As it became known to Kommersant, a high-profile criminal case was completed and sent to court on the embezzlement of about half a billion rubles from the Russian Ministry of Defense, allocated for the reconstruction of the Terekta and Turgay training grounds located in Kazakhstan and leased by the Russian military. They conduct tests and research of unmanned jet and guided weapons. Three merchants, through whose companies the withdrawal of money was carried out, will have to answer for theft.
The Khamovniki District Court of Moscow will have to consider a criminal case on especially large-scale fraud (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) against businessmen Vadim Lesnykh, Vasily Titov and Andrey Chesnokov. It was initiated by the Metropolitan Police in October 2019 against unidentified individuals. Subsequently, the materials were transferred to the investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It follows from them that in November and December 2015, Gradstroyproekt LLC (declared bankrupt in 2021) signed contracts with the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Main Military Construction Directorate No. 13 for the reconstruction of the Terekta and Turgay military training grounds located in Kazakhstan. There, the Ministry of Defense has been testing and researching unmanned jet and guided weapons since the mid-1950s. According to investigators, more than 760 million rubles from the budget allocated for the reconstruction of objects. in the period from June 2015 to July 2018, 488,219 thousand rubles were stolen.
In 2020, the investigation established the involvement in the crime of the former first deputy general director of Gradstroyproekt LLC Igor Berdnikov. The businessman, who passed through Afghanistan and was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the medal “For Courage”, was taken into custody at the request of the investigation. The company in the pre-trial detention center was made up of entrepreneur Mikhail Stakhanov, who participated in fraud with budget money. Both fully admitted their guilt and entered into pre-trial cooperation agreements with the prosecutor’s office. Last year, the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow considered the cases of the defendants in a special order, sentencing Igor Berdnikov to six and a half years in prison, and Mikhail Stakhanov to three and a half.
Thanks to their testimony, the investigation quickly managed to identify the other participants in the theft. In September 2020, the founder of several commercial firms that had already ceased to exist at that time, Vadim Lesnykh, and the infamous businessman Andrei Chesnokov, were sent into custody.
The former head of the bankrupt company “EMK-Engineering” and a number of other firms, employees of the “M” department of the FSB have repeatedly used their combinations to expose corrupt colleagues, as well as police officers.
In particular, in 2019, it was Andrei Chesnokov who helped the Chekists to expose the detective of the St. Petersburg FSB Kirill Liben (received two years in prison), who extorted 10 million rubles. for stopping the inspection of his company “Autopark No. 6 Spetstrans”. And before that, the same Andrey Chesnokov acted as an applicant and victim in the case of former Interior Ministry colonels Yevgeny Kashmatov and Dmitry Ataev, whom the court eventually found guilty of taking bribes on an especially large scale (part 6 of article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). For the termination of verification activities in relation to the company “EMK-Engineering”, the head of the UEBiPK department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moscow, Kashmatov, and the deputy head of the department of department “C” of the main department of internal security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ataev, received 17 million rubles from the entrepreneur, and from the court – 11 years in a strict regime colony.
Vasily Titov, the head of the FSPU “Administration of Civil Airports (Airfields)” project, was the last to be detained as part of the investigation into the theft of money from the Ministry of Defense in March 2021. At the time of the alleged act, he was listed as one of the leaders of Gradstroyproject LLC, as well as the general director of its subsidiary, the construction company Trust No. 11 (liquidated in May 2021), through which, according to the investigation, money was also stolen.
It follows from the indictment that the funds allocated for the reconstruction of military training grounds were stolen by the defendants through “affiliated commercial structures, as well as under the guise of various payments, both for their own mercenary and other purposes, which caused damage to the state, represented by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, in particular on a large scale.”
According to Kommersant, the prisoners do not admit their guilt in the incriminated act. Their defense did not comment on the charges against the clients.