A recent report unveils a shocking case of corruption involving an investigator in Moscow who accepted a historic bribe in the form of cryptocurrency. The Russian press discloses that this corrupt official received millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin as a bribe and intended to save it for his retirement.
According to the Kommersant daily, investigators in the Russian Federation are currently delving into a corruption case that implicates one of their former colleagues. Simultaneously, a court in Moscow is preparing to review a lawsuit seeking the confiscation of the investigator’s crypto holdings.
Marat Tambiev, who was employed in December 2011, ascended the ranks to become the head of the Investigation Department in Moscow’s Tverskoy district. Officially, his salary constituted his sole income, and he, along with his family, did not possess any substantial assets, savings in rubles, foreign currency, or cryptocurrencies.
During the ongoing investigation into Tambiev’s involvement in accepting a large-scale bribe, authorities discovered that he owned a total of 1032.1 BTC. As of January 30, 2023, the value of this cryptocurrency amounted to an estimated 1.662 billion rubles, equivalent to nearly $24 million at the time.
Reportedly, the defendant received the cryptocurrency in April 2022 from members of the hacking group known as the Infraud Organization—specifically Mark and Konstantin Bergmanov and Kirill Samokutyaevsky. The bribe was given to ensure the non-seizure of the hackers’ assets, as Tambiev was leading the investigation into their criminal case.
Corrupt Official’s Crypto Savings Seized by Russian Authorities
The cryptocurrency was discovered during a search of Tambiev’s Moscow apartment. Among the items found was his laptop, which law enforcement officers managed to access a few months later. Inside a folder named “Pension,” investigators discovered a photograph of a sheet of paper containing records that granted Marat Tambiev access to two sums of cryptocurrency—932.1 BTC and 100 BTC. The bitcoins were promptly seized and transferred to a hardware wallet for preservation as physical evidence.
The value of the confiscated cryptocurrency—1.6 billion rubles—is an unprecedented amount for a corruption case involving a Russian official, as highlighted in the article. The previous comparable case involved Dmitry Zakharchenko, an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who collected bribes totaling 1.4 billion rubles.
Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Razinkin referred to the coins obtained by Tambiev as “acquisition of property from sources not sanctioned by law.” Russia is still in the process of developing comprehensive regulations for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, with multiple bills currently being reviewed in parliament. Some of these bills propose the introduction of criminal liability for the illicit use of crypto assets.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about crypto bribe
What was the bribe amount accepted by the Russian investigator in this corruption case?
The Russian investigator accepted over 1,000 BTC, which was worth approximately 1.662 billion rubles or nearly $24 million at the time of discovery.
Who gave the bribe to the investigator?
The bribe was given by members of a hacking group called the Infraud Organization. Specifically, Mark and Konstantin Bergmanov and Kirill Samokutyaevsky were involved in providing the cryptocurrency bribe.
How was the cryptocurrency discovered?
During a search of the investigator’s apartment in Moscow, law enforcement officers found his laptop. Months later, they were able to access the laptop and discovered a folder named “Pension” containing a photograph of a sheet of paper with records granting the investigator access to two sums of cryptocurrency.
What happened to the seized cryptocurrency?
The seized cryptocurrency, totaling 1,032.1 BTC, was promptly transferred to a hardware wallet as physical evidence. The authorities have taken control of the cryptocurrency as part of the investigation.