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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rutskoi Faces Charges of Abuse of Office in Kursk

Former Kursk Governor Alexander Rutskoi will be charged with abuse of office over deals that allegedly cost the Kursk region millions of rubles when he was governor, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

Investigators summoned Rutskoi to appear at the ministry's Voronezh branch Wednesday to face charges on suspicion of authorizing the purchase of agricultural equipment at inflated prices, said the office of Kursk Governor Alexander Mikhailov.

Mikhailov's office said in a statement that Rutskoi authorized regional authorities to take a loan of 25 billion non-redenominated rubles from the Parex bank in 1998 to purchase wheat mills and combines. The statement said these "illegal deals" caused millions of rubles in damages to the regional budget.

Rutskoi denied the accusation Wednesday and said the charges were an attempt to prevent him from running for a State Duma seat in a single-mandate constituency in the city of Kursk, Interfax reported. He said his blood pressure shot up after he received the summons and he had to check into a Moscow clinic, where he remained Wednesday.

Rutskoi could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Investigators declined to comment on the case.

Two of Rutskoi's former deputies, Yury Kononchuk and Vladimir Bunchuk, were investigated on suspicion of misusing the Parex loan in 1998 and charged with overpaying $1.8 million for the Czech-made mills, Kommersant reported. Bunchuk was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to four years in prison.

Rutskoi served as vice president to Boris Yeltsin but was ousted after helping lead a failed uprising against the parliament in 1993. He was later reconciled with Yeltsin but fell out of favor after Vladimir Putin came to power.

Rutskoi was elected governor of the Kursk region in 1996. He ran for re-election in late 2000 but was barred from standing after election officials ruled he had submitted incorrect information about his property.