On April 26, the Krasnoselsky District Court of St. Petersburg began considering the case of pseudo-psychics who are suspected of large-scale fraud committed by an organized group (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Three local residents appeared in the dock: 36-year-old Tatyana Saushkina and Margarita Sharatova, as well as 24-year-old Arslan Birgalin. The latter is the main person involved – in the criminal case, he also acts as an organizer (part 3 of article 33 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). He took part in the meeting via video link, since earlier, at the request of the investigation, he was placed in one of the Moscow pre-trial detention centers. The rest are under house arrest and came to the hearing themselves – they are charged with no more than two episodes of criminal activity. The state prosecution claims that the organized crime group defrauded money from 12 citizens under the guise of participants in the show “Battle of Psychics”, which was broadcast on TNT.
According to the investigation, from March 2020 to April 2021, the attackers introduced themselves to their victims, who are in a difficult life situation, as winners and participants in the above-mentioned show – Tatyana Larina, Fatima Khaduyeva and Oleg Sheps. By phone from a rented subscriber number, they persuaded the fans of the TV program to conduct a remote magic ritual for money.
Of course, neither clairvoyance, nor telepathy, nor any other abilities for supersensory perception, the defendants possessed. However, their skills of persuading citizens were at the proper level: they were enough to swindle more than 850 thousand rubles from their “clients”. In particular, Mr. Birgalin possessed such a talent, who, as Tatyana Saushkina explained to a Kommersant-SPb correspondent, if necessary, could even imitate a female voice in a telephone conversation and is generally characterized as a gifted young man. “His energy, but in the right direction,” she remarked.
All three pleaded guilty. At the beginning of the meeting, Arslan Birgalin asked the court to change the preventive measure to one not related to imprisonment. As arguments, he indicated that he not only did not hide from the investigating authorities, but he himself “came to them on the Sapsan”, and also indicated that he compensated the victims for two-thirds of the material damage. However, at that moment the hearing had not yet reached the consideration of this issue, and the request was ignored.
Two other defendants asked the court to change the territorial jurisdiction and refer the case to the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. They explained this by the fact that most of the accounts to which the deceived fans of the “Battle of Psychics” transferred money were registered in Moscow bank branches. In addition, according to the applicants, this is the desire of all three defendants, moreover, one of them has a sick mother in the capital for treatment. However, Mr. Birgalin opposed the consideration of the case in the Basmanny Court and insisted on leaving everything as it is. As a result, after discussion by all participants in the process, the petition was withdrawn.
When the court session touched upon the issue of a measure of restraint, the prosecution came out in favor of extending the detention of Arslan Birgalin for another six months. The defendant tried again to challenge the expediency of his being in a pre-trial detention center, but in the end the court sided with the representative of the prosecutor’s office. The consideration of the case is ongoing. The next meeting is scheduled for May 10.