically.

FIDE-AND SEEK IN A HOSPITAL ROOM DIDN’T HELP

To form “a line of defense” by way of transporting the defendant to hospital, turned out to be not a good idea, if one takes to account that the investigator Salavat Karimov was a specialist of setting the wheels in motion in cases connected with business persons and economic executives. To hide oneself on a hospital bed with a sudden diagnosis is a rather well-known trick, and that is why it seldom makes an impression.

On the next day, the court placed Lebedev in custody. During the first stage, he was accused of embezzlement by way of fraud on a large scale (Article 159, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), of inflicting property damage through deception or abuse of confidence (Article 165, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of Russia), as well as of non-execution of a court’s judgement (Article 315 of the Criminal Code of Russia). Later, additional episodes connected with tax crimes were attached to the case.

(See also the article “Lededev’s Formula”. The wording of the accusation formula brought against Platon Lebedev. Lebedev P.L. is accused of committing crimes under Article 159, paragraph 4, of the Criminal Code of Russia, under Article 33, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of Russia, under Article 315 of the Criminal Code of Russia, under Article 165, paragraph 3, subparagraph “a”, under Article 160, paragraph 4, of the Criminal Code of Russia, under Article 33, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of Russia, under article 199, paragraph 2, subparagraphs “a” and “b”, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, under Article 159, paragraph 4, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, under Article 198, paragraph 2, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

Simultaneously with the information about claims to Platon Lebedev, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia made public some details of the criminal case against an employee of the Security service of the oil company Yukos Alexey Pichugin arrested on suspicion of double murder.

(See also the article “On this day, investigators came for Alexey Pichugin”).

To the press it was told that, on June 26, 2003, within the framework of the criminal case No 18/325507-04, a charge was filed against Alexey Pichugin of the murder of the director of the CJSC “Don-Group” Sergey Gorin and his wife Olga Gorina. “I suppose that they intend to get some other information from my client, which are not connected with the crime he is accused of”, said the lawyer Georgy Kaganer, who described for the newspaper “Kommersant” the essence of the charges filed against Pichugin.

THEY TRIED TO SWEEP UNDER THE CARPET THE CASE OF “RIPPERS OF THE OIL COMPANY VNK”

Apart from that, on the same day, it became known that the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Interior of Russia of the Central Administrative Area was investigating a criminal case of state property embezzlement. It was established that in 1998, the general director of the “East Oil Company” (VNK) Ramil Burganov, using his official position, had misappropriated a stock of shares of the VNK company belonging to the state worth of more than 1 billion rubles.

In June 2001, a charge was filed against him in absentia under Article 160, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of Russia (Misappropriation or Embezzlement, that is the stealing of other people’s property entrusted to the convicted person, by an organized group on a large scale), and a level of restriction was chosen for him – detention in custody. Yet, Burganov hid himself from the investigation and was put on the wanted list.

Later, during the investigation, it was found that in the case “of the VNK rippers” had acted a group of swindlers headed by Khodorkovsky*, and the damage was not one billion, but three billion rubles. As to Burganov, the billionaires of Yukos, within the framework of a crime scheme, had assigned him an honorary role – a role of a man what signs all documents on criminal deal.

It’s interesting that Yukos tried to “clean up” this affair with the help of Vladimir Malin, an official of the Russian Fund of Federal Property (RFFI). According to the newspaper “Vedomosti”, Vladimir Malin, “at the request of the oil company Yukos, informed by letter the Russian Ministry of Interior saying that “all necessary actions have been taken in connected with the reconstruction of BNK’s structure and the return to its balance the shares of its affiliates which earlier were moved out of the holding”.

The return of the shares was formalized “in connection of an existing criminal case”. It was supposed that the return of the security papers was a way towards stopping of the criminal case. But. As it was found out, this didn’t dismiss the component element of the crime committed by Lebedev and Khodorkovsky.

“ABOUT THREE CASES NOT CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER AT ALL”

Such an intensive flow of information during one day, washing off PR-gloss from “the most transparent” oil company, frustrated the trickster Khodorkovsky who decided that “rogue police are blackmailing” Yukos. Business newspapers, trying to find a certain hidden background in these events, decided to reason about usual for that period of time categories like “political maneuvers” and “economic con art”, and came to the conclusion that the question was “about three cases not connected at all with each other”.

“Yet, later, it was found out that the beneficiaries of all these crimes had been the robber-barons from Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group, and even the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) could not find in this case the proverbial “political background”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, charges against Khodorkovsky were refreshed”. To the materials of the criminal case No 18/432766-07 on misappropriation of almost 350 million tons of oil and on laundering of 487 billion rubles and $7.5 billion were added new records of interrogations. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 1, 2008).

*On May 20, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of

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