The third cashier caught stealing millions in a month in Bashkiria

What is the reason for the wave of bank robberies in Russia — the third case of taking money from cash registers of credit institutions in a month

The example of Luiza Khayrullina has turned out to be contagious — another high-profile larceny has taken place in the neighbouring Bashkiria. Another bank cashier decided to escape, appropriating several million rubles. As it has became known to Realnoe Vremya, 39-year-old employee of Otkritie bank Lilia Aznabayeva has been detained on suspicion of “larceny or embezzlement”. According to investigators, she was taking 6,5 million rubles from an office of the credit institution for a month. The woman faces up to ten years in prison. Meanwhile, the case of Aznabaeva has been third crime this month committed by bank employees. Read the details of the “epidemic” of bank thefts in Russia and about its causes in our material.

A shortfall in Otkritie

Another bank theft has taken place in Bashkiria. Employees of one of the financial organizations in Ufa told the police about the shortfall of 6,5 million rubles in the cash office. The loss was revealed during the last scheduled inspection by the security service of the bank, after which the branch management reported to the police. The police have found that a 39-year-old employee of the bank can be involved in the crime. During the last month, according to the investigation, the woman was taking the money from the workplace, and on the eve of the audit, on July 22, stole the amount of 1 million rubles.

According to sources of Realnoe Vremya in law enforcement agencies, the suspect is Lilia Aznabaeva, an inhabitant of Ufa, a cashier at Otkritie bank. The interlocutor of the edition also noted that the crime was committed at the bank office in Kalininsky district in the capital of Bashkiria. According to open sources, at present, only one office of the bank operates there — on Pervomayskaya Street, 66.

Aznabayeva was detained by specialists of the department of economic security and countering corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in Ufa. The criminal case under part 4 of article 160 of the criminal code has been initiated. The woman faces imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of up to one million rubles.

Information about the arrest of the employee on suspicion of embezzlement of money has been confirmed to Realnoe Vremya by the head of the external communications department at Otkritie Bank Yevgeny Pryadko.

“The offence was revealed during the scheduled inspection by the bank's own security service. The materials have been handed over to law enforcement agencies. The investigation is underway. The incident has not affected the interests of clients of the bank,” reported in the brief message of the bank.

Currently, the investigators are following up the lead of involvement in the crime of other people and possible pressure on the cashier — the suspect claims that she was put up to it by a friend. However, during searches of the apartments of Lilia Aznabaeva and her “friend”, the money was not found.

Third theft in a month

Since the beginning of July, the whole Volga Region is vigorously discussing the case of Luiza Khayrullina — the fugitive cashier from the Bashkir city of Salavat, who was taking 23 million rubles from a local office of Rosselkhozbank for several months and was hiding with her husband and two minor children for 38 days. It is known that for some time after she was reported wanted, the whole family was hiding in Salavat and then moved to Kazan, where in a rented apartment on Chykova Street Khayrullina was detained in the evening of July 4 and sent to Ufa.

Now she is being under arrest, the criminal case was initiated under the article “Theft, embezzlement in especially big amount” (part 4 of the article 160 of the criminal code). Her husband, Marat Khayrullin, is on house arrest. Initially, he was as a witness, but after the performances in the show Pust Govoryat (“Let them talk”), the man was detained on suspicion of complicity in the crime. During the show, Khayrullin admitted to having gambling addiction, said that he had lost all the money on sports sweepstakes and forced his wife to steal from the bank. Besides, the man declared fund raising — according to him, he wanted to compensate for the damage caused to the bank and to help the spouse.

The development of the ambiguous story has not ended there: during the second issue of the show Pust Govoryat on 22 July, the mother of Marat Khayrullin said that he incriminated himself under the pressure from the wife’s attorneys hired for their family by businessman Azamat Galin. It is he who, according to Khairullin's mother, pushes her son to take the blame upon himself. In response, in his profile on Facebook, Galin said that he refuses to pay attorneys for Khayrullina, and her husband with such statements just intends to “put his wife behind bars” and avoid responsibility.

