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Criminal Case in Which Putin Is Involved Was Regenerated

17.06.2006

Only recently it seemed as if scandalous case of furniture smuggling in the shopping centers "Grand" and "Three Whales" was forgotten or closed. Probably, five suspected also thought that it’s so. At least until the time when inspectors came to take them away and arrested under the decision of the court. Among the arrested - the owner of the furniture centers, businessman Sergey Zuev.

Case number 88013 has been opened by the State Customs committee of Russiaon the 30th of October, 2001 on the fact of evasion from payment of customs payments in the large sizes by the Joint-Stock Company “League Mars" which delivered and sold furniture through a shopping complex “Three whales" and the furniture center “Grand".

Generally there is nothing strange in the revealed infringement. Many dealers of import goods try to decrease the expenses underestimating true cost of the goods. Some are caught and are forced to return to the state the underpaid money. Some escape from punishment for the time.

However, when the customs decided to dig “League Mars" deeper, a number of curious things was revealed. For the first it was found out that the company was founded under the lost passport and its registration was recognized as invalid by the decision of Arbitration court of Moscow city.

A bit later some other companies appeared near to “League" founded under the same passports or under the documents of the dead people. All of them were also engaged in foreign furniture business.

The system worked in such a manner that only that money which was necessary for realization of trading-purchasing operations inside the country came back to Russia. Whether it is necessary to say that the in-Russian financial turnover was on the order below real?

During customs registration of furniture the cost of the goods and their weight were underestimated in times. So, in one of the declarations submitted at the crossing of the border of Russiathe weight of the imported goods the weight which was specified was only 2823 kg. Thus the Italian customs officers answered to our inquiry that in the declaration shown to them the party weighed... 9543 kg. There happened pretty good “shrinkage" of furniture - more than three times!

It was also customary to declare no more than one quarter of imported furniture. Four cabinets were delivered but only one was stated in the documents. All the cabinets are not cheap - from 20 up to 50 thousand dollars!

Only according to the most modest estimates the volume of money hidden from the state was about tens millions dollars. The chain was pulled and... broke.

Exactly in two weeks after excitation of criminal case the State Office of Public Prosecutor with the help of Jury Birjukov requested it back. On November, 28th the State Customs Committee transferred all materials to the Office of Public Prosecutor. In two days the case was closed.

The history of "Grand" and "Three Whales" is closely connected with Jury Schekochihin's strange death who has begun journalistic investigation connected with these companies which became his last reportorial work, unfortunately, not finished.

In the report of listening of telephone conversation (listening was conducted under the decision of Moscow City Court) which took place in one of Saturdays of November, 2000 it is clearly heard that a meeting with president Vladimir Putin was organized to the main hero of "Three Whales" Sergey Zuev.

In the conversation fixed on a tape the loud announcement of the president on one of meetings with representatives of law enforcement bodies to take investigation under the "personal control".

Telephone conversation about a meeting of president Putin and the main hero of “Three Whales” took place in November, 2000.

On the 22nd of November, 2000 the case was hastily taken away to the State Office of Public Prosecutor.

On the 7th of May, 2001 it was stopped due to the absence of corpus delicti.

On the 14th of July, 2001 the State Duma charged Safety Committee to study the reasons of the termination of the case "in view of its high political importance". The deputy Jury Schekochihin took active part in this work.

In February, 2002 the leaders of the State Office of Public Prosecutor was asked to be present on a session of Safety Committee. The Deputy of the Public Prosecutor Kolmogorov came and said that the case was closed soundly. Due to the diligence of the Safety Committee and Jury Schekochihin personally the attempt to forget this story failed. The case received big public resonance.

Schekochihin was threatened by phone, was urged to think of children.

On the 26th of March, 2002 the State Office of Public Prosecutor was compelled to cancel resolution about the termination of the case of "Three Whales". President Putin on one of meetings with representatives of law enforcement bodies to take investigation under the "personal control".

There is also one more essential moment connected with the president. It is important to recollect also strange history with German company "Inter-Dojs" - one of the main characters in the case of "Three Whales". According to the German criminal police and customs data at least 10 million dollars from Peter Berlin's companies have passed through it. Once this person was accused in money-laundering through "Bank of New York". On surprising coincidence of circumstances the first founder of "Inter-Dojs" was Mrs. Olga Anurova. After she worked in the company “Bering Consulting” (which delivers post equipment) which customer is not only administration of president of the Russian Federationbut even Vladimir Putin himself. A certain sum was transferred from his personal pre-election account (on the 2nd of February, 2004, account number 40810810800020005501) to "Bering Consulting". About the founder of "Bering Consulting" - the former employee of Special Services Alexander Romanov - informed people who had with him business relations, recollect as about  the one who studied with the president.

Now it is possible to tell for sure that the case of "Three Whales" has moved from a place in connection with change of the Head of the State Office of Public Prosecutor and appointment of the new Head of customs service. Something has changed at the highest levels and now participation of the nearest environment of the president in business and even mentioning of his own name is no more an obstacle for continuation of investigatory process.

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