Russia arrests another defense ministry official on fraud suspicion: War bloggers

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Russian war-focused Telegram channels on Thursday reported the arrest of Vladimir Verteletsky, a defense ministry official in charge of state defense purchases.

According to the reports by several war bloggers, Verteletsky is suspected of large-scale fraud. There was no official confirmation.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia detained the deputy head of the army’s general staff, Lieutenant-General Vadim Shamarin, on suspicion of large-scale bribe-taking.

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It was the fourth arrest of a high-ranking defense figure in the space of a month, starting on April 23 when Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was placed in pre-trial detention for suspected bribe-taking.

Since then, Lieutenant-General Yuri Kuznetsov, head of personnel at the defense ministry, and Major-General Ivan Popov, former commander of Russia’s 58th army, have also been arrested.

The scandal is the biggest to hit the Russian government in years. The arrests signal a major effort to stamp out corruption surrounding the awarding of lucrative military contracts.

Three other people had also been previously arrested - a friend of Ivanov, a boss at a construction company alleged to have paid bribes, and the former head of several companies subordinate to the defense ministry.

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