Investigators in Puchigin’s office. Great tumult in wasps’ nest. “Shadow” services of the firm “ALM Feldmans”. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on October 9, 2003.
On this day, 20 years ago, on October 9, 2003, an investigation group continued its actions relating to gathering proofs of the Yukos’ management criminal activity, and searches were carried out under “murder” and “economic” articles.
INVESTIGATORS IN PICHUGIN’S OFFICE
The Office of the Prosecutor General searched the premises of Yukos Security Service, an employee of which – Alexey Pichugin – was accused by law enforcement officials of committing several murders and attempted murders 'in the interests" of Yukos. The investigation wanted to study the office of Pichugin. It was no coincidence that on the day of the searches in Alexey Pichugin’s office, Leonid Nevzlin, who had escaped to Israel, approached the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Israel with a request to award him Israeli citizenship.
Is it turned out later, already in the course of the investigation, and then in court, the criminal activity of Puchugin had been carried out at the behest of the company’s “main shareholder” – Leonid Nevzlin.
Simultaneously, seizures took place of financial documents of the oil empire. Of interest for the investigation were materials of foreign companies under the control of Yukos as part of the scheme of siphoning out of the country and legalizing of money settled on external bank accounts of the “main shareholders” of Yukos.
"In the course of the investigation of the criminal case with regard to tax evasion of entities under the control of the Oil Company Yukos, numbers of accounts in foreign banks were found to which pecuniary means had been transferred”, said on October 9, 2003, the Information Department of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
GREAT TUMULT IN A WASPS NEST
"According to the official statement of the Office of the Prosecutor General, news searches concerning the case of tax-dodging and embezzlement of Yukos’ entities were needed because the previous had been very successful. Moreover, particularly “during the investigation of parts of obtained at that time documents concrete accounts were found in foreign (not in offshore) banks to which, according to the investigation, monetary assets were transferred received as the result of tax evasion”.
Lawyers of the Yukos case refused to comment on this statement for the press. Earlier, they said that it was impossible to find any proof of tax faults as there were simply none of them. Now it turns out that the defenders played hanky-panky and that the investigators, as it were, pick up the scent”, - argued the newspaper “Kommersant” and posed a question: “What for “it was necessary to search the law firm where Anton Drel works?”
Trying to find an answer to this question, the newspaper put forward several lines of inquiry:
- “searches were made in his office because he represents interests not only of Platon Lebedev, but also of Mikhail Khodorkovsky; (no)
- "investigators wanted to know future tactical moves of the lawyers' brigade working on the Yukos cases; (no)
- they were searching documents of the company “Belka”, connected with Leonid Dyachenko, former son-in-law of Boris Yeltsin; (no)…
The lawyer Anton Drel in the process of the withdrawal of the document fell under the spotlight of the press because he was loudly trying to break into the place of the investigation actions.
"In the course of several hours, the investigation group refused to let me to my working place and into my office", artistically lamented he, addressing his works to reporters. And his colleagues, as usual, spoke about “inadmissible actions of the Office of the Prosecutor General”.
“Obtaining information through advocatory dossier is categorically prohibited by law”, argued the grandmaster of advocacy Henry Reznik. According to him, “a search in an advocate's office may be carried out only if there is information that there are harbored documents and objects of criminal activity”, and, actually, just that was taking place there.
While describing another “cunning” of the investigation group, it was once more accentuated the deputy status of the Yukos “main shareholder” Vladimir Dubov, and the questions were raised about inviolability of premises" (On this question, by the way, the European Court of Human Rights then came to the conclusion that premises cannot be seen as a deputy himself, that is why there were no violations).
The noise was made because the “deputy’s office” neighbored the law firm “ALM Feldmans" which attracted the attention of the investigation. And the whole tumult with loud announcements and emotional outbursts in the press was caused not by "violations of lawyers rights", but by "shadow" activity of the mentioned law firm which they wanted to hide. This detail was clarified seven years later, in December 2010, during the Khodorkovsky’s court case.
IVLEV, HANDYMAN AND PEN PUSHER
“From the letter of accusation follows that, for the purpose of legalizing (laundering) pecuniary assets, obtained by way of embezzlement, Ivlev P.P. (escaped to the United States, accused separately and in absentia) engaged in committing crimes subordinated to him lawyers of “ALM Feldmans” – Petrosyan N.M., Rumyantseva E.A., Kurokhtina A.B., Shavrin A.A., Shelepin, from his working place at the address Moscow, Sechenovsky Lane, 6/1 managed their activities pertaining to registering companies, opening accounts as well as carrying out financial operations under the guise of fulfilling treaty provisions of providing juridical services between the law firm and representatives of the Oil Company Yukos. Ivlev P.P. and members of the organized group facilitated registering on Cypress offshore companies with nominal directors and stockholders through which was organized the legalization of pecuniary assets. These circumstances are confirmed by the documents seized during the withdrawal and search in the premises of the advocate bureau “ALM Feldmans”, points out the Verdict of the Moscow Khamovnichesky Court from December 27, 2010, case No 1-23/10 concerning Khodorkovsky M.B. and Lebedev P.L. (p. 676).
DREL – TACIT OFFSHORE CONSULTANT
“We searched for financial documents which we needed, and we found them”, stressed representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor General. In the office of the lawyer Anton Drel, were seized “hundreds of files with documents, including correspondence of companies attended by this lawyer, as well as stamps of these foreign firms”. “According to these materials, the attorney Drel as often as not in financial operations takes the role of a physical person and private entrepreneur", said representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor General. Moreover, the documents show that he is a tacit adviser in financial deals of offshore companies, acting on the territory of the Russian Federation. "All necessary sanctions for carrying out the searches were received, and the searches were made in presence of attesting witnesses. Thereat, withdrawn were only documents relating to the investigation”.
Anton Drel was not let pass to the place of the investigation actions, and it was in accordance with the law. As it was pointed out in the Office of the Prosecutor General, the lawyer Anton Drel came to Zhukovka when the search was in full swing, so, according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, nobody can come in or go out of premises until the end of the investigation actions, otherwise, they are recognized as unlawful", notes the website Prigovor.ru.
(See also the previous article “On this day, Yukos was retracting its “affiliates” in order not to pay taxes”. 39 billion rubles or 1 billion 300 million U.S. dollars of back-taxes stolen from the state. The criminal practice of selling oil disguised as "borehole liquid". The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on October 8, 2004.