The Investigative Committee appears to be winning a turf war with the Prosecutor General's Office, arresting two former senior Moscow region prosecutors and targeting 10 others, a news report said Wednesday.
Former prosecutors Dmitry Urumov and Vladimir Glebov have been detained as part of an investigation into an illegal gambling ring in the Moscow region that investigators say was protected by local prosecutors and senior police officers, Kommersant
The report did not identify the other suspects but said investigations against them were based on testimony from the gambling ring's suspected mastermind, Ivan Nazarov, and his associate Alla Guseva.
Nazarov and Guseva were detained in February, but charges against them were dropped after they agreed to testify against officials involved in the gambling ring, the report said.
Both will now be witnesses under state protection, not suspects in the criminal case, Nazarov's former lawyer, Alexander Dobrovinsky, told Kommersant.
The Investigative Committee did not comment on the report. An inquiry submitted to the committee Wednesday afternoon went unanswered.
Two other former Moscow region prosecutors implicated in the illegal gambling ring, Alexander Ignatenko and Eduard Kaplun, were earlier put on a federal wanted list.
Also wanted in connection with the case is Valentina Spirina, the owner of a local restaurant whose banking account received monthly transfers of 200,000 to 300,000 rubles ($7,000 to $11,000) from the gambling ring for unclear purposes, Kommersant said.
One of Spirina's daughters is married to wanted prosecutor Ignatenko and the other to Yury Sindeyev, a department head at the Prosecutor General's Office who Kommersant said was also an associate of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. Chaika's son, Artyom Chaika, was briefly implicated in the gambling case in March.
Spirina moved to Ukraine after the Investigative Committee unsuccessfully sought a Moscow region court to authorize a search of her apartment, the report said. It did not specify when she had left the country but speculated that the case against her might be an attempt by investigators to cause trouble for top brass at the Prosecutor General's Office.
The Investigative Committee used to be a part of the Prosecutor General's Office, and a simmering conflict between the two spilled into the open after they were separated into independent agencies in January.
The Investigative Committee says the gambling case has been in the works since 2009, although it only announced it in February. The Prosecutor General's Office has since made numerous attempts to close related criminal cases against its officials, but its efforts did not prevent the Moscow region's top prosecutor, Alexander Mokhov, and several subordinates from being fired.
President Dmitry Medvedev has twice berated both agencies for allowing the clash to go public.