Russian deputy defense minister Timur Ivanov accused of taking bribes

Russian deputy defense minister Timur Ivanov accused of taking bribes
Russian deputy defense minister Timur Ivanov accused of taking bribes

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MOSCOW — A Russian deputy defense minister has been accused of taking bribes and remanded in custody by a court in Moscow.

Timur Ivanov, who denies the charges, is accused of accepting bribes "on a particularly large scale".

Appointed to the defense ministry in 2016, Ivanov, 47, has been responsible for Russia's military infrastructure projects.

Activists have long criticized the levels of alleged corruption in Russia.

However, such high-profile cases have been rare since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Ivanov is considered an ally of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and has worked with him for many years. He was previously deputy prime minister of the Moscow region, where Shoigu briefly served as governor.

The Kremlin has rejected reports in some Russian media that the real reason for Ivanov's arrest was that he was suspected of treason.

"There are many different interpretations around all this now... You need to focus on official information," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He also stated that President Vladimir Putin had been notified of Ivanov's detention in advance.

In 2022, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), the group founded by late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accused Ivanov of participating in "corruption schemes during construction in the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia".

In particular, it said he had profited from construction projects in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, much of which was destroyed by Russian bombing in the months following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Basmanny district court in Moscow remanded him in jail for two months on charges of entering into a criminal conspiracy with third parties in his role of supervising the construction and overhaul of defense ministry facilities.

If found guilty he could face up to 15 years in jail. A second man, Sergei Borodin, who was described as a friend of the Ivanov, also appeared in court on Moscow on similar charges.

Ivanov denied the allegations made against him by Russia's Investigative Committee. The section of Russia's criminal code under which Ivanov was detained - Part 6 of article 290 - applies when a suspected bribe exceeds one million roubles (£8,620; $10,700).

Ivanov's arrest marks a rare move against a member of Russia's governing elite, many of whom are believed to have used their positions to amass vast personal fortunes.

Some Russian commentators have said the arrest will be a blow to Shoigu. "If he can't manage it, he will be next to fall. This person is 100% his man," one anonymous source told a popular military Telegram channel.

Ivanov has been sanctioned by the US and UK and is the subject of a travel ban and asset freeze imposed by the European Union, which describes him as being "tenth in the overall hierarchy of the Russian military leadership". — BBC

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