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Lawyers for an official in the Russian Republic of Daghestan accused of embezzling ₽60 million ($900,000) in state funds have claimed the case against him was fabricated in order to free up his position for someone else.
Daghestan’s Supreme Court upheld the pretrial detention of Magomedrasul Omarov, the director of a local branch of the Federal Highway Administration, Kaspiy, on 2 October.
Omarov was detained on 4 September and remanded in custody for two months five days later.
According to the Daghestani Prosecutor’s Office, large scale fraud at Kaspiy was discovered after an investigation was conducted into the use of budget funds for road construction.
A spokesperson for Daghestan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs told OC Media that Omarov tried to solicit a kickback of ₽680 million ($10 million) from Ruslan Biybolatov, the general director of construction company Nart, in exchange for granting the company a state contract worth ₽2.7 billion ($41 million).
Investigators say Omarov received ₽60 million from Biybolatov.
At a press conference on 2 October, Omarov’s lawyers declared that the criminal case was initiated against him under the pretext of fighting corruption in order to free up his position for someone else.
‘As far as I know, around ₽30 billion ($450 million) was allocated for the republic for road construction’, one of his lawyers told journalists.
‘A certain circle of people is interested in this position, for instance, the head of Khasavyurt District [Dzhambulat Salavov].’
‘And who is he? A person, affiliated with Mr Biybolatov. It seems that someone who has a lot of money could order something like this’.
The lawyers accused investigators of putting pressure on the courts. According to them, based on the evidence submitted to the court, ‘sensible judges would never have decided to imprison Omarov’.
A ₽60 million loan
Omarov’s defence insisted that the ₽60 million in question was a loan from Nart to construction company DSK-2. According to his lawyers, investigators claim DSK-2 is connected to Omarov.
They said there was no evidence to suggest the loan contracts were fictitious.
They also said Biybolatov had been unlawfully recognised as a victim in the case.
According to them, Nart had not complained to law enforcement agencies of damages and had not tried to terminate the loan agreements with DSK-2 through the Court of Arbitration.
They said that when Omarov was detained, DSK-2 had already been repaid ₽6.5 million ($98,000) of the loan from Nart and that repayments were scheduled to continue until December 2019.
They said the ₽60 million was used to purchase an asphalt mixing plant for DSK-2.
They said Nasirula Dzhafarov, the general director of DSK-2, was never questioned by investigators despite their claims he was ‘Omarov’s man’. Dzhafarov died of cancer two weeks ago.
Omarov’s lawyers also countered rumors he had purchased expensive real estate and cars in their family village in Akushinsky District with stolen money. According to them, Omarov’s officially declared income was ₽67 million ($1 million) while his wife earned a similar income, which they said was used to purchase these legally.
They said they had written an appeal to the head of Daghestan, Vladimir Vasilyev, asking im to ‘prompt the investigating authorities to perform their duties in accordance with the law.’
‘Perhaps he is misinformed and information is presented to him in a way that benefits certain officials in law enforcement agencies’, they said.