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Russia arrests another senior Defence Ministry official for graft

May 15, 2024 00:00:00

MOSCOW, May 14 (AP): Russian authorities arrested another senior Defense Ministry official on charges of bribery, authorities said Tuesday, days after President Vladimir Putin replaced the defense minister in a Cabinet shake-up and amid expectations of further purges at the ministry.

The Investigative Committee, Russia's top law enforcement body, wrote in a statement that Lt. Gen. Yury Kuznetsov, the chief of the ministry's main personnel directorate, was arrested on charges of bribery and placed in custody pending investigation and trial.

Kuznetsov is accused of accepting an exceptionally large bribe, a charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison, the statement said. The official's home and other properties were searched, the Investigative Committee reported, and the authorities seized gold coins, luxury items and 100 million rubles (just over $1 million) in cash.

Putin replaced Sergei Shoigu as defense minister Sunday in a Cabinet shakeup that comes as he begins his fifth term in office, moving him to a new post as secretary of Russia's Security Council.

He proposed Andrei Belousov, a top economic official, to take over as defense minister. Many expect Belousov to carry out further purges.

Belousov's candidacy needs to be approved by the upper house of Russia's parliament, but it is widely seen as a formality.

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