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    Aleksey Pichugin Case Presented | 26 Jun 2003


    On the 26th of June within Criminal Case 18/325507-04 YuKOS employee Aleksey Pichugin was accused by the Procuracy General of the Russian Federation of the following crimes:


    the organization of the murders of two persons committed by a group of persons according to preliminary criminal conspiracy with a mercenary motive or being hired aimed at concealment of another crime (Part 3, Clause 33, Points «», «», «», «», Part 2, Clause 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF);


    the organization of the attempt of the murder of the person known to the guilty to be in the state of helplessness by a group of persons according to preliminary criminal conspiracy (Part 3, Clause 30, Part 3, Clause 33, Points «», «», «», Part 2, Clause 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF);


    the organization of the attempt of the murder of the person or his relatives in connection with his official duties by a group of persons according to preliminary criminal conspiracy committed in a hazardous for the society way (Part 3, Clause 30, Part 3, Clause 33, Points «», «», «», «», Part 2, Clause 105 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF);


    the threat of murder or serious health injury, if there were grounds for realization of the threat Clause 119 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the RF).
     
    Organization of Murders of Sergey and Olga the Gorins
     
    The first charge presented to Aleksey Pichugin was the organization of the murders of the Gorins. According to the story of the Russian Procuracy General [n November 2002 in Tambov Aleksey Pichugin organized kidnapping and the murder of Sergey Gorin, the businessman and his wife Olga. The motive was explained as follows. Gorin as if blackmailed Aleksey Pichugin. He threatened that he would inform the law-enforcement agency of the crimes committed as combined actions of Pichugin and Gorin.


    The Gorins cottage suffered an assault. On penetrating into the house, armed criminals locked three minor children of the Gorins in the bathroom. Then they took the Gorins outdoor. At first the Tambov Procurators Office initiated proceedings on the clause of „Kidnapping“. Moreover it was supposed that Sergey Gorin was assaulted by on of the client of the fund of „Algorithm“. Sergey Gorin was its head. (The fund had become a bankrupt concurrently with the MMM and „The Russian House of Selenga“ and its debts were considerable).


    However some time later the Russian Procuracy General took the case away from the Tambov regional Procurators Office. Blood traces were found in the garage by the house. The nature of the crime was re-determined as „murder“. At the same time mass media informed that Aleksey Pichugin had been arrested as a suspect in the organization of the murder.


    The disappearance of the Gorins in November 2002 is an undoubted fact. The fact that perpetrators and moreover — the Gorins bodies (if they were really killed) have not been found yet is undoubted too.


    In fact the situation is paradoxical. There are no victims, there are no perpetrators. But there is a person who as if has organized this crime.


    At one of interrogations Pichugin was injected with psychotropic drugs and the FSB officials were actually forcing him to testify against the leading YuKOS executives. As Pichugin had refused to testify against the YuKOSs top people the new charges were presented to him, such as the organization of the attempt of the murder of Chief of Administrative Division of „Rosprom“ Sergey Kolesov; the organization of the attempt of the murder of Olga Kostina, the former employee of the bank of „Menatep“; and the threat of murder of Vice Director of «Kiber-Klub“ Ltd., Sergey Lobikov.
     
    Accusation of Organization of Attempt of Murder of Sergey Kolesov
     
    The outcome of the investigation was as follows: „In the summer period of 1998 in an unidentified place A.V.Pichugin joined a criminal conspiracy of unidentified persons from the top management of the YuKOS oil company aimed at deprivation of life of Kolesov, whose career was in contradiction with their personal business interests“.


    Pichugin suggested his acquaintance Sergey Gorin living in Tambov to find perpetrators for this crime. For this purpose he gave Gorin a photo of Kolesov, his address in Moscow and $5000 as a fee.


    According to the version of the investigation Gorin offered his acquaintance Aleksey Peshkun to take part in this crime. In his turn he hired a gang of Igor Korovnikov, well-known in Tambov. But afterwards Korovnikov refused to commit the crime and Gorin and Peshkun hired some other persons, who attacked Kolesov on the 5th of October 1998.


    It is a fact that Victor Kolesov was really attacked that day. In the evening on his way home the attacking persons took his watch and a sum of money of $2000. In 1998 just after the incident a law-enforcement agency determined the nature of the crime as „a robbery with violence that caused damage of the health“.


    Five years later, when the „YuKOS case“ started up the attack was re-determined as an attempt of the murder and the YuKOS employee Aleksey Pichugin was considered as an accused. During the hearing injured Kolesov told the Prosecution himself that the attack was quite different from the attempt of the murder. He called the version of the investigation concerning the persons involved and reasons of the attempt of his murder „just an assumption“.


