CORRUPTION WATCH: Mayor of Russia's Vladivostok arrested in graft probe

By bne IntelliNews June 1, 2016

The mayor of the Russian Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, Igor Pushkarev, has been arrested for bribery and abuse of office, federal officials said on June 1.

Pushkarev, 42, was taken into custody together with Andrei Lushnikov, the head of Vladivostok Roads, the municipal road-building authority, TASS reported, citing the spokesman of the Federal Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin.

According to Markin, between 2009-14 Pushkarev purchased through Vladivostok Roads building materials from a local supplier "headed and controlled by close relatives of the mayor", causing the company damages of RUB158mn (around $5mn at the time) and running up a related debt of RUB800mn (then $26mn). The mayor himself received at least $1.5mn from the purchases and paid Lushnikov backhanders worth some $450,000, Markin said.

"Just one small detail charaterises the permissiveness, impunity and scope of [the actions] - a helipad was built in the water protection zone of Lake Khanka [by the border with China]  just for his vacation purposes," the spokesman told TASS.

Overall, Pushkarev caused more than RUB160mn damage to the federal budget, according to the FSB intelligence service, the news agency said.

Pushkarev has been mayor of Vladivoistok since 2008. Shortly before his arrest, he won a by-election to run for the parliament of the Primorye region for the Kremlin-supported United Russia ruling party. 

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