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World News

Russia detains deputy energy minister Tikhonov over fund embezzlement allegations

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian state investigators have detained Anatoly Tikhonov, a deputy energy minister, on funds embezzlement allegations, the Investigative Committee said on Wednesday, after conducting searches at the ministry a day before.

A Moscow court later ruled he will be jailed for two months pending trial, deeming him a flight risk, RIA news agency reported.

One of his lawyers said Tikhonov was not guilty.

“We intend to prove it,” he is quoted as saying by RIA.

Tikhonov, as well as three other people, were detained on allegations of embezzlement of at least 603 million roubles ($7.9 million), the committee said, at the time Tikhonov headed the Russian energy agency (REA), a unit of the ministry.

Tikhonov, 51, is one of eight deputies for Energy Minister Alexander Novak. He was focused on digital projects at the ministry.

He headed the REA from 2014 to 2019 before being promoted to a deputy energy minister last year. The committee said on Wednesday that the alleged state funds embezzlement was related to development of a digital system at the REA.

The energy ministry said in a statement that it will provide investigators with full assistance while declining other comments.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by Andrew Osborn, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Chizu Nomiyama

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