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VimpelCom Russia’s ex-CEO arrested in absentia

September 15, 18:04 UTC+3
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SYKTYVKAR, September 15. /TASS/. Mikhail Slobodin, the former head of the Russian unit of the global telecommucation company VimpelCom Ltd, was arrested in absentia on Thursday by the city court of Syktyvkar, the capital of Russia’s Komi Republic, Ivan Lodygin, an assistant to the chairman of the court, told TASS.

The arrest warrant was issued in connection with suspicious payments of more than 800 million rubles ($12.3 million) to former top officials in the Komi Republic.

"Syktyvkar city court judge Valentina Trofimova has issued a ruling to arrest in absentia the former head of VimpelCom Mikhail Slobodin, thus fulfilling the investigators’ request. As soon as Slobodin’s whereabouts are established, he will be detained and taken into custody for two months," Lodygin stated.

According to him, an international warrant for Slobodin’s arrest was issued on September 12. Earlier a federal warrant had been issued.

Two suspects in the bribe case, the head of the T Plus company (part of Renova Group of companies) Boris Vainzikher, and co-owner of Renova Group Yevgeny Olkhovik were detained for two months on September 7 on suspicion of giving a bribe of more than 800 million rubles ($12.3 million) to the former leadership of the Komi Republic (article 291 paragraph 5 of the Russian Criminal Code).

According to the investigators, in 2007-2014 the suspects, acting in the service of KAS CJSC (later reorganized into "T Plus" OJSC), handed over to several top officials of the Komi Republic cash assets in exchange for the most beneficial thermoelectric power prices. The bribe total is estimated at 800 million rubles ($12.3 million). The investigators have directly linked the top-managers’ case to the case of the former head of the Komi Republic Vyacheslav Gaizer, arrested last year.

The Komi Republic investigative authorities of the Russian Investigation Committee have initiated criminal proceedings against the suspects under paragraph 5 of article 291 of Russian Criminal Code ("Attempted bribe in especially big amount").

The Komi Investigation Department of the Russian Investigation Committee that has been looking into the "T Plus" case still refrains from commenting on it.

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