Prosecutors discovered $1.5 million in apartments belonging to relatives of Alexander Makarov, mayor of Tomsk. Over one million rubles ($38,000) was found in his office and another 300,000 rubles ($11,400) during a personal check of the mayor himself, prosecutors said.
"There is reason to believe that some of this money was procured illegally," said Andrei Gusev, a senior prosecutor of the Tomsk Region.
Makarov's lawyer, Natalia Azurova, has said her client was arrested illegally, because prosecutors had not found real witnesses in the case.
She also said prosecutors had searched the flats of Makarov's relatives, where the mayor did not live or store his belongings.
"They have their own lives and their own money," Azurova said, adding that the defense had not been invited to the searches and had seen no official search reports.
Prosecutors opened an inquiry into Makarov's case December 6. After searches in his office on the same day, 60-year-old Makarov had a heart attack and was rushed to a cardiology hospital. He stayed there for two days until a court ruled to keep him in custody.
On Monday the court decided to suspend his mayoral duties, and the following day prosecutors charged him with abuse of power and extortion.
Tomsk prosecutors said last week Makarov and one of his relatives were suspected of extorting 3 million rubles ($114,300) from citizens by threatening to destroy their real estate and preventing them from rebuilding.
The prosecutor's aide, Galina Zhoga, said: "We have also opened a criminal case against a relative of the mayor, Nina Yegorenkova."
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