Russian Deputy Defense Minister arrested on corruption charges

Press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense/AFP

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of accepting bribes.



CNN

a Russian The Deputy Defense Minister was accused of receiving a bribe, in the largest corruption scandal the country has witnessed since President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of the country. Ukraine More than two years ago.

Timur Ivanov He is suspected of accepting a bribe of 1 million rubles (at least $10,800), Russian state media agency TASS reported.

He appeared in a Moscow court on Wednesday, wearing full military uniform and standing in a glass cage, and was accused of receiving a bribe as part of an organized group while performing contracted work for the Defense Ministry. If convicted, he faces 15 years in prison.

The Moscow court wrote on the Telegram app that Ivanov will remain in detention in a pretrial detention center until at least June 23. His lawyer, Denis Baluyev, said he was appealing the case and requested that Ivanov be placed under house arrest instead, according to Russian state media RIA Novosti.

Ivanov, who has been in office since 2016, is seen as one of the chief architects of Russia's war in Ukraine and a close ally of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Ivanov is still listed on the Defense Ministry's website as a serving minister, and there are no reports of his dismissal.

The unexpected arrest of a Shoigu ally could put pressure back on the defense minister, who has been criticized for his handling of the Ukraine invasion — and more forcefully by the head of the Wagner Group. Yevgeny Prigozhin In the months before his death last year. Despite the setbacks, Putin kept Shoigu in office.

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Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov told CNN that this is in line with a “tactic” used by Russia's Federal Security Service, whereby it detains a high-ranking official in order to crack down on rule-breaking in a ministry, agency or organization as a whole. .

Soldatov said: “Now this deputy will be questioned extensively, not only about himself, and he is supposed to present incriminating evidence… against senior figures in the organization.”

Ivanov's responsibilities included the reconstruction of Mairopol, a city in southern Ukraine that was destroyed by Russian forces in a months-long siege at the beginning of the war. The minister was often seen cutting ribbons on various construction projects in the city, as Russia attempts to put a Potemkin façade on the city it has destroyed.

Zakharova Sveta/Instagram

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov is seen with his ex-wife, Svetlana Manovich, in a photo from Manovich's Instagram account.

His lavish lifestyle has earned him a reputation within Russia, and with it, scrutiny by the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF). Maria Pevchikh, head of the foundation, said Ivanov held “one of the most lucrative jobs one can have” in the Russian Defense Ministry, and claimed the invasion of Ukraine had made him much richer.

Last year, Pevchikh told CNN that Ivanov's wealth – including assets including a historic house in one of Moscow's most expensive areas – was being financed through corruption. The Russian Defense Ministry did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Ivanov after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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But his ex-wife Svetlana Manovichcontinued to live a life of European opulence: yachting in the Mediterranean, skiing in the Alps, and living in Paris.

In an investigation last year, Action Against Corruption pieced together a picture of a woman who had apparently escaped all scrutiny regarding the role Ivanov played in Ukraine, and the huge profits he allegedly reaped. Relying on a trove of 8,000 leaked emails, the investigation alleged that Manjovic spent more than $100,000 at a major Paris jewelry store on the famous Place Vendrum in March 2022, while the siege of Mariupol was tightening.

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