Yevgeny Chichvarkin, the former owner of Yevroset, a mobile phone retailer, has accused 11 senior Interior Ministry officials of harassing his company and intimidating his business associates, and he has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to intervene.
In a video posted on his blog on the web site of the Snob magazine, Chichvarkin called the Interior Ministry's "K" department, which specializes in solving technological crimes, “a gang of werewolves in epaulets responsible for several deaths and the robbery of billions of rubles from Russian companies.”
Chichvarkin said the “gang” is led by the head of the department, Colonel General Boris Miroshnikov, and his deputy, Lieutenant General Konstantin Machabeli.
He said his business partner Boris Levin, who is currently held in pretrial detention as a co-defendant in a case against him, “might be killed in prison like Magnitsky,” referring to the case of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in pretrial detention in November after not receiving medical help.
Chichvarkin, who fled Russia for London in late 2008 after being accused of kidnapping and other charges, listed a number of other crimes that he said were committed by "K" department officials in a bid to subdue and seize Yevroset.
Chichvarkin told The Moscow Times by phone Tuesday that the main reason for his appeal to Medvedev was his concern over the poor health of Levin, who has hepatitis. “If he weren't sick, I wouldn’t make this statement,” he said. A spokesman for the "K" department was not available for comment Tuesday. The Prosecutor General's Office said it would look into Levin's condition.
Chichvarkin previously accused department officials of trying to destroy his company in 2006 after the police confiscated 200,000 Motorola cell phones worth $18 million imported by Yevroset. The Interior Ministry said the phones were smuggled into Russia and did not meet the country's health safety standards.