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Moscow Court Extends Detention of Ex-Deputy Defense Minister Ivanov

Former Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov. Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

A Moscow Court on Thursday extended the pre-trial detention of former Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, who was arrested in late April and then later charged with accepting a bribe of more than 1 billion rubles ($11.4 million) while he oversaw military construction projects.

Moscow’s Basmanny Court approved a request from investigators to hold Ivanov, an ally of former Defense Minister and current Russian Security Council head Sergei Shoigu, in police custody until Sept. 23, exactly five months after his arrest — the first in a subsequent crackdown against top defense officials.

The former deputy defense minister faces up to 15 years on corruption charges, which investigators say center around a “criminal conspiracy” to accept funds “in the form of property services during contracting and subcontracting work for the defense ministry.” Ivanov denies the allegations

Businessman Sergei Borodin, who is accused of having helped Ivanov receive bribes, appeared alongside the former defense official in the closed-door court hearing Thursday. The judge ruled to have him held in pre-trial detention as well.

During Thursday’s hearing, Ivanov confirmed for the first time that he had been dismissed as deputy defense minister following his arrest nearly two months ago. 

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.

Bribery cases, unlike those concerning issues of national security and state secrets, are not usually held behind closed doors. 

Independent Russian media, citing anonymous sources, previously reported that Invanov is suspected of state treason. The Kremlin dismissed the reports as “speculation.”

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