MOSCOW, March 26 (RAPSI) – A prosecutor has demanded a 21-year imprisonment for the former head of Russia’s Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gaizer charged with taking bribes and organizing a criminal network, RAPSI has learnt in the Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow. 

Additionally, the prosecutor has asked the court to fine Gaizer 500,000 rubles.

Investigators believe that a criminal gang involving Gaizer, another Komi Republic’s ex-head Vladimir Torlopov, ex-deputy head Alexander Chernov, ex-Chairman of the Republican State Council Igor Kovzel and 10 other people, was organized in 2006. Depending of their involvement and role in crimes, they are charged with taking bribes, embezzlement and money laundering. 

According to investigation, gang leaders and members committed crimes aimed at occupation of the region’s highly profitable enterprises or instituting control over them for the purposes of unlawful enrichment. They allegedly caused a 4.5-billion-ruble (about $70 million) damage to the republic.

Investigators also accuse the gang members of taking bribes totaling to 160 million rubles in 2013. Moreover, Gaizer himself received 37.5 million rubles in bribes for assignment of a person identified by investigators to the post of the Syktyvkar liquor producer’s director.

In August 2016, one of the defendants, businessman Anton Faershtein died in a Moscow detention center.