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Lawyer of former Tula region governor insists on his innocence

July 16, 2013, 16:39 UTC+3

The prosecutor said Dudka and Volkov's actions "undermine people's trust in the state"

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MOSCOW, July 16 (Itar-Tass) - A prosecutor has demanded 9.5 years and a 900,000-rouble fine for former Tula region governor Vyacheslav Dudka, accused of taking a 40-million-rouble bribe.

"The guilt of the defendant is fully proven," the prosecutor for the state said at the trial on Tuesday.

He also demanded that Dudka be stripped of his title "honorary citizen of Tula," and all the orders of honor. The prosecutor insists on a four-year jail term and a 400,000-rouble fine for Dudka's accomplice, former director of the regional department for property and land relations Viktor Volkov. The prosecutor asked the court to take into account Volkov's turning himself in, confession of guilt and assistance in exposing the crime.

The prosecutor said Dudka and Volkov's actions "undermine people's trust in the state." He underlined that the prosecutors and the investigators had carefully checked all the versions offered by Dudka and that none of them could be confirmed.

Volkov's lawyer Oleg Ponkratov asked the court to soften the charges against his client from "taking a bribe," to "abetting a bribe." The defendant acted as an accomplice, and the crime was not carried through, the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, the lawyers of the former governor, Vladimir Zherebyonkov and Igor Korotkov, insisted on Dudka's innocence and asked the court to acquit him.

"Dudka has absolutely nothing to do with the 40 million roubles, and Volkov’s testimony is far-fetched; simply he's lying," Zherebyonkov stated at the Tuesday hearing.

Korotkov noted that Dudka's non-involvement in taking the bribe was obvious and proven at the trial. He also noted that the prosecutors had referred to inadmissible evidence, which the court should annul and take out of case materials. One of such proofs is the result of the psycho-linguistic expert examination. "Specialists did not conduct the study objectively, basing it on personal and domestic assumptions," he stated.

As for Volkov's testimony at the trial, Korotkov dismissed it saying "he is trying to minimize his responsibility by slandering my client."

Criminal proceedings against Dudka were opened under Article 290, Part 4 of Russia's Criminal Code (taking a large bribe by a group of persons in collusion or organized group). It envisions a penalty of 7 to 12 years in jail, with a possible fine of up to one million roubles.

The investigators said Dudka, together with the regional land and property department chief Viktor Volkov, passed a 2.5-hectare land plot to the GRINN corporation for the construction of a supermarket. The intermediary in taking the bribe from managing director of the GRINN Corporation private company Dmitry Dobrynin was Tula Parks state company director Andrei Stepanov.

Dudka, a former troubleshooter at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident and a participant in designing and testing military equipment, was Tula region governor from April 29, 2005, through July 29, 2011. He replaced his predecessor Vasily Starodubtsev.

On August 29, 2011, Dudka was expelled from the United Russia Party for "actions discrediting the Party and damaging its political interests," after he demanded compensation for his voluntary resignation.

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