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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors Charge Tver Governor

Tver Governor Vladimir Platov has been charged with abuse of office for allegedly helping a friend win a regional tender -- a deal that cost the Tver budget $13.5 million.

This is the second time that a governor has been charged in post-Soviet Russia. Governors wield great power and tend to run their regions as fiefdoms, although President Vladimir Putin has made attempts to rein them in.

Tver prosecutors informed Platov of the charges Monday and ordered him not to leave the region pending a trial, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

Platov will be allowed, however, to make one-day trips out of the region in his official capacity as governor, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Platov denied any wrongdoing in the 2002 tender.

"This is a political gimmick to prevent him from participating in the gubernatorial election," his lawyer, Alexei Yegorov, told Interfax.

Platov is running for re-election on Dec. 7. Tatyana Astrakhankina, a State Duma deputy with the Communist Party, plans to challenge Platov in the race.

The charges stem from a regional bond issue that Platov ordered to make up for a budget deficit. The governor called for a tender among companies interested in administering the issue.

Prosecutors, however, said Platov set conditions that allowed a company of a friend, Oleg Obzhigalov, to easily win the tender. In the end, regional coffers only received 100 million rubles of the 500,000 bonds sold with a total face value of 500 million rubles, prosecutors said.

The loss of the 400 million rubles, or $13.5 million, meant the region's heating systems and other housing services were not adequately prepared for the winter months and, as a result, performed poorly, prosecutors said.

The only other time that a governor has been charged was in 1996, when the Vologda governor was accused of theft and bribery, Kommersant reported. The newspaper did not say how the case ended.