Rostov prosecutor set up by municipal publisher

Former prosecutor of the Proletarsky district of the Rostov region Sergey Kalitvintsev was sentenced to eight years in a strict regime colony for bribery. As the court established, in 2020 he received 1.1 million rubles. from the editor-in-chief of the local municipal newspaper “Grand Duke Courier”. Initially, the court sentenced Kalitvintsev to eight years of probation, but the prosecution achieved a tougher sentence.

The Rostov Regional Court changed the sentence of the former prosecutor of the Proletarsky district, Sergei Kalitvintsev. “The court of appeal canceled the application of the article on probation (Article 73 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) when sentencing. The convict was taken into custody in the courtroom,” the press service of the regional court told Kommersant.

Sergey Kalitvintsev was convicted in April 2021 of taking a bribe with extortion on an especially large scale (part 6 of article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, up to 15 years in prison). According to investigators, on May 18, 2020, he received 1.1 million rubles through an intermediary. for failure to take response measures based on the materials collected in relation to the local municipal newspaper “Grand Duke Courier”.

As a source familiar with the investigation told Kommersant, in 2017 the municipal newspaper Grand Duke Courier was accused of shortfalls in income after being checked by the Chamber of Control and Accounts. Numerous inspections began in the editorial office, there was talk about the possibility of initiating a criminal case.

The newspaper’s management insisted on conducting a financial review, while noting that the publication has no obligations to the administration, as it never received budgetary funds and existed on its own income.

“After a while, the prosecutor’s office canceled the checks due to the lack of corpus delicti, the case was put on the shelf. But in 2019, a new prosecutor, Sergei Kalitvintsev, came to the district, and the checks resumed. Because of them, advertisers began to leave the newspaper. In the spring of 2020, an acquaintance of the businessman of the editor-in-chief Leonid Zaplatkin hinted that the publication would be left alone for a bribe to Kalitvintsev in the amount of 1.1 million rubles,” the source said. According to him, Leonid Zaplatkin agreed to give a bribe and at the same time reported the impending crime to the FSB of Russia in the Rostov region.

Sergei Kalitvintsev has been working in the prosecutor’s office since 2007, and was appointed prosecutor of the Proletarsky district of the Rostov region in July 2019. The father of the former prosecutor, also named Sergei Kalitvintsev, served as a judge of the Proletarsky District Court of Rostov from 1992 until he resigned of his own accord in January 2021.

The prosecutor was caught red-handed. The second department for the investigation of particularly important cases of the Investigative Committee of the ICR for the Rostov Region opened a criminal case against him on the fact of a bribe, against an entrepreneur – under Part 4 of Art. 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (mediation in bribery).

The prosecutor was first placed in custody, but later released on bail. Having considered the criminal case, the Salsk City Court sentenced him to eight years of probation with restriction of freedom for four years and a fine of 1.1 million rubles.

The prosecution appealed this decision to the Rostov Regional Court. “The imposition of a suspended sentence for a particularly grave corruption crime <...> does not correspond to the nature and degree of public danger of the deed,” said Roman Praskov, prosecutor of the Rostov region, in the appeal. In addition to replacing the term with a real state prosecutor, he asked to increase the fine to 44 million rubles, and the term of deprivation of the right to hold certain positions – up to seven years.

Lawyers for the ex-prosecutor, Yulia Kalitvintseva and Alexander Kuyumdzhi, insisted that the funds received by Sergei Kalitvintsev should be regarded not as a bribe, but as sponsorship.

“(Money) was necessary for him to repair the premises of the prosecutor’s office, which was in a deplorable state and did not meet fire safety requirements, as well as to erect an additional extension, which he had designed in order to improve the performance of employees, since they did not have elementary sanitary and hygienic conditions,” stated in the complaint of Mr. Kuyumdzhi.

Yulia Kalitvintseva asked to cancel the verdict and issue a new, acquittal. Alexander Kuyumdzhi insisted on the annulment of the verdict and termination of the criminal proceedings.

Having considered the arguments of the parties, in 2021 the regional court left the verdict unchanged. However, the appeal ruling was appealed by the parties, and in 2022 the Fourth Cassation Court overturned it. The case was returned to the regional court for a new trial on appeal in a different composition of the court. For the second time, the regional court changed the verdict, replacing the sentence from suspended to real.