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Moscow court finds police colonel Zakharchenko guilty of corruption

The sentence will be announced later
Dmitry Zakharchenko Sergei Savostyanov/TASS
Dmitry Zakharchenko
© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. Russian police colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko, who headed an anti-corruption unit at the Interior Ministry, has been found guilty on two counts of taking large-scale bribes and obstructing justice, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

Moscow’s Presnensky court has started reading the text of the verdict and will later announce the sentence.

"Zakharchenko, who was an official, received a bribe in the form of providing property-related services," Judge Elena Abramova said, noting that Zakharchenko also committed a crime with the goal of "obstructing an unbiased investigation."

The public prosecutor had demanded sentencing Zakharchenko to 15 years and six months in a maximum-security colony and ordering him to pay a fine to the tune of 495 mln rubles ($7.6 mln). She also asked to strip Zakharchenko of his rank and state awards. The lawyers insisted that their client was innocent and should be acquitted.

Zakharchenko case

Zakharchenko was arrested in September 2016 on charges of bribe-taking and abuse of office. During the search of his apartments, some 9 bln rubles ($139 mln) in various currencies were found. According to investigators, in 2014 Zakharchenko and his accomplice initiated checks at a number of enterprises belonging to the owner of the La Mare restaurant Mehdi Douss. He was forced to pay a $800,000 bribe instead of $5 mln, which was originally demanded. Maj. Gen. Alexei Laushkin and FSB Col. Dmitry Senin acted as mediators during the bribe handover operation.

In 2015, Zakharchenko and his accomplice demanded that Douss give them a 50% discount in his restaurant in exchange for protection. Using this card, Zakharchenko saved more than 3 mln rubles ($46,000) when visiting these restaurants, what investigators considered as a bribe. In 2016, Zakharchenko took advantage of his position and obstructed justice by notifying finance director at Nota-Bank Galina Marchukova about the upcoming searches in the organization.