Written by Samuel Trilling -OCCRP
Russian media published on Friday a video showing bags of cash and claimed it was shot as Russian Government officials seized 12 billion rubles (US$185 million) from the apartment of former FSB official Colonel Kirill Cherkalin.
Cherkalin has been detained for the past three weeks “on suspicion of fraud on a large scale,” and was charged last week with taking US$850,000 in bribes, using his position as the head of the FSB’s financial counterintelligence unit to reap financial reward.
The cash-stuffed bags would make Cherkalin the richest law enforcement agent to be investigated for corruption.
The former record was held by Dmitry Zakharchenko, the deputy head of the Ministry of the Interior’s anti-corruption and economic security office, who was found with $120 million in Euros and USD in 2016.
The Baza Telegram channel posted pictures of Cherkalin’s estate and several of his sport vehicles on Monday.
The secretive department Cherkalin headed assisted in the high-profile investigations of economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, minister Mikhail Abyzov, and billionaire brothers Ziyavudin and Magomed Magomedov.
Cherkalin was fired from the agency in 2013 when a Novaya Gazeta investigation discovered that he owned a property in Italy worth over €1 million (US$1.1 million).
In 2018 the Russian Government fired over 1,200 government employees over corruption concerns, citing a loss of trust. Of those employees, about 200 were law enforcement officials from different agencies.
Cherkalin’s arrest is the fifth in a wave of arrests of former FSB officials. Two former officials are accused of committing fraud while another pair allegedly operated an extortion scheme through bitcoin.