Former deputy directors of the enterprise were asked for a term for bribes.
The prosecutor’s office petitioned to sentence Alexander Zhernokov, the former deputy director for development of JSC Nizhny Novgorod Vodokanal, to four years and nine months in a strict regime colony. He was charged with two episodes of receiving bribes from suppliers in 2018-2019 for the then management of the water utility. According to the plot of the case, the accused signed contracts with Unicon ZSK LLC and Tekhnostroy, whose management transferred money to director Nikolai Nikolyuk, who shared it with other members of the alleged criminal group. The defendant says that he was only doing his job, signing documents, and at first did not know anything about kickbacks. The former employee made a deal with the investigation and intends to ask for a punishment that is not related to real imprisonment.
In the Kanavinsky District Court, the debate of the parties began in a criminal case against the former deputy director for development of Nizhny Novgorod Vodokanal JSC Alexander Zhernokov. He was charged with participation in two long episodes of receiving bribes from two contractors of the water utility. The criminal case of Oleksandr Zhernokov has been separated from a high-profile investigation into an alleged criminal community involving several people, including Nikolay Nikolyuk, the former general director of the water utility.
According to the investigation, in 2018-2019, 21 million rubles. Aleksey Yunkevich, a representative of the Moscow Unicon-ZSK LLC, handed over the illegal reward to the corrupt group. His company was a subcontractor for sewer repair contracts. The director of the water utility Nikolay Nikolyuk, according to the materials of the case, repeatedly demanded kickbacks from the merchant for non-termination of contractual relations, extension of contracts and conclusion of new contracts. Alexander Zhernokov was charged with participation in this episode: according to the prosecution, he himself did not take money from the counterparty, but he signed the documents for the deal, for which bribes were transferred to the management of the water utility.
The second criminal episode, the investigation considers the participation of the former deputy in taking bribes from the management of Tekhnostroy LLC, which transferred more than 11 million rubles. According to the prosecution, Alexander Zhernokov, as a signatory, also received his share from this money, about 500 thousand rubles.
In the court debate, the state prosecutor asked to find the defendant guilty of two episodes of taking a bribe by an official and to sentence him to four years and nine months in a strict regime colony with a fine of four times the amount of the bribe and deprivation the right to hold positions in municipal structures for four years.
Alexander Zhernokov and his lawyer told Kommersant-Privolzhye that the defendant, who joined the team of the Nizhny Novgorod Vodokanal in 2018 together with the first deputy Alexander Sidlyarevich from the Volgograd Water Supply Concessions, at first did not know anything about the kickback system. He was just doing his job. Then Alexander Zhernokov decided to plead guilty: he entered into a pre-trial agreement with the prosecutor’s office and testified against other workers of the water utility. The investigation did not include him in the organized criminal community (OPS).
Therefore, the defense, which will speak in the debate on May 17, intends to ask the court for a lighter punishment, not related to real imprisonment.
Recall that the main case of the alleged participants in the OPS is also being considered in the Kanavinsky District Court. The state prosecution considers Muscovites Oleg Lobanov and Ilya Ryzhy (wanted) to be its organizers. The investigation considers the former general director of the water utility Nikolai Nikolyuk to be the head of the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the criminal group, which also included his first deputy Alexander Sidlyarevich, adviser Sergei Bagaev and businessman Artyom Vasilenko. According to the plot of the case, in 2018–2020, participants in the alleged criminal community received a total of more than 41 million rubles. bribes from suppliers and contractors of the water utility.
The amount of kickbacks varied within 10-20% of the amount of contracts with contractors, the money was transferred in cash or transferred through the religious charitable foundations Joy and Consolation and the Society of Friends of the Vatoped Monastery on Mount Athos, as well as controlled organizations in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Neftekamsk and Omsk.
The arrested defendants deny their guilt in taking bribes and stated that no criminal community existed.
Last week, for four and a half years in a strict regime colony with a fine of 23 million rubles. Sergei Bagaev was convicted: he also made a deal with the investigation. In addition, earlier local water utility suppliers were sentenced to suspended sentences for giving bribes: Oksana Bryzgunova, director of Adamant-NN LLC, and businessman Sergei Kryukov from Nizhegorodets JSC.