Russia: Energy Executives Detained for Bribery

Russian investigators have detained senior energy company executives on allegations they paid millions in bribes to government officials in the country’s north, authorities announced on Monday.

Gaizarformer governor Vyacheslav Gaizar was among 19 officials arrested last year on corruption charges (Photo: kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0)Investigators in the Komi Republic, which lies west of the Ural Mountains, have accused the two executives of Russian energy company Integrated Power Systems (IPS) of paying 800 million rubles (US$ 12.5 million) in bribes to Komi Republic officials in exchange for favorable treatment, the Investigative Comittee of the Russian Federation said in a statement. The company is now known as T-Plus.

Yevgeny Olkhovik, managing director of T-Plus parent company Renova Group and T-Plus head Boris Vainzikher were were both detained on Monday. Mikhail Slobodin, a former executive at IPS, resigned as Russia chief of telecom company VimpelCom on Monday after authorities also said that he was wanted for questioning in connection to the case.

Investigators say Olhovik and Vainzikher paid the bribes to Komi Republic officials, who are also being probed on separate allegations of fraud and organized crime. The alleged bribery included the transfer of 100 million rubles worth of shares in an electricity distribution firm linked to IPS, named Komi Energy Retail Company, to an offshore company controlled by local officials.

Police arrested nineteen Komi Republic businessmen and officials last year on corruption allegations. Among those arrested was Komi Republic Governor Vyacheslav Gaizer, who is currently facing fraud charges.