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Police raid offices of Moscow’s second-biggest mortuary amid corporate feud

Source: RBC

The Moscow police raided the local office of the “Ritual Service” mortuary on October 6 and seized several documents, the firm’s co-owner, Oleg Shelyagov, told the news agency RBC on Wednesday. The officers were from the Moscow Northern Administrative District’s Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Department, Shelyagov says.

According to “Ritual Service” director Denis Marshavin, the police began their preliminary investigation on September 28. “They say they’re operating based on a claim filed by a certain someone received by a certain detective who wrote a certain report,” says Marshavin. “And now the whole economic crimes unit is working this, carrying out raids and seizing records.”

Marshavin told RBC that he suspects the police raid is connected to his company’s feud with “Ritual,” the state-financed funeral home that dominates Moscow’s mortuary industry. He says competition for business at the Botkin Hospital Morgue caused the current corporate conflict.

Oleg Shelyagov has said previously that “Ritual Service” is one of the biggest mortuaries in Moscow — second only to “Ritual.” In 2019, “Ritual Service” reported that it lost 13.5 million rubles ($172,400) despite earning more than 1 billion rubles ($12.8 million) in revenue.

“Ritual” actually owns part of “Ritual Service,” though the public institution isn’t involved in the firm’s management, a source told RBC. Shelyagov says the two entities are competitors. 

Both “Ritual” and “Ritual Service” were at the heart of Meduza’s investigative reports in 2018 and 2019 by Ivan Golunov about corruption in Russia’s mortuary industry.