How Russian Gold Reserve Was Plundered

Investigation of embezzlement of 786 tons of gold lasts for half a year already. Russian Prosecutor’s Office already found the planes, countries and banks where the gold was delivered. The Soviet Union exported large oil supplies, earnings were exchanged for gold and never got back to the country; fourteen billion of dollars still remain unclaimed in Belgium. We know that so-called “shadow flows” at the rate of 20 billion dollars leave the country every year. However, no measures are taken to stop such crimes.

I know lots of detective stories, one of them concerns Russian Duma faction Yabloko. In accordance with the agreement on differentiation of authorities between Russia and the republic of Tatarstan of 1992, enormous oil supplies left Tatarstan. As a repay, 200 computers were sent to Tatarstan, but they never arrived to the republic. Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky preferred to hide for a month because of fear when the computers were stolen. In connection with this case and other facts, I can mention the assassination of Duma deputy Galina Starovoitova. Investigation of the crime is allegedly currently carried out, I also go to interrogations. But in fact, no measures are taken against the officials.

Let’s take Yegor Gaidar. It was he who was the author of the Chechen aviso made on 4 trillion rubles; this money was scattered about the country and sent to Siberia. Gold of the party and partially gold of artels was withdrawn from the country. The artels retained all gold within three years as the country experienced severe inflation, and gold always remained gold. But the gold was taken abroad, away from the country. However, Yegor Gaidar wasn’t brought into criminal account for such actions. Prosecutors are afraid to ask him questions concerning the case.

As for the money, it was used for privatization in the country. Those Supreme Council deputies who knew about the money, Vladimir Golovlev and Lezhnev are dead; Golovlev was assassinated in August this year. Investigator who carried out interrogations concerning gold of the party was killed at the same time.

Large supplies of oil, gold stolen from Magadan, Yakutia, Khabarovsk and silver from Russia’s Far East were withdrawn from the country; high-ranking officials such as Ministers for Internal Affairs Viktor Yerin, Andrey Dunayev, Anatoly Kulikov, Vladimir Rushailo were perfectly aware of the gold outflow. As a result of the criminal activity, 500 tons of gold were withdrawn from Russia, but no measures were taken in connection with the crime.

Finally, proceedings were instituted in connection with the gold withdrawing from the country; the investigation identified names of the pilots who removed the gold and the company involved into the operation. Two Il-76 planes removed gold to Latin America, Australia, Romania, England, Germany in batches of 40 or 15 tons within three years. The investigation already knows the banks and the countries where the gold is; certificates were written out for Belgium’s basic bank, Belgium Credit. Those people who were involved into the crime are already known; VladislavReznik from Unity faction was among them. Yegor Gaidar was also involved into withdrawal of Soviet gold. I am currently member of the Duma commission for corruption, that is why I’m not afraid to mention the facts.

I worked in the council on land reform under vice-president Alexander Rutskoy; being completely unaware of the whole of the situation, I concluded agreements with 88 gold artels of the Russian Federation. I was offered a preferential loan of the Central Bank. I distributed 1 trillion rubles in the prices of 1992 between the gold artels. The gold passed through my accounts. It was at the beginning of 1993, and inflation increased 300 times in 1995. In fact, the gold was laundered through me.

There was also the infamous case “Urozhai”, Vice-premier Gennady Kulik and other officials were involved in the case. The money was once again accumulated on my accounts. I was taken to prison in 1993; and in 1994-1995 the gold was removed from the country to the banks in Romania, England, Latin America. Certificates were written out to the bank Belgium-Credit. Now, I cannot make anyone bring the money back to Russia. Although I managed to prove everything, a special investigation group was created; several witnesses concerned with the gold case and one investigator are already killed. But the group is working on the case; special inquiries were sent to all banks. Some people were shocked when they learnt everything, and some still keep silent.

Everybody understands that a political will and a political order are necessary to bring everything back. But there is no will. And those who organized those gold deliveries are currently high-ranking officials, which certainly means that their names should be concealed.

Money obtained in that criminal gold operations were spent on construction of Moscow’s trading center Okhotny Ryad, of Slavyanskaya Hotel; this money is spent on financing of the Chechen war. The same financial schemes were used for privatization of state property objects.

The government and the Duma legislation committee know about the problem and admit its importance. However, no solutions of the problem are found yet. That is why I offer to pass a law that will probably allow to bring the withdrawn gold back to Russia and punish those who are guilty of the crime. The stolen resources belong to the Russian people. I don’t deny my guilt of the crime, as I compiled documents used for the gold withdrawal. Those who feel brave enough, must support the law I’m speaking about.

Sergey Shashurin Member of the People’s Deputy group and State Duma commission for struggle against corruption

The above mentioned text is the deputy’s speech at the Duma plenary session in November 2002

The legislation suggested by Sergey Shashurin was supported by 207 deputies (226 are required).

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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