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Arrested Russian Deputy Defense Minister Accused of Accepting $12 Mln Bribe, Lawyer Says

Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov in court.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov has been accused of accepting a bribe “in the form of services” valued at more than 1 billion rubles ($12.2 million), Russian media reported Wednesday.

Ivanov, 48, faces up to 15 years in prison for large-scale bribe-taking, which investigators say centers around a “criminal conspiracy” to accept funds “in the form of property services during the course of contracting and subcontracting work for the Defense Ministry.” 

Ivanov, who is viewed as a close ally of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, has denied the allegations.

His attorney Murad Musayev told the state-run TASS news agency that the services his client was accused of accepting were “the cost of work and the materials spent on it,” all valued at around 1.12 billion rubles.

“The criminal case is related to construction. A number of Defense Ministry contractors are alleged to have built certain facilities for Ivanov, which we emphasize is not true,” Musayev said without elaborating.

Ivanov oversaw construction, housing, property management, mortgages, and procurement for the Russian military. He was credited with seeing through the construction of the Defense Ministry’s military-themed Patriot Park, the Armed Forces’ Main Cathedral on the park’s grounds, as well as the reconstruction of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after its siege and occupation.

“Apparently the root of this case is in media publications from around a year ago compromising him,” Musayev told state media, seemingly referring to investigative reports alleging the deputy defense minister and his family acquired vast wealth through kickbacks on military contracts.

On Wednesday, the Moscow City Court held an appeal hearing behind closed doors, in which it rejected Ivanov’s request to be placed under house arrest. A court spokesperson told reporters that Musayev had sought unsuccessfully to open the hearing to the public, according to the independent news website Mediazona.

The Moscow City Court court also upheld a previous ruling to keep the deputy defense minister in pre-trial detention until June 23. 

Bribery cases, unlike national security trials including treason and espionage, are not usually held behind closed doors.

Russia’s independent investigative news outlet IStories cited two anonymous sources as saying that Ivanov was also suspected of state treason. The Kremlin dismissed the report as “speculation.”

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