Russian Police Officers Detained for Blackmailing

The ring may be connected with notorious assassinations
An EMERCOM lieutenant-general and six colonels from the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department (MUR) were detained in Moscow; the police seized at least $3 million in cash. According to provisional data, the gang organized over 100 blackmailing, abused their powers, planted drugs and guns on people. Law enforcement officers called the gang "dinosaurs"; they seized control over dozens of Moscow's largest commercial infrastructures. It may happen so that the investigation will unveil connection of the detained police officers with notorious assassinations. According to information obtained in the framework of the investigation, the gang had an illegal weapons workshop; a gun with which Deputy Sergey Yuehnkov was shot was the product of the workshop.

The gang drew attention already in 2000. Last weekend the Interior Ministry direction ordered all officials of the Moscow police investigative department to be at office under the pretext of exercises. That was obligatory so that all members of the gang could be caught in their offices. 400 people from the FSB, the Interior Ministry's security department and the Alfa special group gathered near the building of the investigatory department of Public Prosecutor's Office. Investigators of the Prosecutor's Office commanded the operation; they instituted criminal proceedings in accordance with the clause 210 of the RF Criminal Code providing punishment for organizing gangs. In an hour, dozens of groups left for different districts of Moscow for searches and arrests of the ring members.

Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Lieutenant-General Vladimir Ganeyev was detained first; the man was in his office at the detention moment. Then acting commander of the MUR investigatory department Colonel Yeugeny Taratorin, deputy commander of the police department fighting with illegal weapons circulation (the 5th department) Colonel Vladimir Lysakov and two of his subordinates Igor Ostrovsky and Valery Dyomin were also handcuffed. According to the Vremya Novostei newspaper, officer of the criminal investigation department Nikolai Dyomin and Deputy Commander of the 5th department Yury Samolkin were taken by storm.

A well-informed source in Russia's Interior Ministry informed on Tuesday that all the detainees were kept in Moscow's Lefortovo detention center. At that the source reports that the detainees provide all information necessary for the investigation. However, nothing has been reported yet whether any of them has already admitted the guilt or repents. What is more, this source has refuted the publications in mass media saying that the ring may consist of over 100 werewolf policemen. "According to the investigation, the ring consisted of over ten people. It was strictly conspiratorial which helped the gang to run the criminal activity for a rather long period. If the ring were larger it wouldn't be able to commit crimes for such a long period."

According to Gazeta, the Interior Ministry's security department got first information about the MUR ring two years ago. Businessmen and ordinary people came to the police and said they were blackmailed by police officers. Officers from the 5th department (the one fighting with illegal weapons circulation) often planted drugs and guns on people in a blackmail scheme that generated millions of dollars. People were then charged with holding illegal weapons or drugs; but policemen often offered the people to pay off. However, sometimes policemen ignored bribes and even sent innocent people to prison because they had to fulfill the plan. It sounds incredible but some days before the detention Colonel Samolkin, one of the ring, was recommended for a decoration for his "effective" service. The investigation will have to find out how many of innocent people were imprisoned as a result of the blackmailing of the werewolves wearing police epaulets. The Interior Ministry says that all of them will be rehabilitated.

According to officers of the criminal investigation department, the MUR ring organized over 100 incidents of fabricated evidence. In fact, the figure may be even higher as not all victims of the ring came to police to make complaints about the policemen.

Officers of the Interior Ministry's security department considered the facts and found out that within the past years the ring managed to establish control over large-scale commercial structures of Moscow (well-known restaurants, casinos and entertainment institutions).  In addition, the ring set up a so-called social foundation for social protection of criminal investigation veterans; the organization was used for laundering of illegal money.

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Author`s name Michael Simpson