Russian law enforcement services have arrested an army colonel for allegedly receiving $6.4 million in bribes, local media report, adding that this may be the biggest bribery case ever recorded in the defense ministry.
The case concerns Defense Ministry Col. Alexander Vakulin who was working as head of the food supply management department of the defense ministry, Kommersant newspaper reported.
Полковник проявил тыловую хватку // Чиновник Минобороны арестован за особо крупные взятки от коммерсантовhttps://t.co/felWt7HDpT
— Коммерсантъ (@kommersant) September 26, 2017
The 46-year-old colonel reportedly received 368 million rubles ($6.4 million) for securing numerous contracts between the ministry and “loyal” commercial organizations supplying mobile field kitchens, bakeries, cisterns, and other special equipment for the ministry’s needs.
Colonel Vakulin was reportedly charged with fraud and bribery. The case has been taken by Vitaly Danilov, who also investigated the Oboronservis case – a probe into graft in the property department of the Russian Defense Ministry. The case led to the firing of then-Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and a five-year prison sentence for his top aide.
The military court ordered the detention of Vakulin until October 29, Kommersant reports.
The Сolonel’s lawyers opposed his confinement in the Moscow military court, saying that the investigation did not prove that Vakulin intends to flee, continue to engage in criminal activities, threaten witnesses, destroy evidence, or in any other way obstruct criminal proceedings.
However, the court dismissed the appeal, noting that the colonel is being accused of two serious crimes (fraud and bribery) at the same time.
Before his arrest, Col. Vakulin was considered a very promising officer with a successful career, Kommersant reports. According to some sources, he was recently moved to Moscow from Baltiysk in Kaliningrad Region, where a major Baltic Fleet base is located.
READ MORE: Ex-Economy Minister Ulyukayev calls bribery case ‘set-up,’ trial adjourned till September
Col. Vakulin repeatedly gave speeches on food supply management in universities across Russia. He also allegedly spoke about the efficiency of mobile field kitchens. Ironically, he was detained for bribery while purchasing these very objects.
Both Col. Vakulin’s lawyers and the defense ministry declined to comment on the story, Kommersant said in their report.