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Russian deputy defense minister facing bribery charges has appeal for house arrest denied

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May 9, 2024

A Moscow court rejected Wednesday an appeal filed by a Russian deputy defense minister’s lawyers who sought to have him moved from prison to house arrest as he faces bribery charges.

Timur Ivanov, who was in charge of military construction projects, was arrested on April 23 and charged with accepting bribes on a large scale. After the hearing in Moscow City Court, Russian news agencies quoted his attorney Murad Musayev as saying the case involved allegations of about $11 million and that Ivanov has been suspended from duty.

Two other men have been arrested in the case.

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It is rare for such a high-ranking official to be charged with a crime in Russia and it is unclear what sparked the decision to arrest him.

The team of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny conducted anti-corruption investigations and accused Ivanov, an ally of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, of living a lavish lifestyle.

Ivanov, 48, was sanctioned by both the United States and European Union in 2022 after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russian media reported that Ivanov oversaw some of the construction in Mariupol, a Ukrainian port city that was devastated by bombardment and occupied by Russian forces early in the war.

Zvezda, the official TV channel of the Russian military, reported in summer 2022 that the ministry was building an entire residential block in Mariupol and showed Ivanov inspecting construction sites and newly erected buildings.

Few other high-level officials have been prosecuted in Russia.

In April 2023, former Deputy Culture Minister Olga Yarilova was arrested and charged with embezzling more than $2.2 million. Yarilova, who held her post from 2018 to 2022, is on trial and facing a possible seven-year jail term.

Former Economics Minister Alexei Ulyukayev received an eight-year prison sentence in 2017 for accepting a $2 million bribe from one of Putin’s top associates. The high-profile trial was widely seen as part of infighting between Kremlin clans. Ulyukayev, now 68, was granted early release from prison in May 2022.

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