MOSCOW, July 3 (Itar-Tass) - Investigators have solid proof of the culpability of Yaroslavl mayor Yevgeny Urlashov, suspected of attempted bribe-taking, Investigative Committee /SK/ spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
Markin reminded that other suspects in the case are Urlashov's deputy Dmitry Donskov, head of the Town Hall agency for municipal procurements Maxim Poikalainen, mayor's advisor Alexei Lopatin, and a 34-year-old resident of the Yaroslavl region suspected of mediating a bribe.
"One of the suspects - Alexei Lopatin - is hiding from the investigators. It is planned to put him on the wanted list," the spokesman said.
The spokesman noted that "some politicians, without clarifying the situation, are trying to publicly put pressure on the investigators. They are actually forcing us to produce substantial reasons or evidence of Yaroslavl mayor Urlashov's involvement in the crime. Such evidence has already been presented, although it is not in the interests of investigation, and some proofs we'll show in the near future."
For example, the investigators have materials of operations, including audio and video recordings where "Urlashov personally writes the percentage he demands from a businessman as a "kickback." There are also telephone conversations in which he demands that his subordinates press the businessman for urgent payments, as "others are already paying," otherwise, he would not pay him for completed works. There's a video of a search in Urlashov's apartment where 500,000 U.S. dollars were found. The sum is considerable given the mayor's monthly salary of 100,000 roubles and an annual income of 130,000 roubles which he had declared before being elected to the post of mayor," Markin said.
Yet he noted that the mayor remained a suspect and that all the proofs would be carefully examined.
Expert examinations will be carried out within the probe. Fifteen searches have already been conducted and witnesses and suspects are being questioned.
"The investigative actions conform to all the requirements of the criminal procedural code," Markin assured.
He denied political motivation behind the case: "I suggest you listen attentively to Yevgeny Urlashov's conversations which have already been carried by the mass media, where he himself explains why he needs this money. The context makes it clear that he wants it certainly not for improving urban infrastructure."
After questioning the suspects, the investigators will consider selecting the measure of restraint for them.