On the day of the detention of Khayrullina, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported another theft from a bank in Bashkiria: 41-year-old manager of a Rosgosstrakh Bank office in the village of Priyutovo forged documents and withdrew from the accounts of customers more than 1,5 million rubles. The woman, who spent all the money “for personal needs”, was detained, a criminal case of theft has been initiated (part 3 and part 4 of article 160 of the criminal code), she was released under recognizance. Investigators believe that this may not be the only fact of embezzlement of bank cash, the investigation is ongoing.

In recent time, similar cases have been taking place throughout Russia with unfailing regularity. In Moscow, the police continue to look for an escaped employee of a currency exchange centre. The woman hastily left the workplace with 41 million rubles almost in front of a surprised client who decided to exchange money at the wrong time. At about the same time, according to BBC Russian Service, the 48-year-old realtor from the city of Yekaterinburg, Olga Khoroshun, borrowed about 160 million rubles from 15 friends and fled in an unknown direction.

The search continues for the head of the cash office of an additional office of Bank of Kazan, Svetlana Astafyeva, and her accomplice Yury Spirin, who are accused of substitution of 14 million rubles with the denominations of the “Bank of Tricks”. By the way, Otkritie Bank not for the first time has faced with “tricks” from its employees: in September 2018, after an audit in one of the Kazan offices, it was revealed that the top manager of the department, Oleg Polyakh, with several subordinates “stole” from the cash register the currency worth 230 million rubles. They were detained, but the stolen money was not found, Polyakh is still on the run.

Less hype for fugitives

Most of all, in cases of such crimes, the reaction of the public is striking, experts agree. From the very beginning of the story, the fugitive cashier was sympathized with, after the arrest, the family received public support. The hashtag #begiluiza began to gain popularity in the network, users of social networks massively posted approving comments under the latest news about the Khayrullins family. After the broadcast of Marat Khayrullin on the show Pust Govoryat, the number of empathizers has become even greater. It became known that Bashkir businessman Azamat Galin would support and hire attorneys for the cashier. In many ways, it is the situation of general approval of the actions of ex-employees of the bank that generates a surge in such cases, Deputy Regional Director for Retail at Promsvyazbank JSC Marat Mingaleev believes.

“News about such thefts is very widely covered. The situation of Luiza Khayrullina was covered more from the positive side than negative. I think it contributes to the emergence of new bank employees who want to follow in her footsteps. Again, there is no conviction, and there is even an excuse... I read the arguments about the actions of Khayrullina, and there are more exculpatory things,” stated the expert.

“Initially, one of the motives why I drew attention to the case of Luiza Khayrullina was a huge social support,” Azamat Galin admitted in the interview with Realnoe Vremya. “I asked the question: from where such solidarity of society with people who so desperately steal from banks? I come to the conclusion that the case of Luiza Khayrullina has become the driver of the events of the last days: one also escaped from Bashkiria with 1,5 million rubles, second escaped in Moscow, taking 40 million. Perhaps, they also count on some public support, but I very much doubt that in all other cases it will be present. In general, the trend is frightening. These cashiers running around with millions of rubles all over the country... It becomes a certain roulette: catch — won't catch.”

The second point, which can obviously affect the repetition of such stories, is the lack of control by the special services of banks, emphasizes Marat Mingaleev. Embezzlement by bank's employees is a consequence of violations of the rules that are laid down under the regulations but are not executed properly, since multi-stage inspections at different levels, accounting and audits must be carried out by the bank constantly. This was confirmed by another banking expert.

“Taking a large amount of money from a bank is almost impossible. Large amounts may be in cash registers unless the client requests the withdrawal of money and decide to withdraw a multimillion-dollar deposit. Besides, it is not so easy to take several million, for example, one million banknotes of 1000 rubles weighs about a kilogramme, and it won’t be possible to get out of a bank with a bag, for example, weighing 20 kg unnoticed. It is also impossible to replace banknotes with counterfeit ones or just take money from the cash register, the senior cashier always “stands” over the cashier, the amounts stored in the bank are always checked, so the regulations were violated,” the source shared in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya.

By Olga Golyzhlybina