Kovtun is next? Ex-Deputy Governor of Murmansk region detained by FSB 

Kovtun is next? Ex-Deputy Governor of Murmansk region detained by FSB
Igor Babenko

Igor Babenko can be involved in a corruption scandal.⁠

Former Deputy Head of the Murmansk region Igor Babenko has been detained by FSB officers, TASS reports. The detention has been carried out by specially-appointed siloviki from Moscow. Babenko is currently in custody; he has been sent to Moscow for the election of a preventive measure against him.

“The former official is suspected of embezzlement of budget funds,” a source in the law enforcement bodies said.

According to the investigation, the former deputy of Marina Kovtun together with Head of the Office of the Regional Government Svetlana Povericheva, may be involved in major spending of charity funds on personal needs, as well as embezzlement of funds allocated for the needs of the regional government. This became known in July, when two high-ranking official of the Murmansk region were detained for double bookkeeping.

To recall, Babenko used to be a direct deputy to Governor of the Murmansk region Marina Kovtun. He, as well as Head of the Office of the Regional Government Svetlana Povericheva, left their posts in early October. According to official information, they had voluntarily handed in notices.

In the regional cabinet of ministers, Babenko coordinated the work of executive authorities, was responsible for combating corruption, interaction with federal authorities, and information policy of the Government and the Governor.

Earlier, the media had reported on the ‘black’ accounting of secret government spending, handled by Deputy Head of the Government of the Murmansk region Operations Management Office State Regional Budgetary Institution Georgy Blagodelsky. He and his former boss Eduard Nikrashevsky were detained by the FSB in July 2017. They both became involved in a criminal case of swindling with the use of official position.

This is not the first corruption scandal in the region’s government. Earlier this year, Minister of Natural Resources of the region, who is suspected of using forest fund lands for the construction of a country house, came under investigation.

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