Criminal charges for ‘second term’ of old rotor
In 2020, Kazanorgsintez’s security staff uncovered a fraud in which former chief mechanic of Organic Product and Process Gas Plant at Kazanorgsintez PJSC Mikhail Darvin, his subordinate Kukushkin and Director of Moscow-based Gas Engineering PLC Vadim Portnyagin were implicated. The group of criminals tried to sell its rotor that had been withdrawn from the operation and stolen beforehand to the Kazan factory. The plotters have already faced criminal charges, though suspended sentences at the moment. However, as the security workers found out, there is likely a well-oiled scheme behind the isolated scheme. This is why there is a high probability that the punishment will be reconsidered.
Sale of old rotor
A story about fraud with an old rotor that was going to be sold to its owner under the guise of a new one logically came to an end. Former chief mechanic of Organic Product and Process Gas Plant at Kazanorgsintez PJSC Mikhail Darvin, his subordinate Kukushkin and Director of Moscow-based Gas Engineering PLC, honourable engineer, Board Co-Chairman of the Association of Compressor Plants, member of the Expert Council for Chemical Mechanical Engineering of the Russian State Duma Vadim Portnyagin attempted to commit the fraud.
As the court ruled, it was Vadim Portnyagin’s idea to illegally earn nearly 8 million rubles from reselling the enterprise its own expensive component. An agreement to supply a new first stage Ingersoll-Rand rotor for the compressor of a nitrogen, air, oxygen shop was signed as early as April 2018 after a tender. Then Director of Gas Engineering PLC Sergey Golovkin signed the agreement at 7,914 million rubles on behalf of the supplier. Consequently, Golovkin was fired, while owner of the enterprise Vadim Portnyagin chaired Gas Engineering PLC.
As the sentence reads, Portnyagin offered Mikhail Darvin to take the “second-hand” rotor from KOS during a personal meeting in Yekaterinburg and discussed the details of the “operation” in a messenger and through intermediaries. After the fraud was complete, the chief mechanic of Organic Product and Process Gas Plant was to receive 400,000 rubles of reward. Darvin agreed and involved the nitrogen shop’s mechanic Mikhail Kukushkin in the operation. For half of the promised sum, Kukushkin secretly took the old rotor from the warehouse one day in January 2020 and transported it outside the territory of the enterprise with the help of a KOS driver. They decided not to tell the driver about the criminal scheme. Then, the rotor was sent to Moscow. After preparing a receipt and an invoice for the “new” rotor for KOS, the old component was packed in a new box so that it would be impossible to look over and sent it back.
Impeded transfer of 8 million
In February, the old “new” rotor arrived in the warehouse. The head of the warehouse obeyed Kukushkin’s instructions, didn’t look it over and fill in a form of incoming inspection and then she handed over the rotor to Darvin. The latter took it to Kukushkin’s office and waited for the money promised by Vadim Portnyagin. Portnyagin promised to pay after the money for the rotor was transferred to the “supplier’s” account according to the invoice.
But the 7,914 million rubles weren’t transferred: the KOS security service impeded the payment from being made. By this moment, the enterprise’s security service had already been conducting its own investigation. The security workers managed to obtain information about the substitution from its own sources. Then, the etching and a highlighter inscription that confirmed that it had already been used in the enterprise were found in the rotor supplied by Gas Engineering PLC. On 18 February 2020, the enterprise submitted a claim and sent information it possessed to law enforcement agencies.
Criminal charges instead of money
With all original information in its hands, the investigation quickly solved the crime. Vadim Portnyagin admitted his guilt of substituting the rotor to supply a new one, Mikhail Darvin admitted his guilt of bribery. Mikhail Kukushin also admitted his guilt of bribery. By the way, the last two men didn’t receive the money. Ultimately, considering all mitigating circumstances — a partial admission of guilt, repentance, the fact that the accused men have families, the court imposed the three men a suspended sentence for an attempted fraud: Portnyagin received 3,5 years, Darvin and Kukishin did 3 each.
At hearings, the accused men tried to seed for justification in the coronavirus pandemic that so conveniently broke out. However, such excuses didn’t have an impact on the judge. Also, Kazanorgsintez’s security service has foundations to suspect facts of such fraudulent turnover of old rotors before the pandemic too. Nowadays, the investigation launched by the Security Service has established that there might be a well-oiled criminal scheme, not an isolated fact. Similar rotors that arrived according to the sentenced Kazanorgsintez workers were found in the enterprise. Corresponding claims were submitted in law enforcement agencies to make a decision on launching other criminal cases.
“The task of the security service is to, first of all, prevention. But in this case fraud that was committed by a group of people in collusion was uncovered. Few of them came to think that in case the rotor went down, not only a manmade accident could have taken place that would lead to damage because of the shutdown of the enterprise. Employees, workers would also have been at risk. Human life is the most valuable thing. Simply greed drove the criminals,” Rostislav Sarkisov, vice director general of economic security and regime at Kazanorgsintez, stressed.
An economic security system that allows uncovering even complex fraud scheme has formed in the enterprise in the last years. Moreover, most crimes are blocked in early stages, and swindlers often have no time to make a profit. Thanks to a combination of different examinations and investigations, the security service manages to uncover old crimes too. Filing a lawsuit and real prison terms are just a matter of time.