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Defence ministry official accused of corruption pleads not guilty

May 15, 2012, 17:49 UTC+3
The defendants' lawyers said they believed the trial would run fast
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MOSCOW, May 15 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow District Military Court /MOVS/ began substantive hearings on Tuesday of the case against two former Defence Ministry officials, accused of corruption.

After the prosecutor read the indictment, former head of the Ministry's main medical department /GVMU/ Maj-Gen Alexander Belevitin pleaded not guilty to the charges, but his deputy Col Alexei Nikitin pleaded guilty.

The defendants' lawyers said they believed the trial would run fast. "We'll be trying to make sure that the court passed an unbiased and legitimate verdict," they said.

The MOVS refused to meet the petitions by the defendants' lawyers to hold the trial in camera and release Belevitin and Nikitin on bail. Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin earlier said there had been "attempts to obstruct the probe."

The officials received 180,000 euros /7 million roubles/ from representatives of two commercial firms for their assistance in concluding state contracts for the supplies of tomographs to the Defence Ministry.

"Experts said the equipment had been purchased at overstated prices for 187 million roubles, which caused a 51-million-rouble damage to the state," the investigators said.

The preliminary investigation was conducted by personnel of the main military investigator’s office for ten months. During this time, the investigators conducted 100 questionings and 30 expert examinations.

The SK enlisted the help of specialists from offices of Philips Medical Systems, Siemens AG and General Electric.

The criminal case comprises 54 volumes.


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