Antiques of strategic importance
The materials feature more than 800 antiquities brought from Europe by truck. The scheme would not stand without the evaluators of the Ministry of Culture, but it worked for eight years. The ultimate beneficiaries are those Petersburgers who have nightstands at the price of a studio apartment. According to Fontanka, on October 29, investigative actions continue. A day earlier, the second wave of the implementation of the Main Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region began. It is associated with the initiation of a multi-episode case under Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – smuggling of strategically important cultural property. For understanding – under this article in Russia they would judge the seller of the atomic bomb.
The first stage is dated October 25, when the officers of the Anti-Corruption Service of the North-West Customs Administration and the North-West Investigative Committee on Transport detained three employees of the Skippersky customs post of the Baltic Customs. On the morning of October 28, operatives of the “leadership” department of the Criminal Investigation Department and the department for combating special types of smuggling of the North-West Telecommunications University began to awaken suspected smugglers of artifacts.
Fontanka knows that the episodes date back to April, May this year, when carriers on the Mercedes Sprinter 311 freight trucks with Tauras 3500 trailers arrived from Finland on the Princess Anastasia ferry to the Marine Façade Passenger Port of St. Petersburg on Vasilievsky Island, declaring hundreds of antiquities supposedly intended for personal use. Thus, the duty and 20 percent of VAT were not paid at the Skippersky post.
At the same time, not only antique furniture was imported, but also, for example, antique dishes. Even from the point of view of common sense, the cost of cargo was clearly underestimated in the passenger customs declaration. By the way, in mid-May the group imported 302 items valued at 23.5 thousand euros on a similar truck. That is, under 79 euros per thing. It is hardly necessary to be a collector to understand that it is difficult to find an antique shop in Europe where you can buy an old sofa at less than the price of jeans.
According to investigators, the scheme functioned not without the help of experts from the Ministry of Culture. The algorithm itself is typical: intermediaries take orders from antique dealers and transfer them to carriers.
As is known to Fontanka, the security forces looked into three antique salons of St. Petersburg, including a gallery on Sergei Tyulenin Street, 4. Here the search was late.
In total, the investigation presents the import of more than 800 artifacts, which were then resold to wealthy people. As indicated in one of the search orders, “… thus, a group of persons by prior conspiracy, through unreliable customs clearance, illegally moved across the customs border of the Eurasian Economic Union …”.
As a result of all these worries, by the evening of October 28, out of a dozen of the ten brought to the offices of the General Directorate at 145 Ligovsky, five suspects admitted. By the way, one of them explained that in this way antiquaries earned about eight years.
October 29, searches continue. But not everyone will be caught. The investigation already realized that several participants in the process, paying attention to the detention of customs officers, left the state.
The most piquant, as suggested to Fontanka, can begin when the investigation will deal with the initial procedural chores. Further, it will be possible to collect evidence in the form of antiquity at the homes of customers. Some wealthy Petersburgers, and not only businessmen, but also government officials, have already managed to acquire cute things.
So, in the case are the names of those who have an uneasy nightstand or sculpture stand in their apartments for 2 million rubles. Or, for example, a set of porcelain cups for 5 thousand euros.
It’s like in a joke: what kind of teapot do they have, if there are such cups!