YEKATERINBURG, September 12 (RIA Novosti) – Police in Russia’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, conducted searches Thursday at the homes of senior city government officials as part of an ongoing fraud probe, the Interior Ministry said, while denying it had any connection to a recent mayoral election that was won by an opposition candidate.
The officials in question include two deputy heads of the city administration, Vladimir Tungusov and Vadim Dudarenko, a ministry spokesman told RIA Novosti.
The two officials are suspected of being involved in a scam involving privatization of city property.
Two suspects were previously arrested for defrauding a number of local businessmen by allowing them to “privatize” city real estate, police said.
The searches were authorized by a city court after the police presented evidence against the officials, the ministry said.
The Interior Ministry spokesman said the searches were not linked to recent election results or the activity of a regional utility, Vodokanal, in a suspected 100 million ruble ($3 million) embezzlement case.
On Sunday, mayoral elections were held in Yekaterinburg with opposition candidate Yevgeny Roizman gaining 33.31 percent of the vote and declaring victory over his main opponent, the ruling United Russia party’s Yakov Silin, with 29.77 percent.
The city electoral commission confirmed the election results Thursday.
Roizman achieved fame and controversy in the city after he headed a campaign group known as City Without Drugs, that media reports claimed subjected recovering addicts in Yekaterinburg to harsh treatment. He blamed the reports on the work of political rivals and incompetent law enforcement officials embarrassed by his efforts to expose corruption and malpractice in the city.
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