Accusation of bribery in the amount of over 70 million rubles ($ 930 000) in favour of the enterprise

To maintain confidentiality, the significant information is not disclosed, and certain events have been altered.

The director of the enterprise is suspected of a grand bribe to a public official. The suspect faces a prison term from 8 to 15 years, as well as significant financial penalties.

How we managed to dismantle the evidence of the prosecution and completely exonerate the suspect in 4 years.
Client:

The head of a large equipment manufacturing and supply company, including for the purposes of government agencies.
Situation:

Our client collaborated with a government agency in equipment supply in 2012. Several major deliveries were successfully completed, all the obligations fulfilled.

In mid-2017, one of the government agency's employees, who had professional interactions with the company's staff, was caught accepting a bribe of an especially large amount (5,2 million rubles / $ 69 000), which threatened a prison term from 8 to 15 years.

Our client had no involvement in this case.

For reasons unknown, this public official gave false evidence against our client, specifically regarding the 2012 contracts. This allowed him to strike a deal with the investigation (pretrial cooperation agreement), resulting in a punishment below the lower limit, namely a relatively short period of imprisonment (less than 4 years).

After being caught red-handed accepting a bribe, this public official provided false information about allegedly being bribed by our client 3 times, totaling over 70 million rubles ($ 930 000). Due to these statements, the public official was convicted of receiving a bribe exceeding 80 million rubles ($ 1,1 million) instead of 5,2 million rubles ($ 69 000). Consequently, the company's director became a suspect in the case of a bribery exceeding 70 million rubles ($ 930 000).
Case Circumstances:

During the company's collaboration with the government agency in 2012, the public official acted as the head of one of the agency's departments. He was responsible for verifying equipment prices. According to his words, the company's director allegedly offered him a bribe exceeding 25 million rubles ($ 330 000), as a reward for not reducing the inflated equipment price and signing the contract for the stated amount.

The public official reported that when documents had arrived with a value exceeding 3 billion rubles ($ 40 million) indicated in, he did not lower that price. In other words, he fulfilled his agreement with the company's director.

Approximately 11 months later, a second delivery worth over 5 billion rubles ($66,6 million) was planned. At that time, the public official was already acting as the interim head of the department, and according to his statement, the company's director approached him again, offering a bribe exceeding 45 million rubles ($ 600 000) for not reducing the price. The public official allegedly agreed to this proposal as well.

According to the public official’s version, the bribes were transferred 3 times:
  1. Over 25 million rubles ($ 330 000) in mid-2013 during a personal meeting, which was more than a year after the documents were signed.
  2. Over 20 million rubles ($ 270 000) in mid-2014 during a personal meeting, a year after the first bribe was given.
  3. Over 25 million rubles ($ 330 000) at the beginning of 2015 during a personal meeting.

The public official claimed that from 2012 to 2017, he had had no further contact with the company's director, although they had met several times at various events.

In 2017, the official was caught accepting a bribe exceeding 5,2 million rubles ($ 69 000).
Solution:

In early 2017, the director of the company approached us to conclude a framework agreement for legal assistance. Approximately 8 months later, he was summoned to the Military Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee.

After some time, the evidence against the company's director was provided, and a criminal case was initiated, naming him as a suspect. He was detained for 2 days by the investigative authorities. The initial days after the detention usually are crucial in terms of actions and providing information.
  • The client was informed how to behave during and after the detention. It was important not to say anything that could be used against the suspect. It was also crucial not to enter into an unfavorable deal with the investigation.
  • On the first day, after studying all the circumstances of the case, a defence strategy was developed.
  • The next day, a court hearing was scheduled. We sent a request to urgently provide us with the suspect's characteristics, awards, and other relevant information. Their presentation could influence the judge's decision.
  • The court reviewed the case regarding the suspect's arrest and found no grounds for the detention. The client was released from custody.

Within 2 days, the client was given travel restrictions as a preventive measure. The director's work involved frequent business trips in the interests of the company, and this measure significantly limited his ability to perform his duties related to contract negotiations.

To prove our client's innocence, we needed to discredit a number of statements made by the public official. First and foremost, he claimed that there were 4 meetings:
  1. At the end of 2012, where the public official alleged that our client offered him a bribe.
  2. In mid-2013, allegedly for the transfer of the first bribe exceeding 25 million rubles ($ 330 000).
  3. In mid-2014, allegedly for the transfer of a bribe exceeding 20 million rubles ($ 330 000).
  4. At the beginning of 2015, supposedly for the transfer of the final portion of the bribe exceeding 25 million rubles ($ 330 000) .

Since our client travels extensively throughout Russia for work (over 60% of the working time per year), we gathered all the documentation regarding his business trips. We managed to prove that on none of the days when these alleged meetings had taken place, the company's director had been present at the locations where the bribes had been supposedly handed over.

According to the public official’s words, he received a bribe to ensure that the prices stated in the contracts would not be reduced. However, we conducted a thorough analysis of the relevant documentation and proved that the public official actually lowered the price by nearly 500 million rubles for the first contract.

The public official was subjected to a polygraph test, and the results allegedly confirmed the truth of his statements. The most challenging task for us was to refute the polygraph examiner's conclusion. To achieve this, we took the following measures:
  • confirmation was obtained through reliable sources that the polygraph examiner sometimes provided inaccurate conclusions due to inexperience and weak character;
  • independent and experienced polygraph examiners with academic degrees reviewed the examination and provided reports reflecting significant violations during the polygraph interrogation, leading to incorrect interpretation of the public official's reactions;
  • a special organisation was engaged to evaluate the examination, and their experts demonstrated that the interrogation was conducted with violation of basic principles, with incorrect questioning, and the result could not prove the public official's statements.
Result:

When we successfully discredited the main evidence of the investigation (by the end of 2021), the case which lasted for over 4 years, was dismissed. The suspect was completely exonerated.

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