Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak has been released from jail in Moscow pending his trial on charges of embezzlement and fraud, which he has always denied.
Storchak told reporters he was ready to return to work: “I have been keeping a close eye on the financial situation. I was particularly interested in how events unfolded in the US and Western Europe. I don’t think I have missed out on any news.”
Officials say Storchak has been released in exchange for pledging not to leave the country until the trial has taken place.
He was a key figure in negotiations to pay off tens of billions of euros in Soviet-era debts under the auspices of the Paris Club.
The case is being viewed as the result of infighting between factions in the Kremlin. Analysts have speculated that Storchak’s arrest was orchestrated by the security services, with the aim of intimidating liberals in the Russian administration – like Alexei Kudrin, Russia’s Finance Minister and a staunch Storchak ally.