    The motive of the attempt to murder Kolesov as if organized by Pichugin seemed quite unconvincing too. It is not clear how „Kolesovs career in business“ could be in contradiction with Pichugins interests. They were working in different companies and their professional interests had nothing in common.
     
    Accusation of Organization of Attempt of Murder of Olga Kostina
     
    As to this charge the investigation had stated as follows. „In the summer period of 1998 A.V.Pichugin joined a criminal conspiracy of unidentified persons from the top management of the YuKOS oil company, who were not satisfied with the actions of O.N.Kostina, the Head of the Department of Public Relations of Moscow City Administration. They thought that her activity caused damage of the YuKOSs interests. It resulted in the organization of her murder.“


    According to the version of the investigation Pichugin suggested Gorin to find perpetrators for this crime and gave Gorin a photo of Kostina, her address in Moscow and $5000 as a fee for the crime.Gorin applied to Peshkun. Peshkun hired a gang of Korovnikov. In the opinion of the investigation his time the gang agree to fulfill „the order“


    According to the version of the investigation Korovnikov manufactured a self=made explosive and activated it on the 28th of October 1998 at the door on the floor where Kostinas parents lived. The explosive was blown up at two oclock at night. It was not powerful.


    As a matter of fact of the explosion on the floor of Kostinas parents there is a sentence passed by the Tambov Regional Court in 2000. Besides 8 murders, 5 rapes and attempts of the murder of two minor children committed by the gang it includes the episode of the explosion at the door of Kostinas parents. It was the sentence that imposed punishment of life imprisonment on Korovnikov and of long imprisonment in the strict regime colonies with the confiscation of the property on the other members of his gang.


    But as to the explosion the gang of Korovnikov was found guilty in „manufacturing and keeping self-made explosives causing damage of anothers property“. The sentence read that „the intent of the attempt of the murder of Kostina had not been revealed“.


    The judgment of the Tambov Regional Court noted that the place, time and nature of the explosion could not cause damage to anybody. Moreover the Tambov Regional Court stated that the criminals „only wanted to frighten Kostina“.


    It is also noteworthy that the testimony of injured Olga Kostina concerning the probable causes of the explosion had been changing. Some time after the explosion Kostina made a statement that that she clashed with the officials of the City Administration in particular with Moscow Mayors Press-Secretary Sergey Tzoy. This information was being widely discussed by mass media at that period. In the spring of 2003 Kostina learned of the probable involvement of Pichugin in the case of the explosion from examining magistrates. After it Kostina started to make public statements on the probable involvement of one of the most influential shareholder of the YuKOS company Leonid Nevzlin to the attempt of her murder. However she did not give any evidence to confirm her assumptions.


    The only ground used by the investigation for the accusation of Aleksey Pichugin is the testimony of the said Korovnikov. Suddenly after five years from the date of the explosion and just after the visit of the FSB officials to the colony of special regime Korovnikov had remembered it was Sergey Gorin who ordered the explosion to him. Moreover at the interrogations in Lefortovo Korovnikov remembered all the little details of the events five years before. He remembered the people he met, the questions they discussed, the numbers of the cars and the flats, the time of the meetings and etc.


    Taking into consideration Korovnikovs personality and the fact that it was impossible to check whether Gorin told Korovnikov anything about Kostina the evidences of the involvement of Pichugin in the attempt of the murder of Kostina or in the preparation of the explosion on her parents floor seemed incompetent. The investigation does not have any other evidences of the involvement of Pichugin in the case of explosion.
     
    Accusation of threat of murder of Sergey Lobikov
     
    As to this charge the investigation had stated as follows. „Pichugin threatened Vice Director of „Kiber-Klub“ Ltd., S.Yu.Lobikov with the murder or serious health injury if there were grounds for realization of the threat. He frightened him to force the victim to change the lease on the terms profitable for the Moscow Palace of the Youth. He hit the locked door to the premises leased by „Kiber-Klub“ Ltd., with his hands and feet a few times. When Lobikov arrived at the place he threatened him with the murder or serious health injury“.


    The investigation does not explain the main problems in the briefs in litigation: what did Pichugin have in common with the interactions of the Moscow Palace of the Youth and „Kiber-Klub“ Ltd., and why did Pichugin want to influence the rate of the rent or other terms of the lease of „Kiber-Klub“ Ltd where Lobikov was working?


    Pichugin is neither a shareholder nor an employee of the Moscow Palace of the Youth. Thus he did not have any reasons to defend the interests of one of the party and moreover to threaten anybody with the murder.


    Like in the other episodes of this criminal case it is noteworthy that Pichugin was charged with this episode a year and a half after the so-called fact of the threat. The accusation was not presented in March 2002. It was presented just on time — as soon as the „YuKOS case“ started up  in the summer of 2003.


    During the trail this episode was excluded from the accusation presented to Aleksey Pichugin because of the absence of crime in the act.



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