Head of Advertising Department of Sverdlovsk State Property Ministry suspected of providing protection racket for advertisers

Head of Advertising Department of Sverdlovsk State Property Ministry suspected of providing protection racket for advertisers
Photo: Donat Sorokin/TASS

The ministerial officials call it a provocation.

Director of the Department of Advertising of the Ministry for State Property Management (MUGISO) of the Sverdlovsk region Igor Razunin has been detained following searches in his office. The official is suspected of taking a bribe.

Operational and search activities were conducted by members of the 4th Investigation Unit of the ICR Main Investigative Department with assistance of FSB operatives in the Sverdlovsk region. Security forces entered Razunin’s office when he was speaking with some man. They found an envelope with money at his workplace and immediately detained the director of the department, a source told Znak.com.

According to the investigation, through an intermediary, Razunin received money from a businessman who deals with the placement of outdoor advertising in Ekaterinburg. However, the amount of bribes and other details of the case have not been disclosed yet.

Ministry officials believe Razunin’s detention to be a provocation. According to sources of Znak.com, two weeks ago, the state official got hold of a paper with a scheme describing how the suspect allegedly took from 150 to 350 thousand rubles a month for the protection of certain advertising companies. Ministry officials said that some advertisers were indeed trying to agree on the protection from the state. However, after failing to make an arrangement with Razunin, the businessmen allegedly decided to take revenge and to remove him from office with the help of security forces.

Currently, Igor Razunin is arrested and remains in a temporary detention facility. The investigation intends to apply for taking him into custody.

It is worth noting that MUGISO gained control of the advertising market in Ekaterinburg at the beginning of this year. At the same time, when the advertising department of the ministry was founded, Igor Razunin was appointed its head. In mid-October, the first ad auction was held by the department. However, they were later challenged — one of the market participants appealed to the Federal Antimonopoly Service. The hearing on the matter currently continues in arbitration. In his comments to URA.Ru, Razunin said that while preparing the conditions for bidders, the ministry is guided only by the interests of the Sverdlovsk Oblast budget. In recent days, the number of complaints against officials increased drastically.

This is not the first criminal case against MUGISO officials. This April, minister Alexey Pyankov was arrested on charges of bribery. However, in the fall, he was released on bail of 2 million rubles. Now he is an advisor to the governor on a voluntary basis. Along with Pyankov, law enforcers also detained First Deputy Artem Bogachev. It is worth noting that Razunin worked under his command.

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