MOSCOW, September 27 (RAPSI) — Investigation into a criminal case over fraud on an especially large scale (Article 159.4 of the Russian Criminal Code) committed by stealing export products of Togliattiazot in 2012 through 2013 is currently at its final stage and is being prepared for the referral to the Prosecutor General's Office for approval, a source in the investigating authorities has told RAPSI. 

In a similar criminal case over large-scale fraud committed in 2008 through 2011, the Komsomolsk District Court of the city of Togliatti on July 5, 2019, sentenced Vladimir and Sergey Makhlai, as well as Andreas Zivy, to 9 years in prison, their Swiss partner Beat Ruprecht and ex-general director of the plant Yevgeny Korolev - to 8.5 years in prison and fines. They were found guilty of large-scale fraud committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy (Article 159.4 of the Russian Criminal Code). 

The court also granted civil claims brought by ToAz minority shareholder Uralchem, which was recognized as a victim in the case, against a group of 20 individuals and legal entities in the amount of 10.3 billion rubles (about $140 million) in compensation for damages suffered by the company itself as a shareholder of the plant and 77.3 billion rubles (about $1 billion) of compensation for damages suffered by ToAZ itself. Uralchem was appointed as the debt collector both in its own favor and in favor of ToAZ. 

The convicted individuals were arrested in absentia; moreover, their property and a majority interest were seized. 

The abovementioned persons are also involved in this new criminal case. The facts of the theft committed by them are confirmed by final decisions of commercial courts on tax crimes committed within the incriminated period, which are of prejudicial significance. 

As per information provided by investigative authorities, the expert examination carried out as part of the probe confirmed that the damage to Togliattiazot and its minority shareholders caused by the fraudulent actions of the suspects in 2012 through 2013 could amount to more than 53 billion rubles (about $726 million). 

According to experts, it would be logical to expect that within the framework of the new criminal case the victims are to file civil claims for the indicated amount and that there will be respective seizures of properties and assets. Presumably, the defendants in this case could be the beneficiaries of Togliattiazot and their companies. 

Lawyer Konstantin Ganderov, in the event of a conviction, assesses the possibility of satisfying a new civil claim as extremely high, given the existing prejudicial effect.

In general, the amount of damage to Togliattiazot caused by theft by the owners of the enterprise could significantly exceed 100 billion rubles ($1.4 billion). The recovery of the damages is currently being carried out within the framework of enforcement proceedings.