Moscow’s FSB chief says a corrupt lawyer is using illicit court ties to steal money from Putin’s biographer
Alexey Dorofeyev, the head of the Federal Security Service’s Moscow branch, has written a letter to state prosecutors alleging that a handful of Moscow judges and “individual heads” of the Moscow City Court have provided assistance to several illegal business takeovers. The newspaper RBC has obtained an audio recording from a Supreme Court hearing, where the contents of Dorofeyev’s letter were read aloud on September 27.
In his letter, Dorofeyev stated that his subordinates have been assisting a criminal investigation against a lawyer named Kanetmir Karamzin, who is suspected of trying to defraud the writer Oleg Blotsky (the author of a two-volume biography of Vladimir Putin, published in 2001 and 2002).
According to the FSB, Blotsky borrowed $115,000 from Karamzin in June 2007, and later repaid the debt in full. The FSB says the lawyer then forged a similar loan agreement for $200,000, which he used to sue Blotsky successfully in Moscow’s Cheryomushkinsky District Court. In 2017, according to the newspaper Vedomosti, the author was charged with felony libel against the judge who ruled against him.
“Karamzin’s illegal activities were facilitated by his strong ties to Moscow’s city court system,” Dorofeyev argued in his letter to prosecutors. “Karamzin is personally acquainted and on friendly terms with a number of judges and individual leaders of the Moscow City Court.”
Dorofeyev says further evidence of Karamzin’s connections with judges is the Moscow City Court’s decision in 2011 to release him from jail, and his acquittal by the Tushino District Court in a different fraud case. (According to the City Court’s database, Karamzin was acquitted in 2014 of fraudulently acquiring shares in a commercial enterprise.)
Officials repeatedly closed and reopened the fraudulent-loan case against Karamzin, before finally arresting him in April 2019.
“During the investigation of this felony, Karamzin’s connections also repeatedly attempted to interfere in the case. Consequently, as a result of an appeal filed by Karamzin’s defense attorney, Moscow’s Cheryomushkinsky District Court invalidated the criminal case against him on September 11,” says Dorofeyev.
If a higher court upholds the district court’s decision, investigators will have to release Karamzin. Dorofeyev asked the Moscow Regional Prosecutor’s Office to petition the Attorney General’s Office to move the appeal hearing to another jurisdiction.
Deputy Attorney General Yuri Ponomarev later asked the Supreme Court to move the appeal hearing from the Moscow City Court to the Moscow Regional Court. (Dorofeyev’s letter was read aloud at the Supreme Court hearing.)
Translation by Kevin Rothrock