High-ranking Defense Ministry official detained on suspicion of bribery - report
MOSCOW, March 17 (RAPSI) - The Deputy Head of the Defense Ministry’s Department of Property Relations, Alexander Gordhkolepov, has been detained on suspicion of bribe taking, Kommersant reports on Tuesday.
The arrest was confirmed by the Military Investigative Directorate in Moscow and the Main Military Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee. Izvestia, citing a source in the Defense Ministry, reports that the official has been charged with eight counts of major bribe-taking. “The suspect pled guilty.” The military directorate stressed that he is “cooperating with investigators.”
Based on Defense Ministry sources, the newspaper said that the first allegations against Gorshkolepov occurred last fall after an inspection of Agroprom, a subsidiary of Oboronservis. The Main Military Prosecutor’s Office revealed violations that were qualified as abuse of authority.
Kommersant reports that the total amount of damages caused to Agroprom by abuse of power from the supervising body is estimated at 16.6 million rubles ($268,000).
On March 5, Moscow's Savyolovsky District Court ordered the detention of Gordhkolepov until May 3.
In 2012, the Defense Ministry’s Department of Property Relations and Oboronservis became involved in a corruption scandal that led to the resignation of ex-defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and former department head Yevgeniya Vasilyeva.
Vasilyeva was charged with 12 counts of illegal sales of property, land and shares belonging to the subsidiaries of Oboronservis, which consists of service companies involved in armaments and military vehicle repair and maintenance, construction materials and food production, power facility operation, cartography and printing goods production, and housing services for military towns.
The damages from her actions have been estimated at over 3 billion rubles (over $48 million). She faces up to six years in prison if convicted.
In March 2013, a Moscow court issued a warrant to seize the property owned by Vasilyeva, which included one apartment in Moscow, two apartments in St. Petersburg and some 600 square meters of commercial property in downtown Moscow.
She is currently under house arrest, having been ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet.
Serdyukov and several other high-ranking ministry officials were dismissed amid the corruption scandal that ensued in November 2012 to ensure an impartial investigation.
In December 2013, Serdyukov was charged with neglect of duty after investigators estimated damages to the state at 56 million rubles ($906,600).
According to the indictment, Serdyukov did not know about the fraud and embezzlement that were allegedly made possible due to his confidential relations with Vasilyeva.
Serdyukov was pardoned in March on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the constitution.