The former Minister of the Russian Federation for the Coordination of the Activities of the Open Government Mikhail Abyzov came to the attention of law enforcement agencies in connection with violations of anti-corruption legislation. According to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, for five years - from May 2012 to May 2018, while holding a public office, Abyzov "systematically violated the prohibitions established by laws".
The supervisory authority believes that when he entered the service, the minister concealed information about his real property status. In the submitted documents, he did not talk about at least five offshore companies owned by him and registered in the Republic of Cyprus and about other foreign financial instruments. In his civil service, he avoided including offshore holdings in his mandatory annual declarations for five years.
“Moreover, during the period of his service, he continued to engage in entrepreneurial activity, to extract income from legal entities under his control. At the same time, Abyzov hid his participation in commercial organizations and the funds received from the employer and society”, - the Prosecutor General's Office believes.
To avoid the exposure, Abyzov registered his foreign business structures as dummies. In Moscow and Cyprus, the minister opened shadow offices, which were housed in residential apartments for conspiracy purposes.
The investigation also believes that in 2018 Abyzov, using his official status and the authority of the minister, personally participated in the sale of shares of SIBEKO OJSC. To ensure the security of the transaction, the federal minister personally negotiated with the heads of the banks, whose accounts were to receive money from the sale of the property. As a result of the transaction concluded in Cyprus, 32.5 billion rubles from the sale of SIBEKO shares were transferred to the accounts of foreign companies controlled by the minister. From the point of view of the state, these funds are considered illegal income, which is obtained in violation of the prohibitions and restrictions established by anti-corruption legislation. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, this amount should be fully recovered from Abyzov and the companies under his control to the income of the Russian Federation.
The Prosecutor General's Office sent a claim for 32.5 billion rubles to the Gagarinsky District Court of Moscow.
In March 2019, security officials detained Abyzov on suspicion of organizing a criminal community (part 3 of Art.210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In addition, he was accused of large-scale fraud, illegal entrepreneurial activity (Article 289 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and legalization of criminal proceeds (part 4 of Article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to the court the ex-minister was sent under arrest. His real estate and accounts were also arrested at the request of the investigation.
Abyzov denies his guilt on the charges brought against him. If the ex-minister is proven guilty in court, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Earlier, Mikhail Abyzov was considered one of the richest people in the Russian government, he controlled up to 70 companies, many of which are very large. When his funds were arrested, Mikhail Abyzov's lawyers said that because of this, entire enterprises were left without money, and their employees without salaries, which is fraught with an increase in social tension in several regions.