Former first vice-governor of the Ulyanovsk region Anatoly Ozernov, who was accused of taking a bribe on an especially large scale and embezzlement, was sentenced to five years in a strict regime colony with a fine of 5.5 million rubles. On charges of embezzlement, the court acquitted the ex-official, noting his right to rehabilitation. Anatoly Ozernov did not admit his guilt and stated that he “fell into the millstones of political intrigues.” A year and a half of correctional labor was also received by the former head of the regional manager Pavel Prokofiev. Lawyers insist on the complete innocence of their clients and intend to appeal the verdict. The prosecutor’s office, on the contrary, considers the sentence “sufficiently lenient” and is considering the issue of sending an appeal.
On Thursday, the Leninsky District Court of Ulyanovsk announced the verdict to the former first deputy governor of the Ulyanovsk region Anatoly Ozernov, who was accused of taking a bribe on an especially large scale (part 6 of article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, up to 15 years in prison), as well as embezzlement on a large scale ( part 3 article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, up to six years in prison).
Anatoly Ozernov was considered the most non-public person in the team of Governor Sergei Morozov, he was called the right hand of the head of the region. On April 28, 2021, Acting Governor of the region Aleksey Russkikh dismissed Anatoly Ozernov from his post without explanation.
Anatoly Ozernov was arrested in Moscow in November 2021 on charges of fraud, but then the charge was reclassified as taking a bribe and embezzlement.
As Kommersant was explained in the regional prosecutor’s office, it followed from the indictment that Anatoly Ozernov was recommended by businessman Konstantin Vershinin as a “decisive and flexible” person. According to investigators, the vice-governor presented the businessman at the meeting as a “reliable person” who “should win the auction” for the repair of the situational center.
The In-Service company controlled by Konstantin Vershinin (so the investigation believes, but the entrepreneur is not listed among the participants in the company) won the auction, after which Ozernov allegedly made it clear to Vershinin that he should “thank him”.
Konstantin Vershinin repaired the dacha of Anatoly Ozernov’s father-in-law (for 2.5 million rubles), made and supplied him with a closet for the hallway (120 thousand rubles), put a log cabin for a bathhouse (80 thousand rubles) in the dacha. All this investigation considered a bribe.
In addition, Vershinin, at the request of Ozernov, paid the Public Catering Service OGKU 285 thousand rubles. for holding “an event of the regional authorities”, “which was later compensated for by payment from budgetary funds under fictitious contracts.”
Within the framework of the same criminal case, Pavel Prokofiev, the head of the OGKU “Administration of Affairs of the Ulyanovsk Region”, was accused of embezzlement (part 3 of article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and fraud on a large scale. He, according to investigators, organized the conclusion between the manager and Konstantin Vershinin of a “fictitious state contract for cleaning branches and debris in order to pay for the costs of a certain regional event,” and also, in collusion with Konstantin Vershinin, overestimated the cost of work during the repair of the situational center.
The case of Konstantin Vershinin was separated into a separate proceeding, he was accused of overestimating the cost of work during the repair of the representative office. He admitted his guilt, signed a pre-trial agreement and testified against Anatoly Ozernov (in November 2022 he was sentenced to three years probation).
Neither Anatoly Ozernov nor Pavel Prokofiev pleaded guilty, stating that they had not violated the law. In the last word, the former vice-governor said that he “fell into the millstones of political intrigues.”
In court, the ex-governor of the region Sergei Morozov, who was called as a witness, said that he did not believe that “Ozernov was dishonest” and that he trusted him as a younger brother.
Anatoly Ozernov’s lawyer Alexander Paulov told Kommersant that the court was provided with all the evidence of the innocence of the former vice-governor. According to him, “by definition, there can be no bribe,” since “the log cabin of the bathhouse was delivered in June 2021, when Ozernov was no longer an official,” his wife ordered the wardrobe, the father-in-law repaired the dacha, “moreover, from another company,” “ all documents were presented”, and the statements that the defendant recommended to ensure the winnings of “In-Service” “do not correspond to reality”. In addition, according to him, the prosecution was based on the testimony of witnesses who themselves were convicted of violating the law.
As a result, the court acquitted Anatoly Ozernov on charges of embezzlement, recognizing his right to rehabilitation, but found him guilty of taking a bribe. The former vice-governor was sentenced to five years in a strict regime colony with a fine of 5.5 million rubles, with the confiscation of a wardrobe and a log house, with deprivation of the right to hold positions in government bodies for three years.
The court acquitted Pavel Prokofiev on charges of embezzlement, and reclassified the charge of fraud from Part 4 to Part 2 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, appointing him a year and a half of corrective labor with a deduction of 15% of his salary to the state.
Lawyers for the accused insist on the complete innocence of their clients and promise to appeal the verdict. “We will send an appeal and still use the right to rehabilitation, we will demand money for moral damage, for illegal detention, for the costs associated with protection,” said Alexander Paulov. Pavel Prokofiev’s lawyer Irina Savelyeva is satisfied that the court accepted her evidence of innocence in embezzlement, but regrets that due to the lack of access to a number of documents, it was not possible to prove complete innocence for fraud. “We will seek a full acquittal,” the lawyer added.
The prosecutor’s office of the Ulyanovsk region, which insisted that Anatoly Ozernov be sentenced to ten years in a strict regime colony, and for Pavel Prokofiev – five years of general regime, they consider the punishments “quite light” and, after studying the full text of the verdict, they intend to consider sending an appeal submission.