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Governor of oil-rich Russian region held in corruption probe

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By Alasdair Sandford  with REUTERS, AFP, MOSCOW TIMES
Governor of oil-rich Russian region held in corruption probe

The governor of a region in Russia’s far east has been arrested on suspicion of bribe-taking and flown to Moscow.

Alexander Khoroshavin who heads the Sakhalin region has been remanded in custody until the end of April.

Russia’s Investigative Committee – set up to examine high-profile cases and which reports directly to President Putin – said searches of the governor’s homes had revealed large sums of money as well as luxury items.

A senior parliamentary official said the arrest confirmed the government’s determination to fight corruption.

But analysts have been quoted as saying it points to a power struggle within the Moscow elite for control of Russia’s resource-rich regions.

Khoroshavin has been governor of Sakhalin island in Russia’s far east since 2007.

Its lucrative resources have made the region one of the country’s richest.

The governor, said to be one of Putin’s closest allies, is highly influential in the country’s oil and gas industry.

Corruption is rife in Russia and arrests of such highly-placed officials are rare.