Authorities in Russia's Siberian region of Tomsk said Wednesday that they are investigating the misappropriation of almost $1 million worth of timber by a local district official.
The Investigative Committee said that Pervomaysk district head Mikhail Pristavka used his position in 2011 and 2012 to request that the regional forestry department cut down 9,700 cubic meters of timber, which he said would be used for municipal purposes.
Instead, the federally owned timber, estimated to be worth 30 million rubles ($911,000), was forwarded to two private companies, investigators said.
Pristavka is under investigation for three counts of abuse of authority, a charge punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Pristavka said Wednesday that he was not aware of any criminal cases against him and that he was only a witness in the investigation.