The preliminary investigation into the criminal case of the theft of money from several dozen investors of the bankrupt Moscow LLC “Financial Broker” is nearing completion, but the Main Investigative Directorate of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for Moscow has done everything to avoid holding the beneficiaries of the financial pyramid accountable. In the final version, charges of participation in a criminal community (Part 2 of Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and fraud on an especially large scale (Part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) were brought against 16 ordinary employees of the company, 14 of whom were female managers of the company, those who officially worked under an employment contract and received a white salary. Some of the accused spent several months in custody and house arrest. Many have young and minor children and are single mothers; one is a mother of many children. None of them had previously been prosecuted. Details at Rucriminal.info.
The beneficiaries were allowed to escape
One of the girls, Maria Grishnina, came under investigation in September 2021. In the final version, the Main Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Moscow charged her with 13 episodes of particularly large-scale fraud as part of an organized criminal group. She worked at the Financial Broker from 2016 to 2018 and, like most of her colleagues, quit due to increasing cases of salary delays, large debts and cessation of payments to clients. All 14 former employees of the Financial Broker, including Grishnina, belonged to the rank and file, performed only technical work on paperwork and, due to their job responsibilities, could not know about the investment and other financial and economic activities of Financial Broker LLC and mislead clients on this matter.
The founder of Financial Broker LLC and, according to investigators, the main beneficiary of this activity, Alexander Dribenets, together with the director of the company, Alexey Mustafin, have been put on the wanted list. Moreover, the leadership role of Dribents was known back in 2017 during the verification of the rejected material according to the letter of the Main Directorate of the Bank of Russia for the Central Federal District in relation to Financial Broker LLC. A criminal case on financial fraud was opened in August 2018, and Dribenets and Mustafin were put on the wanted list only in June 2019. Moreover, Mustafin was formally interrogated as a suspect, and a recognizance order was applied to him, and many of the 16 accused, who were his subordinates, were detained during the investigation, and more severe preventive measures were applied to them. Dribenets was never questioned during the investigation in any procedural status.
An investigator from the Main Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in Moscow applied to the Tverskoy District Court of the capital with a petition to take Dribents and Mustafin into custody only three years after the initiation of the criminal case. In July 2021, the court arrested both in absentia. One gets the complete impression that the investigation, for some reason, perhaps due to unprofessionalism, and perhaps out of direct intent, made it possible for Dribents and Mustafin to escape with the lenders’ money, since all the interrogated witnesses testified that the cash deposited at the cash desk was taken away by the collectors personally to Dribents. The remaining senior employees of the Financial Broker were illegally, unreasonably and artificially removed from criminal liability and surprisingly turned out to be witnesses in the case.
It is obvious that ordinary employees of the “Financial Broker” were brought to criminal liability artificially, in order to increase the statistics of particularly serious crimes solved, criminal cases initiated and sent to court, and also to hold them responsible for possible thefts committed by their managers, who are subject to criminal liability not involved.
None of the statements of the investigation in the criminal case materials are supported by evidence; the materials are replete with unfounded assumptions and assumptions. Here are a few examples from the investigator’s decisions on implicating him as an accused:
1. “Dribenets A.E., in a place not established by the investigation, acting with the aim of committing serious crimes, at a time not established by the investigation, but no later than 06/23/2015, created a criminal community (criminal organization).”
This statement is not supported by any evidence in the case: neither by the testimony of the accused, victims and witnesses, nor by documents, nor by other evidence. Dribenets himself was never questioned in the case at any procedural status.
2. “Dribenets A.E., acting in order to veil criminal activity and give it a legal appearance, no later than June 23, 2015, found Financial Broker LLC, whose details were used by members of the organized criminal community to carry out illegal activities.”
The “financial broker” existed before May 23, 2015 and officially carried out the same activities within the framework of the current legislation, which were no different from the activities of similar organizations in the financial sector. As of November 21, 2017, the company’s register of lenders included 161 individuals. Since the company continued to operate until the end of 2018, it is obvious that after this date the number of lenders increased significantly, and the register also does not include individuals who ended their legal relationship with the “Financial Broker” before compiling this register at the request of law enforcement agencies. There are 60 victims in the criminal case. Consequently, the vast majority of individuals who were lenders to the Financial Broker have no financial claims against the latter, since the LLC fulfilled all obligations to them. The claims of persons recognized as victims in the case are no different from ordinary claims of citizens against a legal entity that has not fulfilled its financial obligations to them due to objective reasons, for example, deterioration of the economic situation. These disputes relate to civil law and are resolved in civil courts. Otherwise, any failure to fulfill financial obligations between an organization and a citizen can be considered fraud, and all employees of the debtor organization can be called members of a criminal community.
3. “Distribution of criminal income between members of the criminal community.”
There is no evidence of “distribution of criminal proceeds among members of the criminal community” in the case. From the testimony of all the interrogated managers, both accused and witnesses, it follows that the clients’ money was handed over to the cashier according to a receipt order and the managers had nothing to do with their collection and further movement.
The principle of prejudice was violated during the investigation of a criminal case. In 2018-2019, the Khamovnichesky Court of Moscow satisfied the claims of 32 victims in the case against Financial Broker LLC for the collection of debt under loan agreements and additional agreements. These are, for example, victims Aleshina E.V., Baranova T.I., Berlova T.V., Vasilyuk S.N. and others. From the court decisions that have entered into legal force, it follows that the legal relationship between the lenders and the “Financial Broker” is civil. However, a criminal case is initiated in relation to the same legal relations that have already been recognized as civil ones. What adds to the absurdity of the situation is that all of these victims are recognized as civil plaintiffs in the criminal case, that is, they receive the right to claims that were already satisfied several years ago. There is no information about the decisions of the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow on these claims in the materials of the criminal case.
Also, the Main Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Moscow, in gross violations of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Regulations on the Uniform Procedure for Registration of Criminal Cases and Recording of Crimes, registered crimes allegedly discovered during the investigation. For various episodes involving the majority of victims, a decision was made to separate the materials of the criminal case into separate proceedings. These are, for example, victims N. I. Nezlobina, A. F. Yarovoy, Z. V. Zhivoglyadova and many others. The resolution stated that “during the investigation it was established that Dribenets A.E. and persons unidentified by the investigation, acting on behalf of Financial Broker LLC, committed the theft of the victim’s funds by deception.” Based on these materials, a new criminal case was immediately initiated, which was immediately added back to the case from which it was separated as material! Such actions within the framework of one case artificially produced many “solved crimes,” which is necessary to improve statistical reporting to operational officers, and many criminal cases initiated, which is necessary to improve statistical reporting to investigative officers.
These actions grossly violated Art. 155 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, part 1, which states: “If during the preliminary investigation it becomes known that other persons have committed a crime that is not related to the crime under investigation, the investigator or interrogator makes a decision on the release of materials containing information about a new crime.” At the same time, Dribenets at that time was already involved in a criminal case as an accused in the same case and was put on the wanted list and was not “another person.” The decisions on the allocation of criminal case materials do not indicate which sheets of the case were allocated and in what quantity, since no materials were actually allocated.
This is only a small part of the blatant violations that were committed by the Main Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Moscow during the investigation of the criminal case. Will the prosecutor, under such circumstances, approve the indictment in the case?
Unfortunately, this is not the first story in which the investigation is trying to portray ordinary employees as extreme in financial fraud. On June 22, Rucriminal.info told how a group of citizens from the Vladimir region, most of whom are women with small children and disabled children, face fantastic sentences for banal “cash out.” 26 women with a salary of 12 thousand rubles were charged with participation in an organized crime group.