Bribed Chelyabinsk ex-Health Minister may face parole

Bribed Chelyabinsk ex-Health Minister may face parole
Vitaly Teslenko

Vitaly Teslenko was convicted in 2014 for multi-million ruble payoffs.⁠

Vitaly Teslenko, the former Health Minister of the Chelyabinsk region, convicted for seven years for receiving a multimillion-ruble bribe in 2014, may be released on parole. It is testimony, which Teslenko gave against ex-head of the region Mikhail Yurevich, that can contribute to his early exit from the colony.

As it became known to Znak.com, Vitaly Teslenko is being prepared for transfer from detention center №7, where he served his sentence, to one of the colonies of the region, from where the convict can file a petition for parole. Earlier, his wife appealed to the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) with a request to support her spouse's petition for parole. The wife of Teslenko explained the need for release with the fact that her husband had health problems – during the time of serving the sentence the former minister received a second group of disability. The wife of the ex-official also said that during the time spent in custody, he partially repaid the court-appointed fine.

"We talked with the convicted Vitaly Teslenko and decided to take part in his early release. For us, he is as much a citizen as everyone else, and we see no reason not to help the person", Vasily Katane, the chairman of the Chelyabinsk region's PMC, told Znak.com. "Moreover, under the law Teslenko served two-thirds of the term and can ask the court for early release".

In 2014 Vitaly Teslenko was sentenced to seven years in prison and to a fine of 300 million rubles ($4.9m) (later the amount of the fine was reduced to 70 million rubles ($1.1m) for getting payoffs. As the investigation and the court established, the ex-Minister received bribes amounting to 70 million rubles ($1.1m) for help in concluding state contracts for the supply of medical equipment for the hospitals of the region.

Among other things, Teslenko became the main witness of the investigation in the criminal case against ex-Governor of the Chelyabinsk region Mikhail Yurevich. The former Minister literally ratted his former boss out. According to his testimony, Teslenko gave Yurevich large sums of money through the governor's adviser. In total, this refers to 27 million rubles ($449.9 thousand). In May 2017 Yurevich was arrested in absentia on charges of taking bribes and instigating slander. According to investigators, Yurevich received bribes from Vitaly Teslenko, and also got bribes during a major repair of roads in the Chelyabinsk region. In addition, according to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, at the suggestion of Yurevich Channel One broadcast a program defaming ex-chairman of the Chelyabinsk Regional Court Fyodor Vyatkin.

Yurevich rejects all charges. At the moment, the ex-Governor is in London.

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