Chechen police crack down on compensation frauds
Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus – The Chechen Interior Ministry recently carried out an operation in Grozny code-named Posrednik (intermediary). The aim of this operation was to arrest speculators profiting from compensations paid for loss of property.
Intermediaries earn money via two means: (1) getting a percentage of the compensation (10-30%) in exchange for guaranteeing the claimant will receive the money without having to stand on long lines; or (2) submitting a claim for property that had never been damaged (50-70%).
These intermediaries have connections to people who have influence over the payment process and who are, as a rule, officials in the regional government or in the commission responsible for paying compensations.
According to the Interior Ministry, several people involved in this operation were arrested at a bank in Grozny where claims are being paid out. One detainee alone, from the village of Gikalo, had 48 approved claims in his possession.
However, the ministry believes that the detainees actually are ordinary "blue-collar workers", while the identities of the masterminds behind this illegal activity remain unknown.
According to Khamzat Guseinov, the head of the ministry’s Directorate for the Fight against Economic Crime, a review of 50,000 claims has so far led to 65 criminal court cases.
Guseinov feels this figure might be an understatement, but explains that it is a result of their heavy workload. “We realize that in the Republic, where more than 30,000 have already received compensation, this is a low number, but it’s only temporary.”
The operation was carried out by the Chechen police a week after Ramzan Kadyrov, the first deputy premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, was appointed head of the commission for compensation payments.
Compensation for damaged or destroyed property began in September 2003.