MOSCOW, July 6 (RAPSI) — The investigating authorities have opened a criminal case over abuse of power against ex-governor of the Kirov region Nikita Belykh, the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee informs RAPSI on Tuesday.

According to investigators, in 2015 Nikita Belykh, at that time the Governor of the Kirov region, acting out of his personal interest, ensured the completion of a major transaction - the conclusion of a loan agreement for JSC Kirov Regional Mortgage Corporation (K.R.I.K.) with one of the companies of the Kirov region in the amount of 320 million rubles (about $4.4 million at the current exchange rate); the funds were to be repaid with the interest due by November 2016, the Committee said in the statement.

Investigators are confident that Belykh gave his subordinates instructions on the distribution of the said funds for the needs of other knowingly insolvent legal entities that were not related to the statutory goals of the activities of JSC K.R.I.K. for the purpose of short-term improvement of their financial situation, according to the statement.

The money, investigators allege, was not returned to the company. However, the Commercial Court of the Kirov region ruled to collect the funds in the amount of more than 202 million rubles ($2.8 million at the current exchange rate) from the Government of the Kirov region in favor of JSC K.R.I.K.

Thus, as a result of the unlawful actions of the suspect, the budget of the Kirov region suffered material damage in the said amount, what resulted in a significant violation of the rights and legally protected interests of society and the state, the Investigative Committee pointed out in the statement.

On February 1, 2018, the Presnensky District Court of Moscow found Belykh guilty of taking 400,000 euros in bribes. Belykh received an 8-year prison sentence, was fined 48.2 million rubles (over $658,000 at the current exchange rate) and prohibited from holding state and municipal offices for 3 years. Later, the Moscow City Court vacated a ban to hold state and municipal positions.