The former head of the flight operation department of the Federal Air Transport Agency, Maxim Kostylev, who has been in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center since mid-April on charges of taking a bribe in the amount of about 5 million rubles, has been released. As it became known to Business FM, this was preceded by the transfer of his case from the Moscow Interregional Department for Transport of the Russian Investigative Committee (MMSUT) to the Central Office of the Investigative Committee of Russia.
The release of 46-year-old Maksim Kostylev was reported to Business FM by a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation. “On June 22, Maxim Kostylev was released from the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center, after which he went home to his family,” the source said. At the same time, he noted that the release of the person involved was a complete surprise – in the detention center they did not give him any document that would justify the release, but simply said: “You are free.”
According to another source of Business FM, the decision to release was not made by the investigator of the Moscow Interregional Department of Transport of the ICR, at whose request Kostylev was taken into custody on April 11, but by the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia, which recently seized the criminal case of the ex-official of the Federal Air Transport Agency from “transport workers”. “Apparently, more experienced employees, having studied it, did not find corpus delicti in it and stopped,” the source of the radio station suggested.
Business FM sent a request to the Investigative Committee of Russia. Maksim Kostylev’s lawyers were unavailable for comment at the time of publication of the material.
The former head of the flight operations department of the Federal Air Transport Agency, Maxim Kostylev, who several years ago was called one of the main contenders for the position of head of the transport department, resigned from service in the spring of 2022 of his own free will. And on August 3 of the same year, the Moscow Interregional Investigation Department for Transport opened a criminal case under Part 6 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“receiving a bribe on an especially large scale”). It dealt with the receipt by Kostylev in July 2021 from “unidentified persons” from among the management of Azur Air an expensive ticket for him and his family members. According to media reports, it included a business class flight and accommodation at the Turkish premium hotel Lujo Hotel Bodrum. The latter is owned by Azur Air Supervisory Board Chairman and Anex Tour co-owner Serhat Kochkar. In exchange, Kostylev allegedly influenced the results of the inspection of the flight work of Azur Air by the Federal Air Transport Agency, during which a limited number of violations were revealed. The investigation claimed that the cost of the tour was underestimated by 4.68 million rubles compared to the market price.
It is worth noting that throughout the entire investigation, the former head of the flight operation department of the Federal Air Transport Agency did not admit guilt. Nevertheless, the Dorogomilovsky Court of Moscow on June 1, 2023, at the request of MMSUT, extended his arrest for another two months. The defense appealed this decision to the Moscow City Court. However, the case never came to an appeal.