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21 May, 2024 17:35

Russian general arrested in fraud probe

Ivan Popov’s army had defended Rabotino during the Ukrainian offensive
Russian general arrested in fraud probe

A Russian military court has ordered the arrest of Major-General Ivan Popov, the former commander of the 58th Army, alleging large-scale fraud, several media outlets have reported.

TASS revealed the arrest on Tuesday, citing anonymous law enforcement sources. The general is appealing the arrest and “does not admit guilt, because he is not guilty of anything,” his attorney, Sergey Buynovsky, told the agency.

Popov was reportedly detained last Friday, on orders of the 235th Garrison Military Court, according to the newspaper Vedomosti. Prosecutors allege that he was involved in a conspiracy to commit large-scale fraud, involving construction materials for military fortifications in Zaporozhye Region.

According to the Telegram channel ‘Two Majors’, the alleged fraud involved 2,000 tons of steel purchased by the military administration of the region to construct defense structures along the front line, in preparation for the 2023 Ukrainian offensive. An unnamed businessman from Krasnodar Region allegedly sold the materials elsewhere, defrauding the government of more than 100 million rubles ($1.1 million).

Popov commanded the 58th Guards Combined Arms Army, which defended the section of the Zaporozhye front centering on Rabotino, the town that turned out to be the main push of the Ukrainian offensive.

He was relieved of command in July last year, following the failed Wagner mutiny – according to a voice message he recorded for the troops, because he complained to command about inadequate support.

Popov is the third high-ranking military official to have been detained over the past month on allegations of misconduct. On April 23, Timur Ivanov, then deputy defense minister, was arrested on charges of taking bribes to the tune of one billion rubles linked to construction projects. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lieutenant General Yury Kuznetsov, head of the Main Personnel Directorate, was arrested last week and also charged with accepting bribes.