MOSCOW, August 19 (RAPSI) - The Moscow City Court has extended the period of detention of the former chairperson of the board of Togliattikhimbank Alexander Popov until November 12, the investigator for especially important cases under the chairperson of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Major General of Justice Mikhail Tumanov has told RAPSI.

On May 20, the Investigative Committee issued a decision to charge Popov with bribe giving (Article 291.5 of Russia’s Criminal Code). The investigation established that Popov was involved in the attempted bribe giving to judges of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for more than USD 1.2 million. According to investigators, the severity of Popov's actions does not allow to apply another measure of restraint, since being not in the pre-trial detention center he can put pressure on witnesses and destroy evidence.

On January 24, Tumanov issued a resolution to initiate and accept for proceedings a criminal case against the owner of Togliattikhimbank Popov, the main shareholder of Togliattiazot PJSC Sergey Makhlai, the former head of the ToAZ security service Oleg Antoshin, and other unidentified persons since their actions contain signs of crimes provided for in Article 291.5 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Being the chairperson of the board of Togliattikhimbank (Makhlai is the sole owner of the bank), in October 2015, through his subordinate employees, Popov ensured cashing and then depositing funds in the amount of USD 1,257,569 into a safe deposit box of Togliattikhimbank, opened in the name of intermediaries in giving a bribe, the resolution says.

According to the investigation, Popov, by persuasion and bribery, had intermediaries to transfer an especially large bribe to the judges of the Supreme Court of Russia.

On May 20, the investigator of the Investigative Group of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Vladimir Sleptsov issued an order to charge Popov with bribing judges of the Supreme Court.

In addition, in the end of July, the Second General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of Popov's lawyer against the order to extend the period of detention.

Moreover, along with other persons involved in the criminal case, Popov is accused of organizing and participating in a criminal community (Article 210.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In addition, he is being prosecuted in a case of large-scale fraud (Article 159.4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and dodging taxes on an especially large scale (Article 199.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

In April, within the framework of this case, a former specialist in working with foreign partners of ToAZ, and later the general director of OOO Kontaz (ToAZ's subsidiary) Ksenia Balashova was arrested and sent to a pre-trial detention center. This person admitted her guilt, saying that she acted in accordance with the direct orders of her boss Vladimir Makhlai.

In December 2008, she sold to the Cypriot offshore company Borgat Investments Ltd controlled by Vladimir Makhlai more than 860,000 shares of ToAZ for just one million rubles. According to the investigation, the market value of this stake at the time of the sale was about 577 million rubles. According to investigators, together with OOO Rodnichok, this company dodged taxes for more than 320 million rubles. We can safely assume that more members of this organized criminal group will be arrested, since only about a dozen people are mentioned in this one episode of Popov's "exploits".