Deputy Defense Minister's arrest marks Russian MoD's gravest scandal in more than a decade - British Intel

Timur Ivanov
Timur Ivanov

The recent arrest of Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov has rocked the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), marking the most significant scandal since the dismissal of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in November 2012 over corruption charges, according to a British MoD intelligence update on April 25.

Reports of Ivanov’s lavish lifestyle sit awkwardly with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s call in February in his state of the nation address for a new national elite made up of the heroes of the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. In Ivanov’s income declaration for 2018, it is allegedly indicated that he owned 22 cars.

According to the report, Ivanov is likely to have long-standing ties with the Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, as he served as deputy prime minister in the Moscow regional government in 2012, when Shoygu was governor of the Moscow region.

Ivanov had been accused of large-scale bribery and remanded in custody until June 23.

Russian news outlet Vazhnye Istorii reported on April 24 that Ivanov had been arrested on charges of high treason, not corruption.

"Bribery is for the public. They don't want to talk publicly about high treason yet - it's a big scandal: he is a Deputy Defense Minister, after all," one of the outlet’s sources said.

Compromising materials on Ivanov have reportedly been held by Russian security forces for years. An investigator with Russia’s Investigative Committee told Vazhnye Istorii's editor-in-chief, Roman Anin, that these materials relate to Ivanov's illegal activities during his tenure as head of Oboronstroy, a joint-stock company for defense and space production. Despite the availability of these materials, their use had been previously blocked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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Ivanov, who has been Deputy Defense Minister since 2016 and was responsible for the construction and renovation of the Russian Defense Ministry’s facilities, is accused of receiving bribes on a particularly large scale in the awarding of contracts and subcontracts for the ministry.

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced Ivanov’s detention on suspicion of bribery on April 23.

Last April, it was reported that Ivanov’s wife was vacationing in the French ski resort of Courchevel during Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. The Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation accused her of lavish spending of millions of dollars that did not match the family’s official income.

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