Viktor Gitin, a prominent
member of the Yabloko party and a former State Duma deputy,
has been detained on suspicion of taking bribes and sent
to face charges in his native Krasnoyarsk, officials said
Gitin, 38, is believed to be the first
deputy to be arrested in connection with alleged
corruption dating from his tenure in parliament.
He is accused of taking bribes from a
exchange for arranging for transfers of federal
funds, but police would give few details about
His Yabloko colleagues in Moscow and
Krasnoyarsk say the arrest looks more like a
political order than a thoroughly investigated
criminal case. But with charges still to be filed
against Gitin, they were unwilling to
point the finger at anyone.
Gitin has been a harsh critic of Krasnoyarsk
Governor Alexander Lebed. And as
deputy head of the previous Duma's Budget Committee,
he was aggressive in getting
his hands on government data revealing Russia's
foreign debt arrangements.
Alexander Vorobyov, a spokesman for the
Ministry's economic crimes unit,
which handled the arrest, said Tuesday that Gitin is
suspected of arranging for federal
funds to be transferred through a Krasnoyarsk-based
bank from 1996 to 1998 in
exchange for kickbacks. The kickbacks were
transferred to the personal accounts of
Gitin's relatives, he said.
Vorobyov said corruption charges will
against Gitin within the next 10 days. If
found guilty, he faces up to 12 years in prison
under Articles 290.3 and 4 of the
But the police spokesman would not name
explain why the money was
transferred or give figures either for the amount
transferred or the amount Gitin is
accused of taking in kickbacks.
reported Tuesday that
the bank involved in
the transfer of budget funds
was called Raduga and
collapsed two years
ago, while its head,
Natalya Petrova, was
arrested last year.
Sergei Don, a member of
faction who sits on the Budget Committee and who
worked with Gitin in the previous
Duma, called the news of his arrest shocking.
"Viktor was the most meticulous
professional I ever
knew. The story [of the reasons for
his arrest] contradicts any logic and was made up,"
Don said in a telephone interview
He confirmed that while a deputy, Gitin
the federal government to help fund
a program to develop natural resources — oil, gas
and gold — along the Angara River
in the Krasnoyarsk region.
"When he was lobbying for this program
he did not
conceal it," Don said. He added
that, knowing Gitin well, he could not believe he
had agreed to arrange for the money
to be transferred through a Krasnoyarsk bank in
exchange for kickbacks.
Krasnoyarsk, also said
that Gitin's arrest
was a very active deputy,
and he had cooperated
with the previous
administration, plus he was a
person," she said in an
As a Duma deputy, he
could ask any
including the Finance
Ministry and the
Central Bank, for information,
and they could not
Gitin was said to
have cooperated with Valery
Zubov, who was the
Siberian region's governor
until unseated by
Lebed in 1998. Lebed
proceeded to jail
some of Zubov's deputies on
There has been no love lost between Gitin
the Yabloko members said.
"Lebed has an animal-like hatred
for Gitin," who has
publicly criticized the governor for
his failures in running the region, Don said.
Gitin was detained in Moscow on Friday,
charges were filed within three days
as stipulated by the law, and he was flown to
Krasnoyarsk on Monday, Vorobyov said.
Yabloko faction spokesman Sergei Loktionov
Tuesday the party had sent a
lawyer to Krasnoyarsk to look into Gitin's case, but
he was cautious in making any
comments before formal charges have been filed.
Vorobyov did not say when his agency
investigating Gitin, but implied that it
was last year, or earlier, saying that "Russian laws
do not allow the prosecution of
lawmakers but do not forbid investigating them."
Duma deputies enjoy immunity from prosecution
their four-year terms. Gitin
failed to get into the current Duma when Yabloko
lost seats after the December
elections. He was on the party's regional list.
But Don said the case does not look like
planned long ago. If police had
investigated the case and were waiting for Gitin to
lose his immunity, Don said they
should have been able to present the charges against
"It is not surprising that they
could not charge him
immediately after his arrest in
Moscow. The plan was to seize him in Moscow and take
him to Krasnoyarsk and once
there figure out what to do with him," he said.
Kommersant quoted Krasnoyarsk prosecutor
Sarapulov as saying that "it was
unknown when he will be charged and with what."
Gitin is being held in a pretrial detention