In the Crimea, the investigation of the case of «diversionists» Evhen Panov and Andrii Zakhtei is close to completion. About a year ago, in early August 2016, they were detained by the FSB at the territory of the Crimea under the suspicion of preparing diversions in the peninsula.
According to the information of the QirimInfo, defendant in the «diversionists’ case» Andrii Zakhtei made a pre-trial settlement with the investigation. A source well aware of the situation informed this. According to them, one of the conditions of signing the agreement by the investigation was the refusal to involve lawyers under contract. «He signed the pre-trial settlement with the Deputy Prosecutor [of the Crimea] a couple of weeks ago [approximately in the end of June]», – the source clarified.
The source claims, Zakhtei refused to testify against another defendant in this case Evhen Panov in the course of the pre-trial investigation, as he hadn’t met him before the detention. According to the preliminary information, after Zakhtei’s case is singled out for separate proceedings, he will be presented an accusation of storaging weapons and forgery of documents [the Russian passport in particular]. Three additional forensic examinations have been scheduled in his case by now.
Lawyer Oleksii Ladin also confirmed the information on signing the pre-trial settlement to QirimInfo. He received the investigator’s written notification that Zakhtei had refused from his services.
«I don’t have any grounds to distrust this document [the official notification]. We discussed the issue of a pre-trial settlement. Zakhtei told me one of the conditions for signing thereof was to refuse to involve lawyers under contract. We talked and took a decision», – he told.
Previously, lawyer Ilya Novikov informed via Facebook about Zakhtei’s decision not to involve defenders under contract. «I’m not handling his case anymore and I won’t comment upon its development further on», – he wrote back then.
Oleksii Ladin thinks that signing of the pre-trial settlement is beneficial for both Zakhtei and the investigation. «They are probably summing up the final position in his case. A year has passed, and the investigation obviously found no proofs of his guilt, and they offered him to confess. His position is also clear – to get a shorter term for something he never did», – the lawyer explains.
Alongside with that, Ladin believes that, in Zakhtei’s case, there is a real risk of cancellation of the pre-trial settlement in court. «We haven’t seen that they agreed about in the pre-trial settlement. Roughly speaking, if he doesn’t inculpate other participants of the case, then Part 4 of the Criminal and Procedural Code of the Russian Federation is applied.
It says that a pre-trial settlement may be broken if a defendant’s cooperation with the investigation is related exclusively to providing information about their personal participation in a crime», – the lawyer explains, adding that the defense would have no leverage of pressure in such case.
The trial in Zakhtei’s case is scheduled on September.
Andrii Zakhtei was detained by the Russian law-enforcers in the night of July 6 to 7 in the village of Rysove. According to the investigation, he was supposed to drive to the neighbouring village Suvorovo to meet the Ukrainian diversionist group arriving from the direction of the Perekopska gulf.
«Driving the mentioned automobile, [Zakhtei] moved to the village of Suvorovo with a purpose of meeting A.E. Sandul [another defendant in the case, who, according to the investigation, managed to escape] and other unidentified members of the organized group to secure their delivery alongside with the firearms, ammunition, explosive devices and explosives that they had on them for the planned diversions aimed at objects at the territory of the Crimea», – stated in the resolution on involving as a suspect, the copy of which QirimInfo has.
However, the Russian law-enforcers waited for the presumed diversionists there. In the course of a short shooring, one Russian special police officer and two Ukrainian «diversionists» were shot dead; some managed to escape; others were detained, including Zakhtei.
Later on, Zakhtei said in the operative video of the interrogation, that he «bought a van, called Yura back and said he was ready to follow the instructions»; on August 6, he got a «phone call from an unknown person», who introduced himself as «a guy from Yura» and instructed to arrive to the village of Rysove at midnight, to take «the people with some cargo». The unknown person asked Zakhtei not to tell anything about the upcoming journey.
It will be revealed later that the Yura whose instructions Zakhtei had allegedly followed was his old friend Yury Fliunt. Last December, the Mediazone published Zakhtei’s statement about the tortures, committed by the Russian law-enforcers. In the statement, he said that he had only received an order for the transportation of people and he hadn’t known who they were. Zakhtei confirmed it was Fliunt who had messaged him on Facebook that he had given his phone number to the people «who want to order a taxi».
The Mediazone clarified back then with a reference to the source, that Fliunt was Zakhtei’s well-to-do classmate from Kyiv. The media outlet claimed he was related to the financing of volunteers in the ATO zone, and also helped Zakhtei to buy a car.
The journalist of the Russian media-resource Odintsovo-info described the biography of Yury Fliunt with more details. According to the information of the media resource, he is a Chairman of the supervisory committee of the REMA factory in Kyiv, and also headed the company «NVF Trading House REMA». The journalist also presumed Fliunt had served in the 37th battallion of the 56th brigade of the Land Forces of Ukraine.
Other defendants in the «diversionists’ case» Evhen Panov and Volodymyr Serdiuk (the latter is called the organizer of the «diversions» by the investigation) also served in the 37th battallion. Back then, most Russian media claimed that the 37th battallion was in the squad of the Chief Administration of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
The Administration refuted this information. Serdiuk stated he had nothing to do with the Ukrainian intelligence, in an interview to Hromadske. Panov’s relatives also repeatedly told about his nonparticipation in the intelligence, let alone «diversions» at the territory of the Crimea. Panov recalls in his statement about tortures to the FSB, that, after the detention, he asked «to stop tortures and explain why they were torturing him».
In a conversation with QirimInfo, Yury Fliunt introduced himself as a businessman and said he had «never served in the 37th battallion or in the ATO either». «I only helped our guys to carry out the volunteering, that’s it», – he clarified. Fliunt confirmed he knew Zakhtei and helped him with the private tax service. «You see, I am a businessman, I couldn’t give him any instructions. He asked me – if there are clients with the Crimea, let me know, I will transport them. I only gave Andrii’s phone nimber to a client, they were to contact by phone and meet. His [the client’s] name was Mykola, I can’t remember his surname. As far as I know, he wasn’t arrested then», – Fliunt told.
Being in the status of Zakhtei’s defender, Oleksii Ladin said in a comment for QirimInfo: «Almost the only objective evidence that bind Zakhtei to diversionist activity are the expert examinations». There were about twenty of them in the case before signing of the pre-trial settlement.
Late in May, the lawyer informed in a comment for the Mediazone that the investigation had found no biological traces of Zakhtei and Panov on the objects taken from the recess at the cemetery near the village of Suvorovo. «There are no fingerprints either of Panov or Zakhtei on the objects as well», – he told back then.
According to the investigation, the explosive was also found in the trunk of Zakhtei's car. The latter stated that the law-enforcers had planted it.
«If there are any biological traces on it [the explosive], this can be explained from the logical point of view, – Ladin commented on the situation before. – It [the explosive] was in his car, which he used. Roughly speaking, if one puts a hand on a wheel, there will be particles of their sweat left on it».