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ARKHANGELSK, March 7 (Itar-Tass) — The Oktyabrsky district court of Arkhangelsk found five members of a criminal group guilty of fraud and forging VAT refund documents. The group used a scheme to export metal scrap through fly-by-night firm. The wrongdoers stole more than 15 million roubles from the budget, an official at the press service of the regional department of the Federal Security Service told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
The leader of the criminal group, Abdurakhman Akhmadov, 51, and his wife Mariyat Akhmadova were sentenced to seven and five years in a general regime penitentiary, respectively. Their accomplices, Anton Tsypin, Alexei Koltovoi and Igor Zhidkov were sentenced to five years in a general regime penitentiary and fined 150,000 roubles each.
All the five defendants were taken in custody in the courtroom. The criminal case comprised 150 volumes, with a 10,700-page indictment.
The court ascertained that in 2000, Akhmadov set up Unity Service in the port of Bakaritsa, Arkhangelsk, which engaged in buying and exporting ferrous metal scrap. It bought metal from regional companies and private individuals, and shipped it to countries in Western Europe.
When buying metal from the population, the company could not enjoy the VAT refund incentive from the federal budget. However, after buying it from legal entities with subsequent exports, the firm was entitled to collect 18 percent of the cost of the contract.
The Akhmadovs, assisted by former personnel of Bank of Moscow's Arkhangelsk branch Tsypin and Koltovoi, and director general of the Wood Commerce firm Zhidkov set up a network of fly-by-night firms from which Unity Service allegedly bought metal scrap. The criminals sent declarations to tax bodies, indicating that the firm had purchased metal from a legal entity and that the VAT had been paid in full.
When the metal was exported, the state had to refund the VAT to Unity Service. In the period from September 2004 through December 2005, the criminal group stole 15,761,927 roubles of budget money.
The criminal case against the suspects was opened on the strength of the evidence gathered by the regional department of the Federal Security Service. The case was handled by the Interior Ministry’s department for the Arkhangelsk region. The probe lasted almost four years.
"The defendants denied any wrongdoing and have not repented," the press service of the regional FSB department noted.