In the administration of the city of Kotovsk, Tambov region, searches are underway in the case of the negligence of officials, should Mayor Plakhotnikov start to worry?
We are talking about inflating the budget for the construction of six block-modular boiler houses. Criminal cases and proceedings related to the construction of scandalous housing and communal services in a single-industry town have been going on for more than a year. The correspondent of The Moscow Post in the Tambov region understood the situation.
Multi-million dollar mistake
A number of searches are being carried out as part of the investigation of a criminal case on the negligence of officials in the implementation of the target program “Integrated Development of Communal Infrastructure Systems”. In June 2022, the security forces visited the employees of the Kotovsk administration. And later they visited Mayor Alexei Plakhotnikov and his deputy Lyudmila Khlusova, the Club of Regions reports.
The case is related to the 2017 concession agreement between the administration of Kotovsk and Compulink Infrastructure TO LLC, part of the Compulink Group of Companies, which was supposed to build several boiler houses in the amount of 500 million rubles, 300 million of which were allocated by the Housing and Utilities Reform Assistance Fund.
Compulink has indeed built an automated power system. Six boiler houses were put into operation in 2017 – design solutions were provided by Carenergy.
It was assumed that then the administration of Kotovsk would transfer the ownership and use of boiler houses to the company. For the next 20 years, the concessionaire was obliged to supply thermal energy for the needs of the city. However, the security forces had complaints about the project.
According to the investigators, the mayor’s office did not monitor the prices of equipment for boiler houses when forming the consolidated estimates, and therefore its design cost was clearly overestimated.
The story has been going on since the fall of 2020, when operatives conducted searches in the administration of Tambov Kotovsk, as well as in the offices of the Compulink group. In February 2022, the Housing and Utilities Reform Assistance Fund obliged the Tambov Region to return more than 111 million rubles provided in 2017. The administration was also ordered to pay a fine of 5% of the amount – 5.6 million rubles. And now June and August again thunder with searches at the officials.
Compulink Group is a system IT integrator. The firm claims to have industry expertise in solutions for the government, transport, telecommunications and financial sectors, fuel and energy companies and industry.
Interestingly, in the fall of 2018, the president of the Compulink group, Mikhail Lyashch, was detained in Moscow on suspicion of billions in fraud. In addition, the company often flashed others in scandals related to non-fulfillment of its duties. In 2021, Mikhail Lyashch left all assets.
In addition, the founder of the company for several years was a Cypriot company, through which, most likely, the money was withdrawn.
A photo: rusprofile.ru
The administration of Kotovo, on the other hand, entered into a contract with Compulink’s subsidiary, Compulink Infrastructure TO. The company was in great demand at the mayor’s office, being a supplier in 412 government contracts worth 200 million rubles and acted as a customer in 149 government contracts worth 2.7 billion rubles.
A photo: rusprofile.ru
Three top managers of Compulink have already been detained on suspicion of fraud. Yury Danilyuk, Yury Chernyshev and Oleg Popov became defendants in the criminal case. This was reported by RBC.
The tangle of events related to 100 million rubles has yet to be unraveled by the investigating authorities. However, the searches at Mayor Plakhotnikov’s are not just happening.
As Kommersant reported shortly before the negligence case was initiated, the Tambov Regional Prosecutor’s Office in a local arbitration demanded that the concession agreement be terminated because it was created in violation of the law.
The concession agreement was signed in 2017 by none other than Plakhotnikov. On top of that, earlier in the mayor’s office of Kotovsk they assured that all the boiler houses were built, and there were no complaints against the concessionaire.
It should be noted that Plakhotnikov has been in charge of the city since 2015, and is also considered the beneficiary of Komek LLC, which owns four landfills in the Tambov region, where almost all waste produced in the region is dumped. By the way, the company’s revenue in 2021 alone amounted to 322 million rubles.
A photo: rusprofile.ru
In December 2021, Plakhotnikov was elected mayor for a new term. At that time, Acting Governor Maxim Yegorov congratulated him on his re-election and expressed the hope that in “close and constructive cooperation” the old mayor and the new leader would be able to ensure the progressive and dynamic development of the city and region.
Is the bright future of Kotovsk just around the corner? Photo: www.onlinetambov.ru
Interestingly, experts advised the current governor of the Tambov region Yegorov not to get involved with the mayor of Kotovsk, since Plakhotnikov has too many connections and patrons.
“It’s better for the governor not to see Plakhotnikov, not to notice him. A conflict with him will lead nowhere, and if it does, it will weaken or lose the next governor,” said Sergey Markelov, director of the MarkelovGroup communications agency.
Against the backdrop of an investigation into fraud with boiler houses, the question arises, what awaits the current administration of the Kotovsk single-industry town and Plakhotnikov personally? Is it really possible for him, due to influential connections, to get away with it even from such a story?