In 2012, the new Minister of Sports of Russia Oleg Matytsin was found guilty of illegally transferring the lands of the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism (RGUFKu) to Cherkizovsky Market, Moscow’s largest flea market of the 90s. After the appointment of Matytsin to a government post, many media recall this.
The Cherkizovsky market, also known as Cherkizon, existed from the beginning of the 90s and, according to some estimates, occupied an area of 234 hectares between the Shchelkovo and Izmailovsky highways and the Lilac Boulevard. The Moscow authorities promised at least five times to close this “black hole” and the “viper”, but this was only possible in 2009.
The official reason for the closure was numerous violations of sanitary and fire standards, as well as the sale of health-threatening smuggled goods. According to another version, the market was closed due to the activities of its owner – businessman Telman Ismailov, which caused dissatisfaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Shortly before the market closed, Matytsin, who at that time headed the RSUFK for the fourth year at that time, opened a criminal case on abuse of power that entailed serious consequences (part 3 of article 285 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Subsequently, it was reclassified as “abuse of power” (Article 286 of the Criminal Code).
Matytsin was accused of leasing to Cherkizon a land plot of 66.5 hectares in federal ownership and granted to RSUKK for unlimited use from July 2001 to July 2006.
Payments for rent came to the university’s settlement accounts, bypassing the federal budget. Initially, it was a loss of 77.6 million rubles. In the final version of the indictment, it grew to over 120 million rubles. Matytsin by the decision of the court was removed from the post of president of the university
In March 2012, the Izmaylovsky court of the capital found the ex-rector guilty of abuse of power and imposed a fine of 20 thousand rubles on him. Matytsin did not plead guilty. The prosecutor considered the sentence too lenient and challenged the fact that the court excluded the wording “causing serious consequences” from the prosecution. Matytsin’s lawyer, in turn, insisted that there was no corpus delicti in the actions of his client.
The defense said that “leasing the land to the university and receiving rent in the form of additional budget financing protected, increased and supported the interests of the state by ridding the state budget of additional millions of expenses and at the same time replenishing it with a substantial amount.”
The lawyer insisted that Matytsin acted strictly within the framework of the university’s charter, and decisions to lease land were made at meetings of the university’s academic council. Four months after the sentencing, the court released Matytsin from punishment in connection with the expiration of the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution. The sentence did not have time to enter into legal force.
Since 2015, Matytsin has been leading the International University Sports Federation (FISU), which holds the Universiade that is victorious for Russia. He plans to combine the post of minister with his former post. “The leadership of the country supported me in this regard. There are no legal barriers in the legislation,” Matytsin said.