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Chaika Trumpets Efforts to Fight Graft

Prosecutors stepped up their efforts to crack down on corruption during the first half of the year, opening 6 percent more criminal cases compared to the first six months of 2012, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said Tuesday.

Corruption is thriving in areas like government spending for goods and services, he said at a meeting of the Prosecutor General's Office to review the results of its work in the first half of the year.

The general level of crime fell by 4 percent in the first six months of this year, but Chaika said that the crime situation is still complicated, noting that crimes levels can be underreported. Despite a general decline of the crime rate across the country prosecutors found violations in a number of industries, including forestry, the labor market and utilities.

First Deputy Prosecutor Alexander Buksman pointed out that the prosecutor's office particularly saw problems in the housing sector and had received claims of hiked-up utility tariffs, poor services from those in charge of maintenance works and the low quality of housing renovation.

Overall, prosecutors revealed over 5.2 million law violations in the first half of 2013, with nearly 500,000 people facing penalties, Chaika said.

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