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Bribery Scandal Rocks Russian Defense Ministry

Daniel Kim Views  

Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister. Reuters/Yonhap News

Timur Ivanov, the Deputy Minister of Defense and a close associate of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, was indicted and detained on bribery charges on the 24th (local time).

According to TASS News Agency, the Moscow Basmanny District Court decided to detain Ivanov until June 23 as a preventive measure. The district court added that he is accused of accepting particularly large-scale bribes. Local media reported that Ivanov allegedly received a bribe of at least $13,500. If found guilty, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

As a result of the investigation, Ivanov is accused of conspiring with a third party, forming a team, and accepting bribes while handling defense ministry contracts and subcontracting tasks. Ivanov was responsible for asset management, military housing supply and mortgage business, construction of security facilities, and medical provision at the Ministry of Defense. He is also known to have been in charge of various military construction projects, including reconstructing war-torn Mariupol in Ukraine. Ivanov denies the charges of bribery, but authorities are tracking his assets. In connection with this, former senior defense official Sergey Borodin has also been indicted for conspiring with Ivanov and accepting a substantial bribe.

Local media outlets are focusing on the impact of Ivanov’s case on his direct superior, Defense Minister Shoigu. He was the vice governor when Shoigu briefly served as the governor of Moscow in 2012. Newsru predicts a cabinet reshuffle could occur after Russian President Vladimir Putin begins his fifth term following his inauguration on May 7. Reuters also reported that speculation arose about the power struggle within the Russian bureaucracy due to the sudden arrest of a close associate of Defense Minister Shoigu, who is commanding the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine.

There is speculation that Ivanov is being charged with treason. However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “It (the treason charge) has not been disclosed,” and emphasized, “Currently, various interpretations are emerging, but it is necessary to focus on official information.” He added, “Discussions that arise during the investigation are merely speculation.”

In 2019, American economic magazine Forbes named Ivanov as one of the wealthiest individuals in Russia’s security sector. At that time, his and his family’s annual income was estimated to be 1 $1.85 million. He has also been sanctioned by the European Union (EU), the United States, and other Western countries for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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