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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mayor Hands Out Flats To Ranking Tax Police

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said his tax police have been doing a good job filling the city's coffers, and he showed his thanks Monday with free apartments and new offices for some of the top-ranked revenue-getters.

"Your role is to teach businessmen and industrialists to understand that it is to their advantage to work honestly," Luzhkov told tax officials who gathered for Monday's award ceremony at City Hall. "You have worked well. ... I support you and I would like to thank you for it."

Fifty-five service officials, mostly department heads, received free apartments in a newly constructed building in the Mitino region of northwest Moscow. They also received 1 million rubles ($175) from the city government to finance their move.

Luzhkov also announced provision of 7,000 square meters of new office space for the police.

The city is expected soon to increase the number of tax police from its current 1,900 employees to 2,600, said Alexander Borisov, a spokesman for the police.

The free apartments are the first time officials of the service have received such perks from the city government since the creation of the tax police five years ago, Borisov said. The apartments were doled out to those officials who had been waiting longest, he said.

Yevgeny Bubentsov, 36, a father of two and head of the research department of Moscow's southern regional tax police, said he had waited two years for the three-room apartment he received Monday.

The Moscow city government builds 3.2 million square meters of residential space every year, selling 2 million square meters at commercial prices and giving the remaining 1.2 million square meters to its citizens, said Sergei Tsoi, a spokesman for the City Hall.

According to official figures from the Moscow tax police, total tax revenues for the city, including arrears, rose to 3.5 trillion rubles in 1996 from 596 billion in 1995, and the number of criminal cases involving tax fraud increased to 133 in 1996 from 64 in 1995.

Average salaries for the tax police are about 1 million rubles topping out at 2.5 million rubles, Borisov said.