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VELIKY NOVGOROD, June 20 (Itar-Tass) - The Novgorod region court on Wednesday upheld the arrest of first deputy governor of the Novogord region Arnold Shalmuyev, accused of involvement in a 35-million-rouble fraud in a road repair project, a spokeswoman for the court told Itar-Tass.
However, the court's criminal panel changed the resolution by the Novgorod district court which initially extended Shalmuyev's arrest to October 1. The official will remain in custody until September 4, spokeswoman Svetlana Maslova said.
On April 8, the Investigative Committee charged him under Articles 159, 179 and 286 of Russia’s penal code /grand fraud committed by an organized group, blackmail and exceeding authority/.
SK spokesman Vladimir Markin earlier said the investigators believe "it was Shalmuyev who played the key role in masterminding the theft of road maintenance funds in the region." Seven more suspects were placed under arrest, and two are wanted by police.
In 2011-2012, the suspects set up a criminal group in the region, which comprised officials, business persons and two district legislators including a criminal leader. As a result of their concerted actions, a 357-million-rouble road repairs contract went to Veche, a firm they controlled.
As of now, the investigators ascertained that ten percent of the sum had been embezzled. Although the remaining part of money was disbursed, the region's network of roads is still in lamentable condition. In this connection, the SK will check the effectiveness of the use of federal money by the Veche firm, Markin said.
Regional leader Sergei Mitin said Shalmuyev would formally keep his post until the end of the probe. "He will remain listed as deputy governor until he comes back and we terminate the contract in accordance with the Civil Code. Or there will be a court's ruling," Mitin said. The governor noted that Shalmuyev had not been included in the regional government formed after Shalmuyev's arrest.