“Green corridor” led to the “red” zone
One of the former heads of the Federal Customs Service of Russia received ten years in a general regime colony Alexander Kizlyk. He was accused of helping to evade criminal responsibility for people who took large amounts of foreign currency abroad without a declaration. During a search, jewelry, antiques, gold and silver ingots were found at Kizlyk – they were subsequently confiscated in favor of the state. Four accomplices of the ex-official were also convicted. In particular, his deputy Aleksey Serebro received seven years of general regime. Kizlyk himself denies his guilt and states that he acted within the law. Lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.
The former head of the customs investigation and inquiry department of the Federal Customs Service of Russia (FTS) Alexander Kizlyk will go to a colony for 10 years. This decision was made on March 1 by the Dorogomilovsky Court of Moscow.
The verdict put an end to the sensational case of major fraud in the Russian customs. According to the materials of the criminal case, in addition to the lieutenant general, four more people were involved in them – his deputy Alexey Silver and high-ranking representatives of the Vnukovo and Domodedovo customs Konstantin Mishin, Yuri Cherkashin and Andrey Shurygin.
All of them were detained in December 2019 under the same article 285 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Abuse of official powers”. And the third part of this article implies that the crime entailed grave consequences. In the case of Kizlyk, such a consequence, according to investigators, was a large – 25 million rubles – damage to the state. The department, headed by Alexander Kizlyk, is engaged in a preliminary investigation of crimes in the field of customs and must transfer information about them to investigators. The ex-official was charged with two episodes. According to the first, he allegedly closed his eyes to the attempt of the Ryazan businessman Yuri Stepanova to smuggle €316,000 through Vnukovo customs without a declaration. According to the second, to a similar attempt by the wife of the Russian ambassador to Kenya, who did not declare more than $50,000 when importing into Russia.
In the first case, Kizlyk contributed to the termination of the criminal case of the entrepreneur and its replacement with an administrative one. But it was also closed, after Stepanov contributed part of the illegally imported money to the budget. The lion’s share of the amount, thanks to the intervention of the lieutenant general and his deputy, was illegally returned to the businessman, the investigation believes.
Kizlyk also released the wife of the Ambassador of Kenya from criminal liability, although he should not have, it follows from the case file.
The defendants themselves do not agree with the prosecution and believe that they acted within their powers. Employees of the Federal Customs Service legally brought businessman Yuri Stepanov to administrative responsibility, lawyer Alexei Serebro told Izvestia Marat Faizullin.
– The law provides for a penalty in the amount of 1/4 of the amount of the exported currency for the lack of a declaration. Therefore, he was appointed to Stepanov – in the amount of 5.8 million rubles. The businessman was brought to justice for the first time, so the fine was a legal decision, the lawyer explained.
Alexander Kizlyk also stated in court that he acted within the law. According to him, the law allows changing criminal responsibility to administrative. As for the termination of the criminal case against the ambassador’s wife, she was allegedly prevented from walking along the red corridor by “extremely poor health.”
The decision to take her along the green corridor was made by the interrogator. I did not give any instructions,” said the lieutenant general.
Marat Faizullin told Izvestia that he would insist on the acquittal of his client on appeal. In his opinion, “there was not only no composition, but also no event of the crime”, and the case itself “was initiated illegally”.
However, the state prosecution considered the guilt of all the defendants proven and asked to sentence the lieutenant general of the Federal Customs Service to ten years in prison. Exactly so much gave and the court. In addition, the lieutenant general was deprived of all ranks and state awards.
Alexey Serebro received 7 years of general regime, Konstantin Mishin And Andrey Shurygin – 5 years each, Yuri Cherkashin – 6 years. They were also stripped of all titles.
In debt and as a gift
Large sums and expensive items seized during the search became a separate page in the case. At Alexander Kizlyk, investigators found currency worth about 80 million rubles, watches and pens of premium brands, jewelry, two bars of gold and one silver, as well as rare icons. During searches, his deputy Alexei Serebro was found to have about 23 million rubles.
Alexander Kizlyk also owned a mansion in Mytishchi with an area of 450 sq. m. During the audit, it turned out that the ex-head of the department purchased it for 999 thousand rubles at a market value of about 23 million rubles.
From 1984 to 2006 Alexander Kizlyk served in the prosecutor’s office, from where he moved to the Federal Customs Service in 2007. Former colleagues of Kizlyk in the Prosecutor General’s Office considered that his total income for all the years of service was not enough to acquire all this property. And in July 2020, they filed a lawsuit for its withdrawal in favor of the state.
The lawsuit was satisfied – in February 2021, the Meshchansky Court seized the property of the lieutenant general and his wife with a total value of 153.4 million rubles. Alexander Kizlyk tried to challenge this decision, stating that large sums were received by him in the form of a loan, and watches and jewelry were gifts for “anniversaries and celebrations.” But the Moscow City Court did not believe these arguments and did not return the property to the lieutenant general.
Didn’t see the money
If a hotbed of corruption is detected in the customs sector, they begin to control it, Viktor Kostromin, chairman of the interregional public organization Center for Combating Corruption in Public Authorities, explained to Izvestia.
– Alexander Kizlyk could not have acted alone, probably, many more people were involved in the scheme than the investigation established. Also, there could have been more episodes, but they were convicted only for those that could be proven,” he noted.
According to the expert, Kizlyk could not “cover” everyone, but only acquaintances or large “clients”. The owners of the currency and the defendants could agree in advance on the unhindered export of large amounts of currency. To do this, they were most likely subjected to a light inspection and the money seemed to be “not noticed”, Alexei Smirnov, an expert in the field of economic security, the head of the Informex company, tried to simulate the situation. Customs officers could not completely inspect those traveling abroad because of the presence of cameras.
– According to the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union, the export of cash or monetary instruments in the amount equivalent to $10,000 per person is freely allowed. According to article 16.4. Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, a fine is allowed if a person has not declared up to $20,000,” the expert said.
Above this threshold, criminal liability for smuggling on a large scale already begins. And after $50,000 – in a particularly large one, Alexey Smirnov explained.
According to a former member of the POC, human rights activist Eva Merkacheva, the cell in SIZO No. 4, where Kizlyk was kept, always “literally shone”. According to her, Kizlyk was one of the most pedantic prisoners and a terrible neat man: he always looked like he was about to start an important meeting or reception of citizens. It looked just perfect.”
It is noteworthy that, according to Merkacheva, Kizlyk infected other inhabitants of the cell with his pedantry – and there were sometimes up to 20 of them (all former employees of law enforcement agencies). “If in some cells someone could scatter their clothes or lie in holey socks, then there was nothing like that in Kizlyk’s cell. And he was always ready to take on the dirty work of a man – fixing a faucet, for example, or something like that.
In 1983 he graduated from the Faculty of Law of the Ivanovo State Institute. In 2005 he became a candidate of legal sciences.
Since 1984, he worked in the prosecutor’s office of the USSR and then the Russian Federation.
In 1996-2001 he headed the prosecutor’s office of the Ryazan region.
In 2001-2007, he worked in Moscow at the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation as head of the Department for Supervision of the Procedural Activities of the Department of Internal Affairs and Justice.
Since 2007, he moved to the post of head of the customs investigation and inquiry department of the Federal Customs Service (UTRD FCS) of Russia.
In 2019, finally slept …