As it became known to BUSINESS Online, Vakhit Garafutdinov, deputy head of the executive committee of the Bugulma district, ended up in a pre-trial detention center. Even before the New Year, he was suspected of embezzling 7 million rubles allocated for the construction of the second stage of treatment facilities in one of the district’s villages. The investigation believes that Garafutdinov promised patronage and acceptance of work to the contractor company for a bribe, and then had a hand in cutting the budget. The company, as BUSINESS Online found out, worked for only a year and fulfilled only one government order, after which it closed. Bugulma has not yet commented on the case.
In jail on New Year’s Eve
Vakhit Garafutdinov, deputy head of the executive committee of the Bugulma district of the Republic of Tatarstan for infrastructure development, became a defendant in the criminal case on especially large-scale fraud (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). As it became known to “BUSINESS Online”, before the New Year, the investigators went to court demanding the arrest of the official. The petition was granted and Garafutdinov was sent to a pre-trial detention center. So the deputy head of the executive committee met the new year 2023 not at home, but in the Bugulma pre-trial detention center. At the same time, the investigating authorities did not officially report on the detention and arrest of Garafutdinov.
The plot of the criminal case was revealed by the sources of our publication. According to them, the period of the crime that Garafutdinov is charged with is from January 2018 to January 2019. Allegedly at this time, being the deputy head of the district executive committee, Garafutdinov, together with the director of Ecolog LLC, stole about 7 million rubles during the construction of treatment facilities in the village of Podgorny, Bugulma district.
The criminal case, sources say, was initiated in the spring of 2022, but “against unidentified persons.” And then a second one was attached to it and a defendant appeared – Garafutdinov. The investigation also suspected that the official, desiring “personal enrichment”, received a bribe of 450 thousand rubles from the same director of Ecolog LLC. In exchange for this money, the investigator is sure, the official allegedly promised the businessman “protection and assistance” in auctions and further conclusion of contracts for the construction of these same treatment facilities. In addition, Garafutdinov allegedly promised that he would sign the work acceptance certificates, while turning a blind eye to the violations committed and to the fact that the buildings would not comply with the project documentation.
On December 23, Garafutdinov was taken into custody, he was placed in the local pre-trial detention center No. 3. From there, the defendant went via video conference to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan today and appealed his arrest there. While waiting for his turn, Garafutdinov sat thoughtfully in the “cage”, arms crossed over his chest, without making a sound. By the way, in this very “cage” the official was not alone. His neighbor, awaiting trial, was an HIV-positive man, who himself admitted this during one of the meetings.
The trial began with the identification of Garafutdinov. When asked by the judge if he was working, the man hesitated at first, answering that he was really working now. To a clarifying question, the person involved nevertheless opened the cards and minted: “Deputy head of the executive committee for the Bugulma municipal district.”
The official was very surprised at the empty place where his defender was supposed to sit. “I was hoping there would be a lawyer…” he added disappointedly. It turned out that after the detention, Garafutdinov wrote a receipt in which he refused the services of a lawyer by appointment. And in defense of his interests, his son hired two lawyers for him under an agreement – a certain Airat Shaikhutdinov and another one, whose name Garafutdinov could not remember. When asked why none of the lawyers appeared, the man could not answer. I didn’t talk to my family about it. “The opportunity was not given,” he explained.
As a result, the judge asked Garafutdinov to dictate the number of one of the relatives and decided that the meeting should be postponed due to the lack of defenders.
What company undertook to build a sewage treatment plant
Ekolog LLC was established in February 2018, follows from the database of the Kontur.Focus service, and a year and a half later, in June 2019, it was liquidated. The company was located in Bugulma, its only founder is Nail Fazliev, he was also a director (now listed as a liquidator). According to the same service, in 2018 the company had one employee. According to reports, at the end of 2018, the company received revenue of 6.93 million rubles and a net loss of 77 thousand rubles.
The only source of income for the company was just one order – just for the implementation of the second stage of construction of treatment facilities in the village of Podgorny. The executive committee of the Bugulminsky district offered 7,25,000 rubles for these works, and the winner of the auction, Ecolog, offered its price of 6.95 million rubles. Ecolog’s competitor in this auction was a company located at the same address as him. The status of the contract with Ecolog, according to the service, is “execution terminated.”
Fazliev, according to Kontur.Focus, was the founder of a number of other companies in Bugulma. So, in 2008, he created Intech LLC, the company was engaged in services in the field of oil and natural gas production. In November 2019, it was excluded from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities as inactive. There is no information on the financial performance of the company. Even earlier, in 2002, Fazliev became a co-founder and director of Orbita LLC, which was engaged in the sale and repair of household products and closed in 2011. Then, in the early 2000s, Fazliev became a co-founder of Idel Insurance Company CJSC (later LLC). Fazliyev also had several individual entrepreneurs: trade (worked for about 20 years) and construction (closed in 2019), and in the latter the field of activity is indicated as “research and development in the field of natural and technical sciences.” It worked for three months, from July to October 2021.
Fazliyev’s status in the present criminal case is unknown; no comment could be obtained at the time of publication of the text.
Garafutdinov is 58 years old. An architect by profession, he graduated from KISI. As he himself said in an interview, during his studies he “had a hand” in the iconic objects of the republic: for example, during his institute practice, together with other students, he was engaged in the reconstruction of the section from the Kremlin to Freedom Square, and in Yelabuga in 1982 he was engaged in the restoration of the Spassky Cathedral . The curator of his thesis at the institute was the famous professor of KSUAE Alexander Dembich, who is now engaged in the general layout of Naberezhnye Chelny.
The career of the future official did not start at all from the bottom of the construction industry – in 1986 he began working as an engineer at the Orenburgselkhozproekt Institute, where he eventually became the chief architect. An important turn in Garafutdinov’s career occurred at the moment when he returned to Tatarstan 8 years later – in 1994. He began to work as a shift foreman in the Bugulma branch of Tatvodokanal. Soon he took the chair of the deputy general director for construction, and then rose to the rank of chief engineer of Vodokanal OJSC for Bugulma.
Garafutdinov got into the municipal service, as they say, “right off the bat”, immediately taking the post of head of the city executive committee of Bugulma. From 2012 to the present, according to official data, Garafutdinov has been working in a higher position as deputy head of the executive committee of the Bugulma municipal district, responsible for infrastructure development.
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Despite numerous merits and many years of service, the shadow on the official’s career was already falling. In 2019, he was indirectly involved in a high-profile Republican corruption scandal. Then the security forces suspected the mayor of Bugulma, Ildus Kasymov, of receiving a kickback in the amount of 2.6 million from the contractor for the construction of a fountain in the city center. Garafutdinov “marked” himself in the case as an intermediary in the transfer of a bribe. At the same time, for all the time the investigating authorities did not report anything about the status of Garafutdinov, as well as about whether charges were brought against him. One way or another, the Kasymov case was reclassified and then dismissed in 2021 due to the statute of limitations.
The executive committee of the Bugulminsky district has not yet commented on the information about the detention. But Garafutdinov still remains in the state, the question of his dismissal has been postponed until the verdict.