MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators have opened a criminal case into abuse of power against four police officers accused of issuing driver’s licenses for cash in Moscow.
The Investigative Committee alleges Alexander Galkin, Alexei Koloskov, Roman Dolbeyev and Alexei Dolbeyev colluded with three other people who were not police officers to sell driver’s licenses to people who had not passed their driving test.
The committee said in a statement on its website on Thursday searches were being carried out at the suspects’ homes and at traffic police offices in Moscow, as well as at driving schools that were involved in the scam.
Corruption remains rife in Russia’s traffic police, despite efforts in recent years to shake up the department. It is common practice for Russians to pay bribes to obtain a driver’s license instead of – or even in addition to – taking the tests. Drivers also routinely pay roadside bribes to the traffic police when stopped for motoring offences.
Russia was ranked 133 out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index.
Corruption in the system for obtaining a driver’s license has also been cited as a cause of Russia’s high level of fatal road traffic accidents. Last year, 28,000 people were killed on the country’s roads in accidents, according to statistics released by the traffic police last year.