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    Russian Energy Ministry Official Charged


The deputy energy minister is accused of siphoning off funds designated for the creation of an IT system.

by: Joe Murphy

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Russian Energy Ministry Official Charged

A Russian deputy energy minister has been charged with embezzling over rubles 600mn ($8mn) in state funds, the Investigative Committee of Russia announced on September 10.

Anatoly Tikhonov, one of eight deputies serving under energy minister Alexander Novak, is accused of appropriating funds designated for creating a new IT system, investigators said. He was detained after interrogation on September 8.

The funds were stolen between 2013 and 2015 while Tikhonov headed the Russian Energy Agency, according to Russian business paper Kommersant. His advisor Roman Ryzhkov and the vice presidents of a company called Lanit, Vladimir Makarov and Viktor Serebryakov, were also involved in the scheme and have been detained, investigators said.

A number of senior officials have been arrested on corruption charges in recent years, although political analysts say these charges are often made if individuals fall foul of rivals in Russia's power circles. Former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev was convicted of bribery and jailed in 2017. Media reports at the time claimed the minister was the victim of a sting operation because he opposed state oil company Rosneft's acquisition of mid-sized producer Bashneft in a so-called privatisation sale.