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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bribe Law Inadequate, Say Police

Moscow police have acknowledged they have a series of cases involving senior managers and company directors taking huge bribes, but cannot bring prosecutions because current legislation only covers state officials.

Valery Yudintsev, head of the newly established police squad fighting bribe-taking, said Wednesday that most state enterprises had changed their status since the beginning of market reforms in 1991 to become joint stock companies or private firms. Their heads had accordingly become private businessmen.

"The Public Prosecutor's Office does not consider them state officials any more," Yudintsev said. "According to the current criminal code, only state officials can be charged with bribe-taking, not businessmen."

He said Viktor Kozyrev, deputy general director of the joint stock company Rot-Front, a state confectionery firm in Soviet times, had been caught Feb. 9 receiving a $10,000 bribe from a representative of a commercial company.

Yudintsev said Kozyrev had taken the bribe to sign a contract to buy 2,400 tons of sugar worth 1,200 billion rubles ( $372,000).

"We took this case to the Public Prosecutor's Office, but they closed it on grounds that no crime had been committed, a prosecutor told us," he said.

Yudintsev said every second phone call received by his squad about bribe-taking dealt with the commercial activity of former state officials who became businessmen.

Police say they registered 293 cases of bribe-taking in Moscow over 10 months this year, 18 percent higher than the same period last year.

Yudintsev said police always film bribe-takers as film is the main evidence in court against them.