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Russia detains second ex-minister in a week on graft charges

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Thursday detained a former cabinet minister and oil executive on suspicion of defrauding Russian oil giant Rosneft, the Investigative Committee’s spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.

Viktor Ishaev, who is the second former minister from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet to be detained this week, is accused of tricking Rosneft into paying over the odds to rent a property in the Far East region of Khabarovsk, she said.

The alleged crime took place between 2014 and 2017 when Ishaev was a vice president at Rosneft.

Ishaev had served as minister for the development of Russia’s far east region in 2012-2013 and previously was a Kremlin envoy in the far east. He was governor of the far eastern Khabarovsk region from 1991-2009.

Reuters was unable to locate a representative of Ishaev to comment on the allegations.

The other ex-minister to be detained is Mikhail Abyzov. A Medvedev ally who held the title of minister for open government affairs from 2012-2018, he was taken into custody on Tuesday on charges of fraud and organising a criminal group, allegations he denies. He could be jailed for 20 years.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by)

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