A new defendant in the case of an attempted raider seizure of a large Russian IT company Merlion, Denis Nikolaev, was arrested, Izvestia found out. Little is known about him, the source said, but the nature of the charges suggests that he may be one of the main participants in the staged assassination attempt on the former CEO of the company, Vyacheslav Simonenko, in 2015. Nikolaev is charged with falsifying evidence, bringing a knowingly innocent person to justice and unlawful detention. According to investigators, staging an attempt on Simonenko’s life, his partners, in collusion with law enforcement officers, tried to organize a raider takeover of the company, which, among other things, owns Citilink stores. As a result, four co-owners and top managers of Merlion spent about a year in jail on false charges.
The Basmanny Court detained Denis Nikolaev, a defendant in a high-profile case of staging an assassination attempt on the head of a large Russian IT company Merlion, Vyacheslav Simonenko, in 2015, Izvestia found out. According to the source of the publication, Nikolaev is charged with falsifying evidence, bringing a knowingly innocent person to criminal liability and unlawful detention or detention.
Information about the arrest appeared on the website of the court, but the name of the person involved was not fully reported, only the initials. The identity of the arrested person was confirmed to Izvestia by the press service of the Basmanny Court, refusing to disclose other details of the meeting, since it is being considered behind closed doors.
The story of the attempted raider capture of Merlion began in 2020. Then the former CEO of the company came to law enforcement agencies and stated that they tried to kill him. It was about the event of 2015, when Molotov cocktails were thrown into Simonenko’s house near Krasnogorsk. Five years later, he said that he was “ordered” by the co-owners of Merlion Oleg Karchev, Vladislav Mangutov and Alexei Abramov, as well as top manager Boris Levin. Thus, they allegedly wanted to avoid paying Simonenko $4.5 million from the sale of the company’s shares.
A weighty argument for the investigators was the surrender of one of the perpetrators of the assassination, a veteran of hostilities in the Donbass, Grigory Zherenov. He stated that it was the Merlion executives who hired him.
The investigator in this case was Major of Justice, investigator for especially important cases of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexei Nesnov. At his request, all the accused were sent to a pre-trial detention center.
Almost a year later, the investigation into the assassination attempt was suddenly taken to the head office of the Investigative Committee, and the measure of restraint was mitigated for the defendants. Nesnov was extremely dissatisfied with this fact – he even wrote a report to the chairman of the ICR, Alexander Bastrykin, in which he accused the new investigators of corruption and complained about threats.
But by that time, everything had turned upside down in this case. According to the new version of the investigation, the co-owners and top managers of Merlion were not criminals, but victims.
The investigation stated that Vyacheslav Simonenko deliberately slandered the founders of Merlion and there was no assassination attempt. Grigory Zherenov was also arrested – he admitted that he had deceived the investigation by naming Merlion’s top manager Boris Levin as the customer of the assassination. For false denunciation he was sentenced to 2.5 years.
In February 2022, Vyacheslav Symonenko was detained and charged with knowingly giving false testimony, false denunciation and falsification of evidence.
The investigation did not bypass the attention of the investigator Alexei Nesnov. He was charged with falsifying evidence, bringing a knowingly innocent person to criminal liability and unlawful detention or detention. And they put him on the wanted list, because by that time he had managed to leave for the United Arab Emirates.
Judging by the fact that the charges of Nesnov and Denis Nikolaev completely coincide, the investigation considers the new person involved in the case one of the main organizers of the crime, the Izvestia source noted.
The scam failed
In January 2023, the UK presented some details of this case. It turned out that a whole criminal community (OPS), organized by the “criminal” businessman Vitaly Kachur and his son, Kirill, a former employee of the Sledkom, acted against the owners of the Merlion company. Aleksey Nesnov, Vyacheslav Simonenko, senior inspector of the 8th department of the personnel department of the Investigative Committee Alexander Kireev and “other persons” participated in the OPS.
The role of Vyacheslav Symonenko was the simplest – he just had to report the assassination attempt to law enforcement agencies. After the co-owners of Merlion were in custody, the members of the organized criminal group, according to the investigation, began to extort 5 billion rubles each. each of them. For such money they were promised to end the criminal prosecution, but none of the founders agreed.
After the attempt of extortion and raider takeover of the company failed, almost all the suspects managed to escape abroad.
In February 2023, Oleg Karchev, Vladislav Mangutov, Alexei Abramov, and Boris Levin filed a civil lawsuit with the UK as part of a criminal case against Vyacheslav Simonenko. They demand to reimburse 2.2 billion rubles. lost net profit during the investigation, as well as 20 million rubles. for moral damage.
The very scheme of the raider takeover of Merlion outwardly looks like greetings from the 90s, but in fact it is stylistically more similar to the events of the 2000s, when the raiders began to seize companies and enterprises with the help of corrupt representatives of official departments, the criminologist said in an interview with Izvestia, Mikhail Ignatov, a former employee of the organized crime authorities.
– In the 90s there were no complex multi-moves – competitors simply shot back, and the whole business passed into the hands of one person. More thoughtful and legalized schemes involving the same investigators or judges began about ten years later, the expert said.
At the same time, it is unlikely that ordinary investigators, such as Nesnov, Kireev and Kachur, could so brazenly falsify a criminal case without the support of middle managers, Mikhail Ignatov believes.
There is also an explanation for the fact that for a whole year none of the investigators had any idea about the false nature of the criminal case, he believes.
– The higher management believes in their investigators. There are too many cases, you can’t delve into the details of each, only the investigator himself can do this, ”said the forensic specialist.
In legal practice, there are more cases when individual evidence is falsified, lawyer Igor Bushmanov shared his opinion. But for the whole thing to be a fake, it’s more of a precedent that surfaced due to the fame of the company itself and the illegal imprisonment of its founders.
– Previously, when there was a redistribution of spheres of influence, custom-made cases were often initiated. There were many such cases. Most often, they were initiated under the article on fraud, when the testimony of one person is enough to put a person in jail. And the prosecutor’s office did not always respond to this in time, – the lawyer drew attention.
Law enforcement officers rarely involve their colleagues under articles on falsification of evidence. The case of the former investigators is rather an exception to the rule, Igor Bushmanov summed up.