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Court declares Colonel Zakharchenko case secret, prolongs arrest till June 8

March 02, 18:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Zakharchenko, a former senior officer of the Russian Interior Ministry, is charged with abuse of office, obstruction of justice and investigation and bribe-taking

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MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The criminal case opened over the former deputy chief of Department T under the Interior Ministry’s Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Dmitry Zakharchenko, has been declared secret and his arrest prolonged till June 8, Judge Yelena Lenskaya has said.

Zakharchenko, a former senior officer of the Russian Interior Ministry, is charged with abuse of office, obstruction of justice and investigation and bribe-taking. On Thursday it was announced that he faces two more bribe-taking charges. The Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee is in charge of the investigation. Zakharchenko is under arrest at the Lefortovo detention prison.

As the court found out earlier Zakharchenko, had warned suspects in a Nota-bank embezzlement case of forthcoming searches.

Zakharchenko’s own home was searched and a large amount of cash in different currencies (8.5 billion rubles all in all) was seized. Zakharchenko said the apartment where the money was found belonged to his sister.

A source in the law enforcement earlier told TASS that Zakharchenko was detained and arrested in connection with the embezzlement of 26 billion rubles from Nota-bank.

Now he has been accused of two more instances of bribe-taking.

Zakharchenko told the court that one of the new charges involved an acquaintance of his, one Anatoly Pshegornitsky.

"Our conversation in the restaurant was recorded on tape. We knew about the tapping and our chat with Pshegornitsky was just a joke. No money changed hands in reality," he said.

"The other charge is connected with a different person but there is no evidence I got the money. There is no record of my questioning that might confirm that that man gave me any money. The investigators’ suspicions are very fishy," Zakharchenko said. "I find it rather strange that two different criminal proceedings have been launched on the same charges and that both cases have nothing but eavesdropping material to rely on. Before both men on tape said they had been under pressure. Now, as I have been able to see for myself, they were forced to make depositions against me," Zakharchenko said.

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