Cops Force Man To Take Bank Loan to Pay Bribe

It was only a matter of time before it came to this.

Everyone knows that bribes are the grease that keep Russia running smoothly, but what to do if you can't pony up the cash for a much-needed spravka (official document) or to convince a bent cop not to hit you with trumped-up criminal charges?

A pair of police officers in Saratov may have come up with an ideal solution to this conundrum, given Russians' embrace of credit in recent years: consumer loans for bribes.

It all started three weeks ago when the officers called a Saratov man down to the precinct about a cell phone he had purchased at a local market. The phone, it turned out, had been reported stolen.

The man explained that he knew nuthin' about no stolen phones and that he had merely purchased the device from a vendor. The officers, however, began threatening to press charges against the man if he did not hand over 10,000 rubles ($330), the regional Investigative Committee branch said in a statement. He handed over the 5,000 rubles he had on him, but the cops said that to settle the issue for good, they would need 35,000 rubles, investigators said.

The star-crossed fellow said he didn't have that kind of money, after which the officers purportedly suggested that he go take out a bank loan to pay them off. Alas, he was turned down for the loan by a local bank, which claimed that his salary as an employee at a local factory was insufficient, according to investigators.

Desperate, the man went to authorities, and the two cops were detained in a sting operation involving police and prosecutors after accepting money from the man.

They are being investigated on suspicion of conspiracy and fraud and could face up to six years in prison if charged and convicted.