Searches in “Mikhailov and partners” associated with charges of embezzlement from the budget

Raided in early February took place in the communicative Agency “Mikhailov and partners”, are connected with business about plunder of budgetary funds, writes the newspaper “Vedomosti”, the disposal of which was a letter from Deputy Prosecutor General Yuri Gulyagin addressed to the Minister for Far East development Alexander Galushka in April 2015. The authenticity of the letter confirmed the publication of a Federal official. About communication of searches at the Agency with the case of embezzlement of “Vedomosti” said one of the employees of “Mikhailov and partners”. According to him, during the search was seized documentation relating to this agreement, she is now returned to the company. Officially, the Agency did not comment on this information.

A source familiar with the investigation previously told me that claims against the Agency related to contracts of development of the Far East.

From the document, appeared at the disposal of “Vedomosti”, in the February 2015 criminal case “on the fact of theft by deception of budgetary funds in especially large size by the conclusion of fictitious contracts” between the communication Agency “Mikhailov and partners” and state Corporation of development of Primorsky territory (“Our home — Primorye”). The letter stated that this agreement was concluded between “Our home — Primorye” and “Mikhailov & partners” in April 2013 following the contest.

Under the terms of the contract, the Agency had to provide services for the project “Development and implementation of communication tools for positioning “Our home — Primorye” in the information field”, including to conduct a website audit, to develop recommendations for its maintenance and to conduct a series of media training sessions on socio-economic development of Primorsky Krai. The initial price of the Agency’s services was 3.56 million rubles — the contract stipulates that its value can be changed only in exceptional cases and not more than 30%. But later the company entered into two additional agreements that increased the cost of the contract three times to 10,69 million rubles. “Our house — Primorye” has paid this sum at the expense of budgetary funds that were supposed to be spent on the construction of infrastructure gambling zone “Primorye”. In the letter, this fact is indicated as a violation of budgetary discipline. The price of services of the Agency were too high — on average, these services at the market of Primorsky Krai are worth 2.4 million rubles, according to experts “the Khabarovsk laboratories and independent forensic examination”. In addition, the paid services have been performed formally, the letter said.

The source of “Vedomosti” in “Mikhailov and partners” said that during the execution of the contract the customer has asked to increase the volume of work and the cost has been increased proportionally in accordance with the Russian legislation. According to the interlocutor of the edition in the Agency, the fact of initiation of criminal proceedings have significantly impeded “Mikhailov and partners” access to new tenders in the Primorsky Krai and the far East.

The representative of the Governor of Primorsky Krai Vladimir Miklushevsky declined to comment to the publication. The interior Ministry, the Prosecutor General’s office and the Office of the Prosecutor General in the far Eastern Federal district has not responded to the requests of “Vedomosti”.

Searches in the office of “Mikhailov & partners” took place on 5 February, when the militiamen came to search in the Agency TASS. Acting head of Department of information and public relations of the MIA of Russia Marina Molokova said that investigative actions in TASS was conducted by the investigative Department of the Ministry of interior in relation to one of ordinary employees and have no relation to the work of the Agency. A source close to the “Mikhailov and partners”, reported that the speech can go about the ordinary employee of Department of strategic planning, who moved to TASS Agency about one and a half years ago.

The newspaper “Vedomosti” with reference to the source TASS reported that the searches were also held in the office of the Deputy chief financial officer of Yulia Stepanova, who has previously worked in TASS.

The source of the Agency “Rosbalt” reported that the searches in TASS and “Mikhailov and partners” may be associated with the investigation about the inflated cost of the PR campaign of JSC “RZD”. A source close to the presidential administration, said that the searches related to checks in relation to Railways. However, he added that these checks do not relate to the work of Sergei Mikhailov, a former staff of the Agency “Mikhailov and partners”, is now working in TASS.

A source close to the Agency “Mikhailov and partners”, denied that the searches the Agency related to checks in relation to the Railways — according to him, “Mikhailov and partners” never had contracts with this structure. The interlocutor explained that the searches are associated with one of old clients of the Agency with which the “Mikhailov and partners” does not work for two years. To call this client, he refused.