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The leadership of Moscow's Investigative Committee is still fighting bribery allegations


The Moscow Investigative Committee’s bribery scandal is back in the headlines. This week, during the trial against Colonel Mikhail Maksimenko, who led the Federal Investigative Committee’s Internal Security Directorate, prosecutors read out testimony by General Denis Nikandrov, the committee’s former deputy director in Moscow, who says he paid a bribe to his direct supervisor, Alexander Drymanov, the head of the Investigative Committee’s Moscow office.

Specifically, Nikandrov says he paid his boss 9,850 euros (about $12,200) “no earlier than May 19, 2016,” as thanks for a promotion and for his general support.

What is this scandal with so many cops’ names?

The bribery scandal that’s engulfed the Moscow Investigative Committee has been developing for months. Denis Nikandrov and Mikhail Maksimenko are charged with taking money from the gangster Zakhariy Kalashov (known as “Young Shakro”) to help free one of his men from pretrial detention. In January 2018, prosecutors read out an indictment against Maksimenko that implicated Moscow Investigative Committee chief Alexander Drymanov in the bribery scheme. Drymanov has denied any knowledge of the allegations.

The money might not have come directly from the mob.

In early February, the news agency Rosbalt published a report claiming that the bribes didn’t come from Young Shakro, but from from two businessmen: Oleg Sheikhametov and Dmitry Smychkovsky. The latter figure reportedly has extensive ties to the investigators involved in releasing Young Shakro’s man, and he may have even attended one of Drymanov’s birthday parties. There’s currently a warrant out for Smychkovsky’s arrest, but he’s hiding in London. The Federal Security Service wants Drymanov investigated, but only Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin can order that, and he’s stonewalled the FSB.