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For Selling Tank, Ex-Official Is Fined $18,000

A court in Rostov has fined a former deputy head of the region 550,000 rubles ($18,000) for unlawfully trying to sell a tank for 4.5 million rubles, a news report said Monday.

"The court found Ivan Boichenko guilty of a criminal act and issued him punishment in the form of a 550,000 ruble fine," RIA-Novosti cited a court spokesperson as saying. The sentence has not yet come into force, he said.

The spokesperson added that Boichenko, who's already confessed his guilt, petitioned for a special procedure for hearing the case that issues the verdict without presenting evidence. In addition, the court determines the sentence, which can't surpass two-thirds of the maximum sentence stipulated by the Criminal Code.

Investigators say a businessman appealed to Boichenko on Sept. 15, 2011, and said he wanted to purchase a T-44 tank. Realizing that the tank was ownerless, Boichenko decided to sell it for 7 million rubles.

To make his actions seem legally valid, Boichenko suggested that the two sign a fictitious contract for the supposed restoration of the tank. In exchange for that, the businessman was supposed to get a T-34 tank and present it to the administration as a gift.

Boichenko demanded that the 4.5 million ruble price difference between the two tanks be paid in cash. He was detained by police in October 2011 while making the exchange.

He has been accused of fraud and abuse of office, which carry maximum punishments of six years and four years, respectively.

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