MOSCOW, September 16 (RAPSI) – Investigators in the case of Dmitriy Zakharchenko, a senior anticorruption officer at the Russian Interior Ministry charged with bribery, turned to the US Federal Reserve System seeking assistance in finding out the origins of a 130 million trove of US dollar banknotes seized in his apartment, Kommersant newspaper reports on Friday.
According to Kommersant, some of the discovered banknotes were still packed in their original bill-strap paper bearing seals of US FRS banks.
Having seized the money, investigators requested FRS assistance asking to provide information about Russian banks which ordered the delivery of the banknotes in an effort to find out how this pile of money landed in Zakharchenko’s apartment.
An undisclosed source from law enforcement community told Kommersant about a new line investigation is currently pursuing on suspicion that the money could be kickbacks to top managers of Russian oil and natural gas companies, since Zakharchenko was temporarily in charge of the Interior Ministry’s anticorruption unit responsible for keeping an eye on this sector of the national economy.
The newspaper's source noted that officers under Zakharchenko took strong interest in awards of contracts for construction of pipelines, replacement and repairs of pumping equipment, construction of settlements and roads.
Price tags for such projects make millions of dollars, whereas kickbacks in the oil industry may be as high as 30 per cent of the total costs, Kommersant notes.
Investigators believe that Zakharchenko and his subordinates could follow such sketchy deals to take over at the moment money changed hands and demand a share in return for promises of no prosecution.
According to Vladimir Markin, the Russian Interior Ministry’s official spokesman, Zakharchenko is suspected of obtaining 8.5 billion rubles ($130 million) by criminal means.
As yet, Zakharchenko has been officially charged with abuse of office, hindering the conduct of preliminary investigation and large-scale bribery.
Last Saturday the Presnensky District Court of Moscow detained Zakharchenko until November 8 as a part of a large corruption case. Zakharchenko’s lawyers appealed against this ruling. The officer denies any connection to the seized funds.