26 Sep 2017 10:58

Russian Defense Ministry official arrested for taking record bribe from businessmen - newspaper

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax-AVN) - The Main Military Investigative Department of the Russian Investigative Committee is probing a record bribe taken by an official of the Russian Defense Ministry, the newspaper Kommersant said on Tuesday.

"According to materials in the proceeding, Col. Alexander Vakulin, head of the technical support division in the Russian Defense Ministry's food department, accepted 368 million rubles in exchange for support to contracts on the delivery of kitchens, bakeries, cisterns and other special equipment to the Defense Ministry; lots of funds were embezzled in the course of the fulfillment of those contracts," the newspaper said.

In addition, the colonel "promised preferential treatment" of the businessmen involved in those deals, it said.

Vitaly Danilov, senior investigator of high-profile cases from the Third Investigative Division of the Main Military Investigative Department of the Russian Investigative Committee, who used to investigate cases of embezzlement in Oboronservice and was awarded the Badge of Honor on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Russian Investigative Committee observed recently, is supervising the probe into the case of Vakulin, 46, informed sources told Kommersant. "It was Col. Danilov who recommended that the 235th Garrison Military Court put Col. Vakulin in a detention center for the period until October 29, 2017, on the counts of major fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Russian Criminal Code) and major bribe (Part 6, Article 290 of the Russian Criminal Code), the newspaper said.

The officer's lawyers appealed the order in the Moscow District Military Court. "According to them, materials in the proceeding do not indicate that Col. Vakulin may escape from detectives or the court, continue his criminal activity, threaten witnesses or other parties to the proceeding, destroy evidence, or hinder the proceeding in any other way. In the opinion of the defense team, the investigative results which enabled the 235th court to arrest Col. Vakulin 'were not supported with credible evidence'. However, the district court turned down the appeal and said that Mr. Vakulin was accused of two grave crimes, and the entire information about his personality, place of work, and family was taken into account by the garrison court at the moment of his arrest," the newspaper said.

"Neither members of Mr. Vakulin's defense team, nor other parties to the high-profile criminal case in the Russian Investigative Committee's Main Military Investigative Department were available to Kommersant for comment yesterday. The Defense Ministry also abstained from comment," the newspaper said.