VOLGOGRAD, January 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Volgograd regional court on Thursday began the trial of four former road police officers accused of using an extortion scheme on drivers and subordinates.
Commander of 2nd road police battalion Oleg Kirpa, checkpoints directors Yevgeny Perepelitsa and Alexander Karasev and platoon commander Alexander Bondarenko are in the prisoner's dock. The criminal case against another platoon commander, Sergei Novak, will be reviewed under special procedure, in accordance with plea bargain agreement on February 13.
All the defendants are accused of taking bribes and extortion as members on an organized group. The maximum penalty for this crime is ten years in jail. The defendants are under house arrest.
Prosecutor Yulia Puzenko read the indictment. "The investigators ascertained that in the spring of 2010, road police battalion commander Kirpa set up a criminal group, with the view of extorting bribes from the inspectors subordinate to him, in exchange for general patronage and connivance at work. The group included the middle chain of command of his battalion: checkpoints directors Yevgeny Perepelitsa and Alexander Karasayev and platoon commanders Sergei Novak and Alexander Bondarenko.
"From the spring of 2010 through January 2011, the checkpoint directors and platoon commanders took at least 300,000 roubles of monthly bribes from rank and file road police officers of the 120-strong battalion, threatening them with dismissals or problems in service.
The criminal activity involved almost all road police on the M-6 /Moscow-Volgograd/ highway.
The money was taken to Kirpa, who distributed it between the members of the criminal group. In all, Kirpa and his group took some five million roubles of bribes.
The group's activity was stopped by agents of the regional department of the federal Security Service on January 26, 2011, in the course of a special operation.
Earlier, the Investigative committee told Tess that taking into account the fact that road police officers who were bribe givers, reported the fact of crime of their own accord, criminal proceedings against them were dropped. However, a request was forwarded to the Interior Ministry to consider relieving them of their duties.