The Vyborgsky District Court of St. Petersburg sentenced lawyer Alexei Karpov to six years in prison for fraudulently overpricing the purchase of chemicals for swimming pools administered by the Sports Facilities Management Directorate. His accomplice, Alexei Kabanov, got off with a suspended sentence. The investigation proved that the defendants, on the basis of false documents, organized for the needs of sports complexes the supply of cheaper Finnish and Russian-made reagents instead of German ones. Thus, they appropriated more than 35 million rubles from the city budget, but Mr. Karpov himself denies his guilt. Earlier, the city chamber of lawyers stood up for his colleague and called his arrest illegal.
According to the United Press Service of the City Courts, on Friday, May 26, after the verdict was passed, the lawyer and owner of NPO KhimProm LLC Aleksey Karpov was taken into custody in the courtroom. He was found guilty of fraud committed on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), in the case of embezzlement of funds of the Smolny St. Petersburg State Autonomous Institution “Directorate for the Management of Sports Facilities”, which is currently responsible for 27 sports and recreation facilities , including the Petrovsky stadium and the Ice Arena sports complex. The man received six years in a general regime colony and a fine of 500,000 rubles.
The materials of the criminal case say that from 2015 to 2017, the KhimProm company controlled by Mr. Karpov supplied chemical reagents for water purification in pools under state contracts to the State Agrarian University, until law enforcement agencies became interested in the activities of a commercial enterprise in 2018. After reviewing almost three years of documentation, investigators found that the purchase prices were inflated by almost seven times. Over the entire period, three agreements were concluded between the parties for more than 100 million rubles. According to the investigation, after each transaction, the defendants pocketed the difference between the actual cost of the goods and that specified in the specification of the contract.
The criminal scheme for misappropriation of budgetary funds that were allocated to the Directorate as subsidies, according to the investigation, came to Karpov in December 2014. The lawyer appointed his friend Marina Shubova as the nominal director of KhimProm, on whose behalf the company successfully won tenders. According to SPARK-Interfax, the company did not conduct any other activity, except for the supply of reagents. Aquastyle LLC, headed by Aleksey Kabanov, was used as another lining company. The company purchased cheaper chemicals made in Finland and Russia from third-party suppliers and sold them to KhimProm. Karpov’s company, in turn, supplied the directorate with pool cleaning products under fake documents under the brand name of a German manufacturer.
All the money received, at the direction of Karpov, was transferred to the accounts of fictitious companies. The total amount of income from such frauds amounted to 36.3 million rubles. At the same time, Alexei Kabanov received 329 thousand rubles from Karpov as his share. In court, he admitted his guilt and received a three-year suspended sentence, unlike Mr. Karpov, who to this day denies the fraud charges against him. His lawyer, Vladimir Tolstinsky, refused to explain what arguments the defense has that prove the client’s innocence, and whether the decision of the Vyborg District Court will be appealed.
Alexey Karpov is himself a member of the Bar Association of St. Petersburg. He received this status in 2000. Immediately after his detention, the chamber called the arrest of a colleague unfounded, pointing out that the searches were not carried out according to the law, since the investigator had not previously obtained a court decision required under Art. 450.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation (according to the above article, a search in relation to a lawyer can be carried out only on the basis of a judge’s decision. – “Kommersant-SPb”). As lawyer Sergei Krause, who was present during the investigative actions, pointed out, during the search, documents constituting a lawyer’s secret were also examined. In a conversation with Kommersant-SPb, he called it strange that for a long time this search was not recognized as illegal. “There is such an obvious violation here that there is simply nowhere else to go,” said Mr. Krause. He explained that Aleksey Karpov is an active lawyer and can only be deprived of his status by the Council of the Bar Association. “If the guilty verdict enters into force, then, on the proposal of the Ministry of Justice, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Advocates will terminate its status,” Mr. Krause concluded.