MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. The governor of Russia’s Far Eastern Sakhalin region, Alexander Khoroshavin, is suspected of taking a 1 million ruble ($16,000) bribe, the official spokesman of Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Vladimir Markin said three accomplices have been detained together with the governor.
A total of 10 searches in the Sakhalin region and five others in Moscow and the Moscow region have been conducted in line with the case in coordination with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) internal security department.
"In the Moscow apartment, the cottage and the residence of Khoroshavin a large amount of money in rubles and in foreign currency, as well as a lot of jewelry and expensive watches and mobile phones were seized," Markin said.
"The searches are ongoing now," he added.
Russia’s FSB director Alexander Bortnikov said earlier in the day the governor was detained as part of a routine corruption probe and it is up to the Investigative Committee to decide on the case.
Earlier reports said Khoroshavin and some of his close allies were detained on Tuesday and sent to Moscow for further investigation activities. Khoroshavin, 55, has been the governor of the island region since 2007.
Between 1996 and 2011, current and former governors of regions across Russia found themselves in the dock 17 times. The officials were most commonly accused of bribery, embezzlement, and well as abuse of power and tax evasion.
Until 2011, the verdicts to them were rather mild and those accused of bribery and embezzlement were granted amnesty or received suspended sentences. In eight court trials, such cases were either suspended due to the expiry of the period of limitation or the governors were simply acquitted.
In September 2011, ex-governor of the Tula region, Vyacheslav Dudka, was charged with bribery. During the landmark trial Dudka was handed a 9.5-year sentence and a fine, and was banned from taking government posts within three years after his release.
Since then, Russia's governors are dismissed due to "losing confidence." Last year, the governors of the Novosibirsk region and the Bryansk region, Vasily Yurchenko and Nikolay Denin, were sacked due to the loss of confidence.
According to official statistics, more than 300 Russian officials were removed from office in 2014 amid corruption investigations.