MOSCOW: Russian law enforcement officers have detained Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin was informed of the detention of the high-ranking official, a rare move amid the offensive in Ukraine, Russian state-media reported.

Anti-corruption activists have for years criticised what they call widespread corruption under Putin’s rule.

“Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Timur Vadimovich Ivanov has been detained on suspicion of committing a crime under Part 6 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code (taking a bribe),” the committee said on Telegram.

The committee did not give any more details.

The offence is punishable by a large fine or over a decade in prison depending on the details of the crime.

Ivanov is already under sanction from the European Union as the defence ministry’s top official in charge of construction of military facilities. He was the subject of an investigation published in 2022 by the banned Anti-Corruption Foundation — created by late opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

It said the deputy minister oversaw and allegedly profited from the construction projects in Ukraine’s Mariupol, which fell under Moscow’s control after a months-long siege.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2024

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