Crime rate in Russian military rises 9% in 2008

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MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - The number of crimes committed in the Russian Armed Forces totaled 18,000 in 2008, a 9% increase on the previous year, the chief military investigator said on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Alexander Sorochkin, head of the Military Investigation Department at Russia's Investigation Committee, said the crime rate in the military was the highest among all the security- related bodies in Russia.

"Military prosecutors completed investigations into 12,000 crimes in 2008, and referred almost 80% of cases to court, including 12 cases against high-ranking military officers," he said.

Around 500 Russian officers were brought to trial for corruption alone in 2008.

"We are investigating another 12 crimes committed by the top brass, including three cases opened this year," he added.

In the most recent case, fraud charges have been brought against a group of Defense Ministry officials involved in an attempt to smuggle 30 anti-submarine missiles and 200 aircraft bombs worth a total of $18 million to Tajikistan for onward sale to China.

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