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FSB - Working With Organized Crime

Yevgeny Dvoskin's Genbank enjoyed protection from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and was reputedly heavily involved in funneling illicit cash to state officials and state corporations. Dvoskin himself had been deported from the United States for tax fraud in 2001. After Russia's annexation of Crimea, Genbank expanded to open 175 branches there, becoming the second-biggest bank on the peninsula, which Western sanctions had effectively cut off from the global financial infrastructure.

Despite some unsuccessful efforts by Russia's Central Bank to block Genbank's activities in Crimea over past criminal ties, Dvoskin's outfit benefited from the Russian government's bid to develop the peninsula via smaller banks with shady pasts. The question remained as to what extent these two developments -- the abandonment of the Central Bank's efforts to block Genbank and the government's facilitation of such banks' expansion in Crimea -- were owed to Genbank's FSB protection. Money laundering, FSB protection, and a share of the action in Crimea point to a web of tradeoffs that muddied the question of who, exactly, was the client and who is the patron.

Russia's main intelligence service raided its main law-enforcement agency and arrested some of its top officials for ties to organized crime. On 19 July 2016 a Moscow court issued arrest warrants for three high-ranking Investigative Committee officials who were suspected of corruption. The officials were detained in connection with a bribery case, in which they allegedly patronized a criminal lord. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) requested the arrests of the first deputy chief of Moscow's Investigative Committee, Denis Nikandrov, the head of internal affairs of Russia's Investigative Committee, Mikhail Maksimenko, along with Maksimenko’s deputy Aleksandr Lamonov.

Criminal lord Zakhary Kalashov, known as Shakro Molodoy, and his gang were said to be related to a much-publicized shoot-out near an area home to high-end restaurants in central Moscow in December 2015, which left two people dead and several more injured. The case against the Investigative Committee officials is related to the killings near the restaurant and "money is not involved," Lamonov's lawyer Olga Lukmanova said. "This case [is related to] the FSB's wrangle with the Investigative Committee," she claimed.

The criminal charges -- which could easily have been levied against anybody -- are almost always a smokescreen for a political battle below the surface. The raid and arrests suggested that yet another "siloviki war" -- a battle among Russia's security services -- may be under way.

Russian opposition figure Roman Dobrokhotov summed it all up rather succinctly: "The cops are afraid of the prosecutors, the prosecutors are afraid of the Investigative Committee, the Investigative Committee is afraid of the FSB, the FSB is afraid of Ramzan Kadyrov, Kadyrov is afraid of Vladimir Putin, and Putin is afraid of everybody."




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