The Lefortovo court in Moscow sentenced the former chairman of the government of North Ossetia Sergei Takoev to eight years in prison for embezzlement of 180 million rubles. Three former ministers of his cabinet will also be sent to prison. According to the prosecution, officials entered into a conspiracy when concluding a government contract for the purchase of property from an automobile plant in Vladikavkaz. The case was opened in August 2021 after the Prosecutor General’s Office checked the expenditure of funds from the republican budget. The defendants’ lawyers do not agree with the charges and will appeal them.
Why was Sergei Takoev convicted?
On October 23, the Lefortovo District Court of Moscow sentenced the former chairman of the government of North Ossetia, Sergei Takayev, to eight years in a general regime colony. He was found guilty of embezzlement of budget funds during the state procurement of property of the Ossetian plant of automobile and tractor electrical equipment (OJSC OZATE).
As the Prosecutor General’s Office explained to Izvestia, we are talking about events ten years ago: in 2012–2014, Takoev, with the assistance of six members of the republican government, entered into a government contract for the purchase of several buildings and a land plot belonging to the plant in Vladikavkaz. It was planned that a technology park would be built in their place. According to the contract, the Ministry of State Property and Land Relations of the republic paid the plant 180 million rubles.
However, an audit of the expenditure of budget funds conducted by the Prosecutor General’s Office revealed serious financial inconsistencies in the deal. In August 2021, investigators opened a criminal case based on her materials.
As the appraisal examination showed, the cost of the property acquired under the state contract was inflated threefold – at the prices of those years, instead of 180 million rubles, the budget had to pay the plant 66.1 million.
According to the prosecution, by their actions the defendants caused damage to the republican budget on a particularly large scale.
The press was not allowed to film the announcement of the verdict and journalists were removed from the hall. As the Prosecutor General’s Office later reported, the court agreed with the position of the state prosecutor and sentenced Sergei Takayev to eight years in prison and a fine of 800 thousand rubles.
Together with the ex-prime minister, three of his ministers will go to jail: tourism, entrepreneurship and investment policy Alan Diambekov, economic development Madina Ikaeva, state property and land relations Kazbek Fidarov and his subordinate Zaurbek Tsogoev.
The latter department was recognized as the injured party in the case. The court fully satisfied his civil claim against the convicts in the amount of 180 million rubles, so that, in addition to the main fines under the verdict, the convicts will have to jointly pay this amount. Their property was seized.
The accusation did not pass over the general director of OJSC OZATE, Aida Gabaraeva, and the chairman of the board of directors of this plant, Oleg Gabuev. They were also found guilty of embezzlement. […]
RBC news agency, 10/23/2023, “Ex-members of the Ossetian government received sentences of up to 8 years for embezzlement”: The director of the automobile and tractor equipment plant, Aida Gabaraeva, and the former Minister of Economic Development, Madina Ikaeva, were also involved in the case; they were sentenced to six years of general regime imprisonment and a fine of 400 thousand and 500 thousand rubles. respectively. Former Minister of State Property and Land Relations Kazbek Fidarov and contract manager of the Ministry of State Property of the Republic Zaurbek Tsogoev received six and a half years in a general regime colony and fines of 500 thousand rubles. — Insert K.ru
The longest sentence (eight years), along with the main defendant Sergei Takoev, was received by ex-Minister of Tourism Alan Diambekov. His lawyer Alexander Pliev told Izvestia that he and his client do not agree with the verdict and will appeal it.
“We would only agree with an acquittal.” Any other sentence, in the opinion of my client, is illegal,” the lawyer said.
Sergei Takoev’s lawyer Kristina Yakovleva called the verdict “unfair and overly harsh” and also announced her intention to appeal it. She left the details of the case and the essence of the accusation without comment.
As follows from open sources, the car plant itself is doing poorly today. In September, the Federal Tax Service of North Ossetia filed a claim with the Arbitration Court to declare OJSC OZATE bankrupt. However, for formal reasons, the court left the application without movement.
One of the reasons for this was the lack of property at the plant, which could cover the costs of the bankruptcy case, follows from the court decision (available to Izvestia). The document states that the Federal Tax Service did not attach evidence of the existence of such property to the application.
According to the SPARK database, since 2012 the profitability of the enterprise has been negative, and in 2014 it reached a negative peak.
It is possible that by selling property at an inflated price, the plant was trying to improve its sagging financial position at that time, suggested the head of the law firm “Government Order Placement Center” Alexander Stroganov. Or, on the contrary: the company went bankrupt at that time on purpose so as not to pay off loan debts, he expressed a version.
— There may be a lot of options, but overpricing itself is something difficult to prove. We can’t blame the store for having too expensive oil. Even the FAS, when it initiates cases based on inflated prices, does so not because of the price as such, but because of possible collusion among suppliers. And it is the conspiracy that is being investigated,” the lawyer explained.
According to him, when an expert who is involved in evaluating a contract takes on similar purchases in other regions, the prices may indeed differ. However, this in itself does not mean anything.
— If desired, any government contract can be called overpriced – it doesn’t matter whether it was for the construction of a large facility or for the purchase of paper clips. The only exceptions are contracts with a state-fixed price. However, if the court found the defendants guilty, it means that the defense did not provide a proper refutation. The prosecution’s arguments turned out to be stronger,” the lawyer emphasized.
Similar cases of embezzlement in government procurement are common, but not all usually end up in court. Those where significant political figures are involved have more chances, noted Alexander Stroganov.