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FSB colonel who worked for the Kremlin is sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for large-scale fraud

Source: Kommersant

Russia’s 235th Garrison Military Court has convicted FSB Colonel and former Kremlin official Mikhail Gorbatov of large-scale fraud, and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison, according to the newspaper Kommersant. Gorbatov was also fined 250,000 rubles (almost $4,000) and prohibited from holding state office for two years.

Gorbatov, who served in the FSB’s Department “K” (which polices Russia’s banking sector) and once headed the presidential administration’s Civil Rights Department, was arrested in October 2018. Together with a businessman named Arno Khodzhoyan and a former FSB agent named Vladimir Korobkov, Gorbatov defrauded the owner of a Moscow pawnshop chain, offering to sell back property seized by the police for $100,000. The property was eventually returned, but only due to standard procedures.

Gorbatov and his accomplices later tried to extort $300,000 from the same pawnshop owner, offering to “neutralize” a supposed “terrorist financing” investigation by the FSB into his commercial activity. This is when the victim reported Gorbatov to the police.

All suspects confessed to the charges. Khodzhoyan was sentenced to five years in prison. Korobkov was initially transferred to house arrest after cooperating with investigators, but he was later returned to jail.

According to Kommersant, Gorbatov provided compromising information about his FSB colleagues to investigators, which led to the arrest of Kirill Cherkalin, the head of the FSB’s Department “K,” on charges of accepting $850,000 in bribes and causing 490 million rubles ($7.7 million) in fraud damages. Police also arrested former FSB agents Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasilyev in the same case. When police searched their homes, they seized a record 12 billion rubles ($188.9 million).