Appeal against ex-officials' arrest on $500k fraud charge postponed
MOSCOW, February 20 - RAPSI. The Moscow City Court has postponed until February 22 the hearing of Oleg Axyonov's appeal against his arrest on fraud charges.
Axyonov, a former Agriculture Ministry department chief who previously headed the Interior Ministry's Information Department, is suspected of defrauding a businessman of $500,000 in 2009-2010.
An investigator told the court that a smuggling case was opened against businessman Mikhail Shelestov in 2009. Axyonov allegedly offered to stop the prosecution against him in exchange for $500,000 to call off the FSB. He later asked for $400,000 as a payment for the Federal Customs Service.
According to investigators, Shelestov paid Axyonov $500,000 in installments over a three-year period. The businessman paid the last tranche of $150,000 while in custody.
After a year in prison, Shelestov was released on bail in October and asked for his money back. As Axyonov refused to return the sum, Shelestov turned to the law enforcement bodies.