MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – Police officers caught several high-ranking officials in Russia’s Pension Fund demanding a 3.5 million ruble ($106,000) bribe from their buildings’ security company, the police announced Wednesday.
The head and deputy head of two separate Moscow-based branches of the Pension Fund asked the head of a firm responsible for the two buildings’ security for the bribe in exchange for “hassle-free signing of job completion reports, and a guarantee that government contracts would be signed and renewed,” according to a statement by the Interior Ministry.
It said the security firm head had notified the police, who conducted an “operative experiment” to catch the officials in the act of taking the bribe.
The police said they are now investigating whether the men had committed similar crimes previously.
Corruption in both public and private sectors remains a major problem in Russia, and has become a point of focus for President Vladimir Putin’s reform agenda. The Transparency International global watchdog estimated the cost of corruption in Russia at $300 billion in 2012, placing Russia 133rd out of 174 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index last year.
A new law requiring foreign and domestic companies operating in Russia to implement extensive internal measures to combat corruption took effect in January this year.
Putin also said that world leaders at last week’s G20 summit in St. Petersburg had approved Russia’s initiatives to expand the Anti-Corruption Action Plan, aimed at combating bribery and enhancing international cooperation in fighting corruption among the G20 members.
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