20 Feb 2020 21:50

Court upholds arrest of Deputy Chief of General Staff Arslanov

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) - The Second Western District Military Court on Thursday ruled that the detention of Deputy Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Col. Gen. Khalil Arslanov, who was arrested in connection with 6.7-billion-ruble embezzlement, was legal.

"The ruling by the 235th garrison military court of February 7, 2020 in respect of Arslanov is to remain unchanged and the defense appeal without satisfaction," the judge ruled.

Defense lawyer Anton Antonov had asked the judge to release Arslanov under a travel ban or 550,000 ruble bail.

Numerous audits of government contracts carried out between 2012 and 2019 show no evidence of Arslanov's wrongdoing during equipment delivery to the armed forces, Antonov said.

The lawyer wanted to include as a personal characterization Arslanov's order and credentials, including the Zhukov order and a letter to the Russian leadership from residents of his home village in the Ulyanovsk region, asking to protect the general from criminal prosecution. Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov provided a positive character reference. Five military generals, including Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Head of Engineering Troops Yury Stavitsky, agreed to act as surety.

Arslanov told the court that he was being "secretly spied on." "All charges made against me are of a descriptive nature. [. . .] I need an operation. I ask that the ruling be overturned and that I be allowed to receive medical assistance," he said.

The investigator, Sergei Peshkov, and the military prosecutor objected to Arslanov's release from custody.

On February 7, the 235th Garrison Military Court remanded Arslanov in custody until April 7, 2020.

As reported earlier, he has been indicted on two counts of especially massive fraud amounting in total to nearly 6.7 billion rubles "for misappropriating 191,437,536 rubles and at least 6.5 billion rubles during the implementation of a state contract."

Arslanov pleaded not guilty.

Court filings indicate that the criminal case in which Arslanov is charged was opened on August 6, 2013, and concerns embezzlement during the conclusion of a state contract for the servicing and maintenance of special military hardware.

The list of suspects in the case includes chief of the directorate of contracts for enhancing the technical foundation of the Armed Forces control system Pavel Kutakhov, chief of the 1st directorate of the Armed Forces Main Communications Directorate Maj. Gen. Alexander Ogloblin, plus a number of other suspects detained in 2017: former general director of Voentelecom Davydov, his first deputy Oleg Savitsky, his advisor Dmitry Semiletov, and ErSiAi General Director Tatyana Ilyina.

Sources told the media that the investigation is able to prosecute Arslanov due to cooperation from other suspects.