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MOSCOW, February 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The police exposed the theft of Gazprom's shares amounting to 20 million roubles, the press service of the main economic security department of the Russian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
“In July-August 2008 the packages of securities in amount of 19,836,000 roubles were stolen from three Gazprom's stockholders. During the investigation into the criminal case the detectives found that an organized criminal group with clear roles and tasks of criminals stole the shares,” the press service said.
Their criminal and corruption connections were identified. The chief executives and employees of several commercial banks and organizations are suspected of involvement in the criminal scheme.
“During the search operation the detectives of the economic security department found that all stolen shares were placed on a depository account of a certain individual, with whose forged passport the fraudsters cashed the securities,” the press service reported.
The illegal scheme was realized in several stages, the press service said. During the first stage a swindler from the criminal group that previously worked in the company, which is linked with maintaining the register of stockholders of the gas industry, learnt about major stockholders. He chose those, who bought the securities in the early nineties and whose securities were registered under Soviet-time passports. Other members of the criminal group made Russian forged passports in the names of the stockholders. The documents were processed according to the data of the Soviet-time passports and the criminals made a mark on the proper page of the passport and stuck the photos of ordinary members of the criminal group at the place for the photo in the passport. They also made counterfeit instruments of transfer for the disposal of securities.
Then the criminals took over the shares of the legitimate owners in favour of their accomplice from Ukraine under false documents provided to the registration officer of the stockholders in the gas industry. For this purpose an account was opened in the broker commercial organisation in the name of some Russian citizen, the false passport of whom the Ukrainian accomplice owned.
At the final stage the Gazprom shares were cashed through their sale on the international currency exchange, a source in the Interior Ministry said. The illegal revenues were distributed between members of the criminal group.
“The operatives of the main economic security department detained a 50-year-old mastermind of the criminal scheme and active members of the criminal group. At the places of work and residence of the suspects the searches were carried out, the documents and things, which prove their criminal activities, were confiscated,” the source said.
The search operation for other members of the criminal group continues.