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Russian Defense Ministry Official Detained on Bribery Charges

Another high-ranking official from the Russian Defense Ministry has been apprehended on allegations of bribery, as confirmed by the country’s Investigative Committee on Tuesday.

Lieutenant-General Yury Kuznetsov, who leads the Defense Ministry’s personnel directorate, has been placed in pre-trial detention for purportedly engaging in large-scale bribery, according to the Investigative Committee, responsible for probing significant criminal offenses.

Investigators claim that between 2021 and 2023, during his tenure as the head of the 8th Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Kuznetsov accepted bribes from commercial enterprises in exchange for unspecified favors.

The Investigative Committee disclosed that searches conducted at Kuznetsov’s residence and registered address yielded over 100 million rubles’ worth ($1.09 million) of Russian and foreign currency, gold coins, collectible watches, and luxury items, all of which were seized.

Kuznetsov’s arrest follows the recent detention of Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, a close associate of ousted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, on bribery allegations. President Vladimir Putin replaced Shoigu with former First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov just last Sunday.

According to unnamed law enforcement sources cited by the news agency, the case against Kuznetsov is being supervised by the Investigative Committee’s main military investigation directorate.

According to anonymous sources cited by the Kommersant business daily, Kuznetsov is suspected of accepting “an especially large bribe,” a crime similar to the one for which Ivanov has been indicted, carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.

President Vladimir Putin appointed Kuznetsov as head of the Defense Ministry’s personnel directorate in May 2023, more than a year into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Before his appointment, Kuznetsov served as the head of the 8th Directorate of the General Staff, as indicated by his biography on the Defense Ministry website, which remained accessible as of early Tuesday.

Both TASS and Kommersant pointed out that the 8th Directorate oversees the Defense Ministry’s service for the protection of state secrets.

The pro-war Telegram channel Rybar, believed to have ties with Russia’s military, associated Kuznetsov’s arrest with his prior role within the Defense Ministry.

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