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U.S. Citizen on Trial in Russia for $7M Bribe

Alexander Gubin / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A U.S. citizen is on trial for offering a high-ranking post in Russia’s Far East to a Muscovite in exchange for $7 million.

The Kommersant business daily named the U.S. national as George Hager (born in Belarus as Georgy Korobochkin) in 2016. It wrote that Hager was one of four co-conspirators who allegedly offered a post in the newly-created auction house at the Federal Fisheries Agency to a businessman named A.K. Burtsev.

Burtsev reportedly agreed to the $7-million bribe to be paid out in installments while simultaneously turning to the Federal Security Service, Kommersant reported.

The Prosecutor General’s Office reported Wednesday that the suspects conspired to defraud Burtsev with an accomplice who is being tried separately. “The partners developed a plan and assigned roles to each other,” the office said in an online statement.

“Working in concert, they persistently persuaded the man that, using their extensive contacts with high-ranking state officials, [...] they would be able to secure his appointment to a senior position,” the office said.

The City Prosecutor’s Office has indicted Hager, alongside three Russian nationals, on charges of large-scale fraud and attempted crime.

The suspects received $300,000 from the aspiring official between April and May 2016, the prosecution said. One of the accomplices was detained in a sting operation at a central Moscow cafe on May 24, 2016, leading to the detention of the others. Kommersant wrote that Hager was the first to be detained.

The case has been forwarded to a Moscow court.

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