Moscow's police-mob-bribery scandal lands its biggest fish yet

Meduza

On Tuesday, federal agents detained Moscow Investigative Committee head Alexander Drymanov, who reportedly submitted his resignation recently. According to the news agency Interfax, Drymanov is finally a suspect in a bribery scandal involving his department, where high-ranking Moscow Investigative Committee officials accepted money from gangsters to facilitate Andrey “The Italian” Kochuikov’s early release and reduce the charges against him.

Kochuikov is a known associate of the mobster Zakhariy “Young Shakro” Kalashov. In March 2018, Kalashov and Kochuikov were sentenced to nine years and 10 months in prison and eight years and 10 months in prison, respectively.

In previous testimonies, some of Drymanov’s subordinates already tied him to the bribes from Kalashov. Denis Nikandrov, Drymanov’s former deputy, says he gave the money to his supervisor. Specifically, Nikandrov says he paid his boss 9,850 euros (about $11,565) “no earlier than May 19, 2016,” as thanks for a promotion and for his general support. In mid-July, Interfax reported that Drymanov had filed for extended leave, followed by his resignation.

In the same scandal, former Colonel Mikhail Maksimenko, who led the Federal Investigative Committee’s Internal Security Directorate, was fined 165 million rubles ($2.6 million) and sentenced to 13 years in prison for accepting a $500,000 bribe. Maksimenko was also stripped of his rank as colonel and banned for life from working again for a state agency. He maintains his innocence.

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 Kalashov, 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.