The Seventh Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction (Chelyabinsk) overturned the verdict in a criminal case against Sergey Murai, former prosecutor of the Industrial District of Perm. The materials of the investigation were submitted for a new consideration to the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Perm. Earlier, Mr. Murai was sentenced to 11 years in prison and a fine of 10 million rubles. for a number of corruption offences. The verdict was appealed by both the prosecutor’s office, which considered that the convict should be deprived of the class rank of senior adviser of justice, and Sergei Murai and his lawyer, who insist on the ex-supervisor’s innocence.
With cassation appeals against the decisions of the courts of the first and appellate instances, Sergei Murai and his lawyer, as well as representatives of the state prosecution, filed appeals. The prosecutors believed that an additional punishment for Mr. Murai should be the deprivation of his class rank of senior counselor of justice. In turn, the convicted Murai insisted on his complete innocence and the illegality of the decision of the court of first instance, which sentenced him to 11 years in a strict regime colony and a fine of 10 million rubles. It should be noted that the district court deprived the defendant of the class rank of prosecutor, but later the court of appeal returned him to Mr. Murai.
The main episodes of the criminal case of the ex-prosecutor of the Industrial District of Perm are the receipt of two bribes from the family of businessman Anatoly Varlamov.
The court agreed with the version of the investigation that Mr. Murai received 1 million rubles. vehicles and cash for not initiating a criminal case on the fact of non-payment of wages to employees of Dorspetsstroy LLC. Another 1 million rubles. according to the materials of the case, he received cash from Anatoly Varlamov in the presence of his relatives for a promise not to demand a real term for the entrepreneur in the criminal case on the deliberate bankruptcy of Uralsibspetsstroy LLC.
Another seven crimes that were imputed to the ex-prosecutor are related to mediation in the transfer of bribes in the interests of Igor Kozhevnikov, who at that time headed the department of the Federal Bailiff Service (UFSSP) in the Perm Territory.
According to investigators, he received money from businessmen who, through the service of bailiffs, were provided with services for cashing out funds. Also, according to the materials of the case, Sergey Murai incited the head of one of the departments of the bailiff service, Alexander Mardanov, to abuse of authority and official forgery, asking her to illegally close the enforcement proceedings against her friend.
Sergei Murai did not agree with the version of the prosecution. According to Kommersant’s information, during the process, Mr. Murai insisted that the accusations against him were actually based on conflicting testimonies of persons, some of whom were themselves defendants in criminal cases and wanted to mitigate their own fate. Regarding the episode with the receipt of a bribe by motor vehicles in 2015, the former prosecutor pointed out that even in 2016 she was arrested as part of a criminal case on deliberate bankruptcy.
Sergey Murai also denied receiving another bribe from Anatoly Varlamov. According to him, the description in the criminal case of the circumstances that relate to this episode looks strange and illogical. So, according to the version of the investigation, after Mr. Murai demanded a bribe from the entrepreneur, the latter made an entry in his diary: “Prepare 2 million rubles for Murai.” After that, Mr. Varlamov in his house handed over the money to the prosecutor in the presence of family members, and five years after the commission of the crime, he voluntarily decided to appear at the TFR with a confession and a daily diary. As the defense notes, later the examination found that the entry in the diary was made no earlier than 2018, which is completely at odds with the testimony of the businessman.
In addition, the ex-supervisor and his defense point out that when considering the case of the deliberate bankruptcy of Uralsibspetsstroy, the prosecutor’s office insisted on a real term for Anatoly Varlamov, but he was sentenced only to a fine of 400 thousand rubles. The supervisory authority tried to appeal this verdict on appeal.
The prosecution of the other crimes imputed to Mr. Murai, according to the defense, is based only on conflicting testimonies of interested witnesses, the main of which is the former head of one of the departments of the UFSSP, Alexander Mardanova.
During the investigation and trial, the ex-bailiff said that through Sergei Murai she received money from entrepreneurs in the interests of her boss Igor Kozhevnikov. Mr. Murai, in turn, claims that he barely knew Ms. Mardanova and never met her to transfer money. He draws attention to the fact that, like Mr. Varlamov, Alexandra Mardanova also wrote a confession, while at first she testified only against her leader and only later remembered the prosecutor. At the same time, an analysis of the telephone connections between Mr. Murai and the bailiff shows that during the period when, according to the investigation, the money was transferred, the defendants did not communicate.
Lawyer Mikhail Postanogov, representing the interests of Sergei Murai, said that the cassation court announced only the operative part of the decision, it will be possible to understand why the case was returned for a new trial after receiving and studying the reasoning part of the judicial act. “By sending the cassation appeal, we were absolutely sure that we were right, since the court verdict cannot be based on inconsistent and contradictory testimonies of witnesses, which, moreover, contradict all objective evidence in the case,” Mr. Postanogov emphasized.