Police Major Detained on Suspicion of Taking Bribes at Moscow Market

A Moscow police major has been detained on suspicion of receiving regular bribes from a merchant at the market where an officer was badly beaten up in late July.

Stanislav Solovyov was deputy head of the public safety department for the area that includes the Matveyevsky market from spring until December of 2012, a police official told Interfax Tuesday.

During that period he demanded regular payments in cash or goods from a merchant working at the same market, the official said.

In return, he supposedly promised not to open an administrative case against the trader for violating retail regulations.

Over the course of several months the major received at least 184,000 rubles ($5,560) in bribes, investigators said.

Solovyov faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

He has already been dishonorably discharged, Moscow police said.

On July 27 a group of about two dozen merchants at the market attacked a police officer who was trying to detain a rape suspect. As a result of the attack, the officer was hospitalized with a severe head injury.

Soon after the incident President Vladimir Putin slammed the actions of two police officers who failed to protect their fellow officer from the angry mob.

"Most likely, with their inaction they had been working out the thirty coins they get from the merchants," Putin said.

The incident at the Matveyevsky market triggered a large-scale police operation to remove illegal immigrants from the city's markets. Hundreds of immigrants have been transferred to "deportation camps" since the raids started last Monday.