The Presnensky Court of Moscow sentenced a native of Omsk, 54-year-old Sergei Sokolov. Earlier, a recidivist convicted four times claimed that he was familiar with the first deputy head of the FSB, Sergei Korolev. According to the case file, last spring he contacted the lawyers of the head of the BKF Bank, Olga Mirimskaya, and offered to secure the release of their client from custody for a bribe of 33.5 million rubles. However, they turned to law enforcement agencies.
Before the announcement of the verdict, Sergei Sokolov was in high spirits and even advised the Business FM correspondent from which angle to shoot him. “I’m photogenic,” the defendant joked and gave a rather fantastic version.
Sokolov said that he did not admit his guilt and was detained after he came to ask for a loan from Olga Mirimskaya, whom he had previously known. Since she was already in custody at the time, he met with her lawyers. They allegedly put forward a counterproposal to him – to find those who would “kill two people”: their procedural opponent, the lawyer of the former cohabitant of Mirimskaya Nikolai Smirnov Vadim Bagaturia, as well as the banker’s ex-husband, ex-top manager of Yukos Alexei Golubovich. “I refused, but they contacted me two weeks later and said they were ready to give money just like that,” said the person involved, who has almost 20 years of imprisonment experience. He insisted that he had been framed.
Judge Alexandra Avdotyina did not believe this version. Announcing the verdict, she found Sokolov guilty of attempted fraud on an especially large scale (part 3 of article 30, part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and appointed him five years in prison in a special regime colony, taking into account numerous relapses.
In court, it turned out that Sokolov was convicted four times. He received his first term of four years and two months in prison in April 2009 for sexual assault (Article 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and robbery (Article 161 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and since then he has practically never left prison, receiving ever longer sentences for committing similar crimes and fraud (Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). He was released only in August 2018 on parole.
The last time Sokolov was detained by the FSB on March 24, 2022, in the office of the BKF Bank, owned by Olga Mirimskaya, in the Siberia business center on Krasnaya Presnya Street.
This was preceded by an appeal on March 10, 2022 to law enforcement agencies by the lawyer of the banker Yulia Zhuravleva. She said that a man contacted her the day before through her colleague, lawyer Shota Gorgadze. Sergei Sokolov introduced himself as an old acquaintance of her client. According to Zhuravleva, by demonstrating knowledge of the materials of the Mirimskaya case and her personal life, Sokolov hinted that he had connections among the security forces and personally knew the first deputy director of the FSB of Russia, Sergei Korolev. He offered for 150 thousand euros to achieve the release of Mirimskaya and the termination of her criminal case, in which the banker was previously accused of giving bribes to Yuri Nosov, an investigator from the Moscow Region.
Later, due to “changes in the market,” the man increased the amount to 33.5 million rubles. At the same time, he asked Yulia Zhuravleva to transfer money to his bank card and send an additional 100,000 rubles allegedly “for gifts” to the security forces.
However, the lawyer insisted on handing over the money in cash. Under the control of the FSB, Zhuravleva handed over a money doll to Sokolov, imitating the first part of the tranche of 3.8 million rubles. The next day the swindler was arrested.
The dispute of the former spouses
Mirimskaya’s lawyers then stated that the purpose of the provocation was a desire to accuse lawyer Yulia Zhuravleva of giving a bribe and withdraw her from the process, in which Olga Mirimskaya’s ex-husband, former top manager of Yukos Alexei Golubovich, demanded to recover almost $ 35 million from her.
Initially, the Golovinsky Court of Moscow sided with Golubovich. Sokolov showed up just shortly before the appeal was considered. Subsequently, this dispute ended in favor of Mirimskaya – the higher courts overturned the decision and rejected the claim.
Defenders have previously expressed the opinion that the former cohabitant of Mirimskaya Nikolai Smirnov, co-owner of the Golden Crown payment system, could be behind the incident. This, in their opinion, was evidenced by the fact that the detainee lived in Novosibirsk. The Center for Financial Technologies is also located there (it owns the Zolotaya Korona instant money transfer system). According to Mirimskaya’s lawyer Alexander Chernov, his client, having seen Sokolov’s photo, remembered that she had once seen him at the CFT.
Despite the fact that the term assigned to Sergei Sokolov turned out to be two years less than the prosecutor had asked for him the day before, insisting on seven years in prison, the convict said that he did not agree with the verdict and would appeal against it. “Five years, why?” he protested.
According to Sokolov’s lawyer Alexander Bersenev, his client’s guilt was not proven, and the investigation was incomplete. In particular, the investigators did not check the defendant’s version of his acquaintance with Olga Mirimskaya, who was not interrogated. “Sokolov said that when she was still at large, they had a preliminary agreement that when he needed money, she would give it to him for some commercial project. Then he had a stroke, and then she was arrested, ”the lawyer told Business FM. At the same time, he did not explain the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the banker, calling Sokolov a “famous” person in Novosibirsk, where he “lived all his life.” He believes that the lawyers who defended Olga Mirimskaya, Yulia Sokolova and Alexander Chernov, violated the code of lawyer ethics and even committed a crime when they began to have long conversations with Sergei Sokolov. “Any lawyer, having received an offer to give a bribe, should immediately stop talking, and not expose someone in the interests of his principal,” he believes. According to Bersenev, a lawyer can apply to law enforcement agencies with a statement about the commission of a crime only when it comes to a threat to his life or members of his family.
According to Business FM, in this regard, Sergei Sokolov even sent a complaint against Zhuravleva and Chernov to the Moscow Bar Association, demanding that disciplinary proceedings be initiated against them. However, the swindler was denied this, agreeing, in particular, with the arguments of Zhuravleva. The lawyer stated that she was in real danger in the form of her subsequent prosecution for a crime that she “did not intend to commit.”
As for the chairman of the board of directors of BKF Bank, the founder of the Russian Product company, Olga Mirimskaya, the investigation of her case has already been completed. In the near future, the Prosecutor General’s Office should resolve the issue with the approval of the indictment, after which the case will be sent to court. Mirimskaya has been in custody since December 17, 2021. She is charged with giving a bribe (part 5 of article 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) with two cars worth 3 million 250 thousand rubles to investigator Yuri Nosov near Moscow, who was in charge of the case of the kidnapping of her newborn daughter. Nosov is also imprisoned in a pre-trial detention center. In addition, Mirimskaya is charged with three episodes of attempted bribery (part 3 of article 30, part 5 of article 291 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) in the amount of 1 million 750 thousand dollars to the leadership of the Presnensky Court of Moscow and the 9th Arbitration Court of Appeal for ruling in her favor decisions in disputes over the division of property between her and her ex-husband, ex-top manager of Yukos Alexei Golubovich.
She denies her guilt in all episodes. Mirimskaya has repeatedly expressed the position that her former cohabitant Nikolai Smirnov, co-owner of the Golden Crown payment system, as well as her ex-husband Alexei Golubovich, are behind her case. Her last words are not commented on in any way.