The blogger Lerchek (Valery Chekalina).
Photo: personal archive
After a week-long break, bloggers Lerchek and Artemchek (in the world, the spouses Valeria and Artem Chekalina) again broke into the scandalous chronicles. As it was known on March 16, for non-payment of taxes for an amount of 311 million, the couple blocked all bank accounts, cars and real estate were detained; followed by a new criminal case under art. 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Legalization (laundering) of money on an especially large scale or other property acquired by a person as a result of committing a crime.” According to detectives, in 2021, the Chekalins “laundered” 130 million rubles, buying US dollars with this money. The punishment for such a crime is severe – up to seven years …
In the evening, the bloggers were brought to court to choose a preventive measure for them during the investigation: a pre-trial detention center, house arrest, etc. And here the most interesting thing began: it turned out that the prosecutor’s office did not demand that the defendants go behind bars at all, but – a nightmare for any blogger! – Ask the court to prohibit them from using the Internet.
After such news, a real live drama unfolded on the pages of Lercheks and Artemcheks: they posted court photos with sad comments, confessed their love to millions of their subscribers, thanked for the years spent together and parted forever.
– It was so difficult to choose photos for this post… Especially when the phone is in the hands of the last few minutes… You know, this is not just a page, this is my soul. We love you very much, Chekalina was touched by addressing an invisible, but so beloved audience, in which she earned billions of rubles for many years, selling her cosmetics, harmony marathons, success, etc.
But before the court, Lerchek, without false modesty, added the main thing: Instagram (recognized as an extremist social network and banned in Russia) is his only source of income and the only opportunity to feed his three children. Yes, and her husband frankly admitted: they say that without the Internet she will not be able to support her family. However, the court held firm: both Lerchek and Artemchek were prohibited from using the telephone, mail, and the Internet for two months; they are only allowed to make emergency calls.
The KP.RU website explains in order what it all means.
1. WHY THE PROPERTY AND ACCOUNTS WERE INSURED
Actually, this is a standard procedure when it comes to non-payment of taxes, and the first criminal case of the Chekalin family is connected precisely with this. As lawyer Timur Matveev explained to KP.RU, the seized property serves as a guarantee that the money will be paid to the state. And the searches that were carried out, including in the Chekalin family home, often reveal new violations, because phones, computers and other electronic and paper media that may contain “black accounting” are confiscated from the defendants.
2. WHAT IS THE NEW CASE OF LAUNDERING AND DOLLAR?
Buying foreign currency itself is not a crime, it is different.
“The Chekalins, according to the investigators, understood that they had earned money by criminal means, but wanted to give it the appearance of honestly earned money,” says lawyer Mikhail Alekseev, who discusses high-profile cases on his YouTube channel and Telegram. to KP.RU. – Accordingly, they specifically converted the earnings into dollars. And, by the way, it can not only be currency – money can be legalized, “laundered” by investing it in real estate and other property.
Lawyer Mikhail Alekseev.
This article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, according to the lawyer, is rarely applied. Always use “in addition” to the main offense; in the case of the Chekalins, it is about tax evasion. It is difficult to prove the washing, but here the bloggers entrenched themselves: all their luxury cars, elite housing, expensive jewelry and parties with stars, which were regularly shown on social networks, will become the evidence base for the investigation. ..
3. IF OTHER PEOPLE WILL RUN THE SOCIAL NETWORKS
They say the aspiring bloggers complained in court and hired people who would post social media pages for them. Is this even legal?
– Yes, it is legal, because in this case the Chekalins themselves do not access the Internet, – believes Mikhail Alekseev. – In fact, such a measure of restraint only seems easy. Research can last several years and during all this time people can not only earn money, but simply call a taxi for themselves.
4. WILL THE SOCIAL SERVICES STARS BE SENT?
According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, if the Chekalins paid their debt to the state of 311 million, then their criminal case for non-payment of taxes would simply have to be closed – this is such humane legislation for first-time violators time. So that everyone involved could escape punishment. But now…
-I think that now the term will be real, although brief. In addition, the defendants will receive a restraining measure, which they will abide by until the verdict, – continues the lawyer. – In addition, I do not rule out that a criminal case can be brought under the article “Fraud” against the Chekalins. I believe it is this composition that the research team is now assembling. This may require reviews from people who bought Lerchek’s courses and felt cheated as a result. And there certainly were. And the article “Fraud” is already a colony.
5. WHAT NOW – ALL BLOGGERS ARE COMMANDED TO BE AFRAID?
The “Lerchek case” shocked all the bloggers who sell marathons, courses, guides and wish cards online, for which they were popularly called infogypsies. And experts warn: they will reach everyone who earns millions thanks to their popularity, without bothering, like civilized businessmen, to rebuild a legal business by paying taxes and optimizing business processes.
“Now the State is testing a scheme that can be applied to all unscrupulous information entrepreneurs,” says the lawyer. – Moreover, there is no task to simply collect money from millionaire bloggers, there is a task to make them answer for violations – this is what the initiation of a second criminal case tells us. For this reason, all the so-called Infogypsies urgently need to get in shape and put their businesses in order.
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