Ex-Prosecutor Cleared to Name Names

The Investigative Committee scored another victory in a turf war with the Prosecutor General's Office on Friday when a Moscow court authorized a plea bargain for a suspect who might implicate prosecutors in a gambling scandal.

Dmitry Urumov, a former Moscow region prosecutor, was detained in May and asked to testify against colleagues in exchange for a milder sentence. But prosecutors tried to block the plea bargain, saying Urumov had not disclosed all the information he was required to reveal under the agreement.

But the Tverskoi District Court canceled the ban Friday, the RAPSI judicial news web site said. The Prosecutor General's Office still has to approve the plea bargain and may try to block it again, but is unlikely to do so because it has no other legal arguments to do so, Kommersant reported, citing Urumov's lawyer Yury Mikhailov.

Representatives of neither agency have commented on the development.

The Investigative Committee, separated from the Prosecutor General's Office in January after years of tension, has accused Moscow region prosecutors of protecting a network of illegal casinos in exchange for perks.

"Urumov is ready to name all the members of the criminal gang, which consists of more than eight officials from the regional prosecutor's office and is headed by former Moscow region deputy prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko," the judge said, Kommersant reported. Ignatenko is currently on an international wanted list.

Urumov's testimony may result in officials from the Prosecutor General's Office being implicated in the case. The Investigative Committee said in March that Artyom Chaika, son of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, acted as a middleman between the prosecutors and the gambling network's management, but the accusation was retracted after a rebuke from President Dmitry Medvedev.

Urumov's testimony may not be made public, because both agencies will try to keep their battle "under the rug" ahead of the State Duma elections in December, said Olga Mefodyeva, an analyst with the Central for Political Technologies.

"It is a fight within the elite, and both parties are not interested in making the situation public," Mefodyeva said by telephone Friday.

The turf war might even cost Chaika and Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin their positions after the presidential election in March, said Alexander Shatilov, an analyst with the Center for Current Politics.

The conflict harms the authorities' popularity, Shatilov said, adding that the general public, which has only gotten a limited insight into the conflict, sees both agencies as corrupt, which is bad for the elections.

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