Tver region minister arrested for setting fire to car in Moscow

Tver region minister arrested for setting fire to car in Moscow
Viktor Shaforost

The Chertanovsky Court of Moscow has decided to imprison Minister of the Government of the Tver region Viktor Shaforost for two months. The investigation considers him the organizer of a car arson in March 2018, while the minister claims to have an alibi.

The detention of the Tver region Minister for Provision of Control Functions and his escort to Moscow by FSB operatives was reported on June 8. Viktor Shaforost has been charged with part 3 of Art. 33, part 2 of Art. 167 of the Russian Criminal Code. The investigation considers him the organizer of the arson of a Toyota Highlander outside a house in the south of Moscow on March 19.

The election of a preventive measure was postponed for 72 hours at the request of the prosecutor, who demanded to provide additional information to justify the placing of the official in custody.

A representative of the investigation attributed the necessity of Viktor Shaforost’s imprisonment to his involvement in other crimes. In particular, He is suspected of hindering the investigation of a corruption criminal case against his brother, former Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Internal Affairs Directorate in Moscow’s Troitsky and Novomoskovsky Administrative Districts – Pavel Shaforost – and six of his subordinates. 

According to the investigation, in 2016, threatening the general director of a private company in New Moscow with the institution of a criminal case for violating the rules for transferring precious metals and precious stones to the state, operatives of the criminal investigation department took a raw amber worth 2 million rubles ($31,846), as well as $3,000 in cash from him. On the same day, the businessman was forced to give the police officers a bribe worth 1.5 million rubles ($23,884), after which they compiled a report, according to which nothing was found during an inspection at the company office.

In addition, the investigation does not exclude the minister’s involvement in setting fire to the building of the Investigation Department in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky Administrative Districts, where the materials of the above-mentioned corruption case were burnt.

In response, Viktor Shaforost asserts that he has an alibi, and he has nothing to do with the arson. He was 200 km from the city at the time of arson in Moscow, and it was the investigator himself who set fire to the Investigation Department, which is allegedly confirmed by technical data. The Tver region minister also said that law enforcers had been extorting 6 million rubles ($95,538) for failure to bring him to criminal responsibility.

However, the representative of the prosecutor's office eventually supported the necessity of placing the regional minister in a pre-trial detention center. According to RIA Novosti, the official will remain in custody until August 7.

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