Various divisions of the Main Anti-Economic Crime Department (Russian acronym, GUBEP) are doing their best to ensure Russia's economic security. Priorities include combating the influence of organised crime on various industrial sectors, creating a favourable investment climate and tackling the so-called shadow economy. We are cracking down on crime rings that peddle jewels and precious metals, timber and biological resources, as well as those that produce and sell alcohol and tobacco. Our anti-piracy squads are also energetically working to protect intellectual property rights. They confiscated 920 million roubles' worth of pirated goods, equipment and material values last year.
Numerous attempts are now being made to embezzle budgetary appropriations and to secure illegitimate VAT compensation payments. Local crime rings prefer to set up front companies to conclude fictitious contracts with foreign firms and subsequently buy and sell goods on the domestic market. Consequently, the price of various export-orientated goods has rocketed 1,000-fold in some cases. No tax is paid during sales and purchases, but these companies register fictitious export earnings. For example, 40 Russian loan agencies were found guilty of taking part in such shady deals last year, while the authorities instituted more than 100 criminal proceedings and prevented embezzlement to the tune of one billion roubles. The relevant documents were submitted to tax inspectorates, which denied three billion roubles to be paid back to dishonest businessmen. So the GUBEP has made a considerable contribution to keeping budget funds intact.
Apart from that, we counteract swindlers, including crime rings that operate under the guise of public foundations and organisations, setting up all kinds of financial pyramids. More than 60 criminal proceedings have been instituted against the chief executive officers of such firms in Russia.
GUBEP divisions continue to identify embezzlers bent on depriving Chechnya's socio-economic sector of its federal-budget appropriations. Among other things, they are checking compensation payments for destroyed homes, apartments and other property. As a result of the conducted work, 40 criminal proceedings have been instituted against swindlers, including republican officials, with our department preventing the illegal compensation payments worth more than 500 million roubles.
We checked facilities of the North Caucasian fuel and energy sector during the final stage of the operation Chechen Oil, exposing 2,787 violations of law connected with illegal oil and oil products sales and purchases. Officers located and destroyed 25 pipeline taps, 220 illegal oil wells, oil refineries and oil and oil products storages, while 560 tonnes of oil and lubricants were confiscated. Ten GUBEP officers were posthumously awarded for their heroic work in the Chechen republic.
The department is also doing its best to protect the rights and interests of Russian citizens, as it thwarts the sale of dangerous foodstuffs and alcoholic beverages. Bootleggers in the Ryazan region, who distilled vodka using household thinners, were recently arrested and will soon stand trial. Moreover, 17 illegal tobacco factories were closed, and 45 million packs of cigarettes pertaining to be brand names were confiscated.
The GUBEP is also worried about the sale of fake medications. These crimes are being combated in conjunction with the Russian Health Ministry and other public organisations. The GUBEP and the Health Ministry have conducted a comprehensive operation, checking more than 31,000 medical enterprises and clinics, as well as commercial organisations, which identified 650 crimes.
Our interaction with foreign law enforcement agencies makes it possible to decriminalise the Russian economy more effectively. Russia-CIS interaction in this field has produced the most impressive results. For instance, Russian and Belarussian Interior Ministers recently agreed to conduct a joint operation in border areas. This operation is expected to prevent jewel and precious-metal contraband, while also coordinating anti-hacker operations and facilitating more productive co-operation in the struggle against organised crime. We have conducted some effective operations against counterfeiters with our colleagues in Germany and France. Russia also interacts with Bulgarian, Greek, Vietnamese and Chinese law enforcement agencies as part of joint efforts to combat international crime.