The North Caucasus Federal District Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on Wednesday against Khazret Nirov, head of the Federal Revenue Service of Karachay-Cherkessia. Nirov is suspect of ‘abuse of official powers’ costing the state budget ₽2.2 billion ($33 million).
The case was initiated after an audit by the Prosecutor General’s Office allegedly revealed that the revenue service had declined to confiscate property from enterprises that had evaded taxes and did not appeal against court decisions misidentifying the assets of those enterprises.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office stated that ‘as a result of the inaction of the tax authority (...) tax debts were annulated to bankrupt enterprises, which cost a considerable sum to the budget system of the Russian Federation’.
They said that the lack of response to these violations by the local revenue service contributed to an increase in the number of violations.
‘Continuation of a conflict’
A source in the mayor's office in Cherkessk, the capital of Karachay-Cherkessia, told OC Media that the initiation of a case against Nirov could be a continuation of a conflict between Karachay-Cherkessia’s head, Rashid Temrezov, and Khazret Nirov. According to him, local TV channel Arziz 24 shot a story in which Temrezov chastises Nirov at a working meeting.
The same source suggested the case could be the next stage in a North Caucasus wide anti-corruption campaign, which began several months ago in Daghestan. ‘It’s possible that on the wave of this campaign, Rashid Temrezov wants to put his people in key positions in the revenue service’, he added.
According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, the Nirov case may be related to revenue inspections of companies in Karachay-Cherkessia managed by friends and relatives of Temrezov, as these enterprises have regularly won tenders for major state orders.
In 2010, a number of employees of Karachay-Cherkessia’s Revenue Service were charged with the theft of ₽119 million ($1.8 million) under the guise of returning VAT to two enterprises in Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia. These enterprises belonged to Vyacheslav Derev, a former member of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, from Karachay-Cherkessia, who has been under investigation since March.
In 2015, Nirov, then deputy head of the Revenu Service, became a figurant in a money laundering case involving a company registered in Karachay-Cherkessia. During the investigation, Nirov went from being a suspect to a witness in the case.