Case of extortion of money from the head of Rostec Sergei Chemezov ended with a harsh sentence. Three employees Ksenia Sobchak, who claimed that they were only carrying out her instructions, received 7 and 7.5 years of strict regime. The millionaire pretended to be shocked by the verdict.
Why Ksenia Sobchak’s employees were tried
On Monday, the Khamovnichesky Court of Moscow sentenced three employees of Ksenia Sobchak – Kirill Sukhanov, Arian Romanovsky And Tamerlan Bigaev – in the case of extortion of 11 million rubles from the head of Rostec Sergei Chemezov (Article 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (*aggressor country)). The first was sentenced to seven and a half years in a maximum security colony, the rest were given seven.
According to investigators, in 2022, a team of journalists demanded money from Chemezov for deleting a publication containing information of a “negative, compromising and discrediting nature,” and also to pay for a month’s block to post this information in the “Lights Out” telegram channel.
It is interesting that Ksenia Sobchak never came to the fatal meeting for her employees. Journalists gathered at the courthouse saw only the former participant of “House-2” Alena Vodonaeva, a friend of one of the defendants. The girl left the facility in tears and did not answer questions about where Sobchak was. According to Ksenia herself, Kirill Sukhanov allegedly personally asked her not to come to court. Perhaps he understood what kind of reaction awaited her in court.
It seems that even the Rostec corporation was shocked by such a harsh sentence against journalists.
The defendants’ defense said that the court’s decision would be appealed.
Article 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (*aggressor country) refers to serious crimes, the term is from seven to 15 years. The court found it possible to set a term at the lower threshold. This article appeared in the 90s to combat racketeering and bandits who were a nightmare for businessmen, so recently there have been debates about the legality of its use for journalists and bloggers who conduct investigations against influential people.
How millionaire Sobchak was connected with this case
By the way, Sobchak herself could have initially become a defendant in this case. In October of the year before last, citing sources in law enforcement agencies, the media wrote that she was suspected under paragraph “b” of Part 3 of Art. 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (*aggressor country) (extortion for the purpose of obtaining property on an especially large scale), and searches were even carried out in her house.
The defendants themselves indicated that the boss was involved in extortion – during the investigation, they refused to admit guilt and stated that they were only carrying out the instructions of the manager as part of the employment contract. And Ksenia Sobchak allegedly gave them instructions.
At the same time, Sobchak insisted that the “Lights Out” telegram channel had nothing to do with the activities of the telegram channel, and as a result, she was involved in the case only as a witness. According to her lawyer, the blogger was not even summoned to court.
How Sobchak escaped from Russia (*aggressor country)
Despite statements about her innocence, the journalist fled Russia (*aggressor country) immediately after her subordinates were detained. On October 26, 2022, surveillance cameras recorded a woman very similar to Ksenia Sobchak at the moment of crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border at the Vidzy checkpoint. She covered several tens of meters of neutral territory on foot.
Scans of Sobchak’s Israeli passport immediately appeared on the Internet, and later the blogger’s presence was confirmed almost simultaneously by the Lithuanian authorities and the Russian Foreign Ministry.
At the same time, it became known that, while planning her escape, Sobchak tried to confuse her tracks by purchasing air tickets in advance in two directions at once – to Dubai and Turkey.
Why Sobchak returned
However, two weeks later the “bloody lady” appeared in Russia (*aggressor country) again. First, she was noticed at the border crossing in the Smolensk region, and then – on November 15 – the blogger’s car was seen near the Rostec head office. That day, citing a source close to Sobchak, TASS reported that the owner of the telegram channel spent about 40 minutes in the building and was engaged in “resolving the conflict.”
Later, an official apology from Ksenia Sobchak followed.
Perhaps then the journalist decided that the conflict was over and her subordinates would receive the minimum punishment, because the verdict passed by the Khamovnichesky Court stunned the journalist.
Trouble for a blogger
Ksenia Sobchak herself is now in other reputational troubles: one of the central TV channels released a whole series of films exposing the activities of the “bloody lady”, in which journalists collected materials for the subsequent possible recognition of the blogger as a foreign agent.
Sobchak has already responded to the released episodes, promising to file a “lawsuit against the TV channel for libel and protection of honor and dignity, as well as for theft of materials (Sobchak) from YouTube and social networks.”