Former Russian Investigator Accused Of Billion-Ruble Bitcoin Bribery

On Monday, June 5, the Nikulinsky District Court of Moscow is set to deliberate on the lawsuit filed by First Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Razinkin, seeking the confiscation of corrupt proceeds belonging to Marat Tambiyev, a former investigator. The court case has attracted significant attention due to the staggering amount involved and its implications for corruption within law enforcement agencies.

Hidden Bitcoin Exposed

Marat Tambiyev, who held various positions within the Investigative Committee since December 2011, came under scrutiny by supervisory authorities. It was discovered that Tambiyev and his family members did not possess any unreported expensive property, cash savings, or foreign and cryptocurrency holdings. However, during the course of a criminal investigation against Tambiyev for allegedly accepting a bribe of an exceptionally large scale, it was revealed that he owned 1032.1 bitcoins, valued at $23,980,843 or approximately 1.662 billion rubles.

Investigators determined that Tambiyev received the cryptocurrency in April of the previous year from members of the Infraud Organization hacker group. They allege that the bitcoins were given as a bribe to prevent the seizure of assets belonging to Mark and Konstantin Bergmanov and Kirill Samokutyaevsky, individuals whose criminal cases were under Tambiyev’s jurisdiction.

The bribe amount of 1.6 billion rubles is a record for corruption involving law enforcement officers in Russia. Notably, even Dmitry Zakharchenko, an ex-policeman found guilty of accepting bribes totaling 1.4 billion rubles over a decade, received a lesser amount. Zakharchenko is currently appealing his 16-year sentence.


Court Orders Confiscation

The investigation into Tambiyev’s illicit activities began with a search of his Moscow apartment, during which an Apple MacBook Pro laptop was seized. Subsequently, a folder labeled “Pension” containing codes granting access to 932.1 and 100 bitcoins was discovered. After much deliberation, the Basmanny Court ordered the seizure of the bitcoins and their transfer to a designated email address associated with a hardware wallet. The wallet, along with the access keys, was placed in the material evidence storage of the Investigative Committee.

Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Razinkin argued that Tambiyev’s possession of bitcoins, valued at 1.6 billion rubles, significantly exceeded his official earnings of just over 11.7 million rubles during his tenure. This indicates the receipt of property from illegal sources and constitutes a corruption offense, justifying the confiscation of the assets.

As of now, there have been no comments from Tambiyev’s defense team. Tambiyev has denied any involvement in corruption and previously sought reinstatement in the Investigative Committee. However, his appeal was rejected due to a confirmed violation of the oath and acts that brought disrepute to the investigative body.