Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Accused of Bribery

A third suspect was detained by Moscow’s court service last Thursday in connection to an ongoing bribery case against Russia’s deputy defense minister.

Alexander Fomin, the co-owner of construction company Olimpsitistroy, was taken into custody on April 25 on suspicion of offering a bribe to Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov.

Ivanov and another man, Sergei Borodin, were detained the day before.

According to the Investigative Committee, Moscow’s top law enforcement agency, the 48-year-old deputy defense minister allegedly received a “particularly large bribe” and would remain in detention during the investigation and trial.

Sergei Borodin and Alexander Fomin are accused of facilitating the bribe.

All three will remain in custody at least until late June.

As deputy defense minister, Timur Ivanov was responsible for overseeing military construction projects. A previous investigation conducted by Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption group found that Ivanov lived a very lavish lifestyle far beyond what his position could afford him.

The Investigative Committee also determined that Alexander Fomin’s construction company did not pay for goods or services related to repair and reconstruction work done on buildings.

The court alleges that Ivanov conspired with others to obtain free construction and repair work done on properties he owned in exchange for helping construction companies obtain contracts and subcontracts with the Defense Ministry.

Ivanov said in a statement through his attorney that he was innocent of the charges.

Speaking to reporters last Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said both President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had been informed about Ivanov’s arrest. He assured reporters that the construction projects overseen by Ivanov would continue.

When asked about reports that the bribery charges against Ivanov were a cover for more serious charges including treason, Peskov warned reporters not to listen to rumors but “rely on official information.”

The massive reconstruction of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which was flattened by Russian bombs early in the war, was one of the projects overseen by Timur Ivanov.

The deputy defense minister is also one of the Russian officials sanctioned by both the US and European Union after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.