YAROSLAVL, October 27 (RIA Novosti) – A court in Russia’s Yaroslavl Region approved this weekend the arrest of a local mayor accused of bribery in the second such case in the province this year.
A lawyer for Yury Lastochkin, the mayor of Rybinsk – a city of 200,000 located 270 kilometers north of Moscow – denied all allegations and said the defense will file an appeal on Monday.
Lastochkin is accused of extorting 2 million rubles ($63,000) from the head of an unspecified local city-run utilities company who sought reappointment.
The mayor, elected with 80 percent of the vote last month, was held in his office on Thursday along with his aide, who allegedly accepted 1 million rubles in cash on behalf of his boss, police said.
Lastochkin, a member of the ruling United Russia, faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 140 million rubles ($4.4 million) on bribery charges.
In July, the mayor of regional capital Yaroslavl, the opposition-minded Sergei Urlashov, was held on similar charges in a separate case. He called the case political persecution.
Russia was 133rd of 174 countries in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International in 2012.