Criminal case against the family of bloggers Valeria ( Lerchek ) and Artyom Chekalin were transferred to the central office of the Investigative Committee of Russia. They are accused of money laundering on an especially large scale. What is known?
What has changed in the Chekalins case
Two criminal cases were opened against Chekalina and her husband. The first concerns tax evasion for 311 million rubles, the second concerns money laundering on an especially large scale.
Moscow investigators, according to Mash, were released from Lerchek’s case and transferred to the federal level due to the size of the damage. The investigation will be carried out by an employee of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, who was in charge of the theft at the Vostochny cosmodrome.
The lawyer for Valeria and Artyom Chekalin, Konstantin Tretyakov, confirmed to Super that the bloggers’ case was transferred to the central office of the ICR and said that the investigators would have to conduct an objective investigation. According to him, no new criminal cases have been opened against the family of bloggers, “exactly what was investigated earlier” was handed over.
“Where they didn’t investigate. In the UK in the SAO, in the UK in Moscow. Everywhere stubbornly ignored the fact of payment of arrears. And this is a serious reason for softening the position – the law explicitly states that when the debt to the budget is paid off, the criminal case must be closed. Therefore, they took him to the central office to figure out what the matter was there, ”the lawyer said.
What the Chekalins say about the criminal case
Bloggers in an interview with Vyacheslav Manucharov said that they knew about the audit of the tax service – it began eight months before the initiation of the case. The couple received an act, which indicated the amount of non-payment of deductions, and turned to lawyers. According to Artyom Chekalin, the lawyers reassured them and said that the authorities’ decision could be challenged.
The couple reported that over the past three years they had received about 11 billion rubles in income, one of them was earned from fitness marathons, the rest was earned as part of the sale of cosmetics from their company Letique.
The bloggers admitted that a debt to the tax in the amount of 311 million rubles was helped to pay by a businessman friend. According to Artyom Chekalin, after the initiation of a criminal case, many relatives turned away from his family, so it was difficult for them to find a person who would agree to help. Still unpaid penalties and fines.
“Do I regret that it all happened? Regret. Everything is like a bolt from the blue. I’m tired, it’s very hard for me, ”said Valeria.
What is known about the case of Valeria and Artyom Chekalina
Valeria Chekalina from July 2020 to July 2022, being an individual entrepreneur and applying a simplified taxation system with an allowable income limit of 150 million rubles a year, received a significantly larger income from fitness marathons. The investigation believes that in order not to switch to the general taxation system, the blogger involved her husband and other people as accomplices, illegally breaking up the business and evading taxes in the amount of more than 300 million rubles.
In March 2023, a case was opened against the Chekalins under the article “Evasion and Aiding in Tax Evasion from an Individual”, which provides for punishment of up to three years in prison. According to the investigation, in April 2021, the Chekalins laundered more than 130 million rubles, buying them in dollars.
The court chose a preventive measure for bloggers in the form of a ban on using the Internet, communicating with witnesses and accomplices, using mail and other means of communication.
In July, the Investigative Committee demanded that Chekalina’s preventive measure be tightened due to repeated violations of the ban on certain actions. The family of bloggers went online and talked to witnesses in their case. However, the court refused to transfer Valeria under house arrest.
In May, the Chekalins paid off a debt of 311 million rubles, which became the reason for the criminal prosecution of bloggers. However, the tax evasion case has not been dismissed. The Savelovsky Court of Moscow also refused to unfreeze their bank accounts.