MOSCOW, July 3 (Itar-Tass) - The mayor of Yaroslavl Yevgeny Urlashev, who was detained on suspicion of extorting a bribe, has denied all the accusations.
"Nothing has been confiscated from me; they just looked, searched the places of almost all of my deputies, but found nothing," Urlashev said on "Dozhd" television. Urlashev claims that a complaint about the alleged extortion of a bribe was lodged by someone whom Urlashev has criticized for poor road maintenance and city cleaning. "This is a political game connected with the September 8 election," Urlashev declared.
A source from the Russian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass that Urlashev and his three deputies were suspected of extorting bribes totally worth 45 million roubles.
The investigation claims the mayor and his deputies had demanded a bribe worth 14 million roubles from a director of a commercial company since last December 2012 until July 2, 2013.
Criminal proceedings have been instituted on bribery charges. Urlashev and his deputies - Dmitry Donskov, Maxim Poikalainen and the mayor’s adviser, Alexei Lopatin, face criminal charges for heavy bribery on preliminary conspiracy.
Urlashev is a former member of the United Russia party. In the forthcoming election to the legislative assembly of the Yaroslavl region due on September 8 Urlashev intended to head the regional party ticket of the Civic Platform party headed by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
Secretary of the United Russia General Council Sergei Neverov pointed out that law enforcers should have "tangible reasons for the mayor's arrest." "Even if such reasons are announced and brought to the notice of the society the situation looks very strange and simply inadmissible in the run-up to the forthcoming election," Neverov said.
Civic Platform leader Mikhail Prokhorov demanded that law enforcers should give a public explanation why such tough measures had been taken against the head of the city administration.
"A demonstrative arrest of the city leader elected by the people was a blow to the civil rights and freedoms of every resident in Russia," Prokhorov declared.