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Kidnappers forced a retired FSB officer to point them to $5 million in hidden cash. While he recovered in a hospital, a court confiscated his house.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has completed its investigation in a criminal case regarding the kidnapping of Alexander Pastushkov, who was formerly the second-in-command at the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Capital Construction Division. The retired major general was tortured until he showed his kidnappers a hidden location where five million dollars in cash was stored in plastic containers. That sum is far greater than Pastushkov’s cumulative official income in his 10 years at the FSB.
A retired FSB major general was beaten and tortured until he revealed a secret stash of millions of dollars.
According to investigators, Pastushkov was kidnapped by two unemployed men — Dagestan native Magomed Gadzhiyev and Rostov native Roman Galushko. The two had received information that the retired officer may have been hiding a large sum of money and began following him as a result. In May of 2018, the kidnappers accosted Pastushkov in Moscow, put him in their car, and took him to the Moscow suburb of Vidnoye, where they had rented a house. There, they began beating the general and torturing him using an electric shocker while demanding that he tell them where the money was hidden. Sources told Kommersant that Pastushkov began talking only after the kidnappers threatened to torture him using a soldering iron.
The kidnappers then drove to the village of Mladenovo in the Odintsovsky district, where Pastushkov, his wife, and his gardener had lived in an elite cottage complex. Gadzhiyev and Galushko dug up land on the general’s property at his own indication and found seven plastic containers. They contained a total of five million dollars in various currencies. The kidnappers then released the general, and doctors subsequently reported his injuries to law enforcement officers. By that time, the Investigative Committee had already responded to Pastushkov’s disappearance by opening a murder case.
Pastushkov denies that the money found in his garden belonged to him.
Gadzhiyev and Galushko were soon arrested. By then, approximately 200 million rubles ($3.16 million) remained in their possession; the rest, according to Kommersant, had been spent on “new cars, restaurants, and women.” The suspects were charged with kidnapping and extortion. At first, Gadzhiyev and Galushko confessed to their crimes, but they later retracted those confessions and currently deny the charges against them. Pastushkov, meanwhile, claims that the kidnappers confused him with one of his wealthy neighbors. He has argued that they did not find any money within the bounds of his property. The retired general’s attorney had previously told Kommersant that his client did not know about the containers full of money that had been found in his garden. “It’s not his money,” the lawyer had insisted.
During the course of the investigation, a story came to light that claimed Pastushkov had shown the kidnappers money that belonged not to him but to his acquaintance Alexander Zagorulko, the former Deputy Chair of the Federal Agency for Special Construction (the agency was dissolved in 2016 following corruption scandals). Zagorulko was later sentenced to eight years in prison in a case concerning embezzlement at military facilities. However, Zagorulko’s representatives told Kommersant that he had nothing to do with the secret store of cash. Regardless of the actual owner’s identity, the newspaper noted that the money will inevitably be added to the Russian government’s income.
While the general recovered from the kidnapping in a hospital, a court confiscated his country home and millions of rubles.
In 2018, rumors of Pastushkov’s income reached beyond the kidnappers: military prosecutors had caught word of possible corruption as well. The general had been a witness in a case against his former boss, Mikhail Fedoseyev, who had been accused of taking bribes along with his former deputy Anatoly Naumov. Homes belonging to Pastushkov and his relatives were searched in that case, and the searches uncovered a safe containing $1.2 million and more than five million rubles ($79,000). Prosecutors then examined the country home registered to Pastushkov’s wife along with the surrounding property and estimated their total value at 36 million rubles ($569,000). The general’s total income in his 10 years of employment at the FSB’s Capital Construction Division was19.7 million rubles ($311,360) while Pastushkov’s wife had a total legal income of 7.5 million rubles ($118,540).
Military prosecutors then sued to confiscate the Pastushkovs’ cottage and the surrounding land as well as the money found in their possession. The general’s attorney noted that the lawsuit was submitted while his client was still in the custody of the kidnappers. After the kidnapping, while Pastushkov was spending several weeks in a hospital, a court ruled in the prosecutors’ favor, finding that Pastushkov had maintained illegal sources of income. The general’s attempt to appeal the ruling was unsuccessful. His real estate is now limited to a three-room apartment in a government building in Moscow, but he has not faced any criminal charges.
Translation by Hilah Kohen
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