Investigator in Storchak Case To Face Own Internal Inquiry

The investigator leading the case against Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who was arrested on attempted embezzlement charges in November, is himself facing a probe, national media reported Saturday.

Dmitry Dovgy, the head of the main investigative unit of the Investigative Committee, and members of his staff are facing an internal inquiry "related to how they handled official duties," the media outlets quoted a committee spokesman as saying.

Dovgy's office is in charge of the case against Storchak, who has been held since November on charges of attempting to embezzle $43 million in budget funds.

The spokesman at the committee, which falls under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office, did not say whether there was a link between the Storchak case and the internal inquiry.

The arrest of Storchak, the country's foreign debt negotiator and supervisor of the $150 billion stabilization fund, amounted to a attack against a liberal Kremlin faction led by Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, analysts say.

Since the arrest, another powerful liberal, Dmitry Medvedev, won the presidential election, putting in question the future influence of more hawkish Kremlin officials with a security service background.

One of these Kremlin conservatives and a close ally of outgoing President Vladimir Putin is Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, who is handling the inquiry against Dovgy, the reports said.