More Fake Corruption Cases

Whenever I catch a headline reading something like “Russian Officials Charged with Corruption” I have to remind myself to not take it at face value, especially when the head of the investigative committee is not without his own allegations.  It is hard to see the siloviki making much progress on battling the $33 billion in corruption a year when the main focus of their investigations are simple political payback.  Today’s news in the Financial Times is just more of the same, kicking off a new high season, crisis-style, for the clan wars.

Russia’s prosecutor’s office accused senior members of Russia’s finance ministry of corruption yesterday as a battle within the cabinet deepens over how to share dwindling state revenues.

Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the investigative committee of the prosecutor-general’s office, named two individuals, one current and one former official at the finance ministry, in an investigation.

“Ithas been established by investigators that the embezzlement of statefunds in very large amounts has been done by acting deputy minister offinance Sergei Storchak and the former deputy minister of finance VadimVolkov,” he said. Mr Volkov worked in the position from 1999 to 2004.

Hetold an internal meeting, according to the prosecutor’s office pressservice, that work on the case against the two men would soon befinished. Sergei Storchak, deputy finance minister, was arrested in2007 and released last year and is awaiting trial on embezzlementcharges. He is on leave from his post but denies. wrongdoing. Thefinance ministry declined to comment yesterday.

Analystsdismissed the accusations against the two as a politically motivated.”The market sees this as a thinly veiled attempt to dislodge thefinance minister,” said Chris Weafer of Uralsib, the Moscow-basedinvestment bank.