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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

7 Held in Corruption Probe to Stay in Prison, Court Says

The Basmanny district court on Wednesday extended the detention of all seven suspects held in a high-profile investigation of a ring of corrupt law enforcement officers who extorted millions of dollars from businessmen.

On Wednesday, charges still had not been brought against any of the suspects, who were picked up in a series of raids around Moscow on Monday. By law, suspects can only be held for 48 hours without court approval.

Investigators accuse the suspects of running a blackmail scheme in which they planted drugs and falsely arrested people. They are also suspected of forcing casinos, restaurants and business centers to pay protection money.

Among those in custody are the suspected ringleaders, Yury Samolkin, a deputy head of the Moscow police's elite investigative directorate, and two senior investigators, brothers Nikolai and Valery Dyomins. The highest-ranking official detained is Lieutenant General Vladimir Ganeyev, head of the Emergency Situations Ministry's security directorate.

If charged and convicted of extortion, fabricating evidence and abuse of office, they face prison terms of up to 20 years each.

Several suspects remain at large, police said.

Meanwhile, local television on Wednesday showed police searching the grounds of a country house in the Klinsky district of the Moscow region owned by one of the detainees. Police showed off expensive antiques and icons found inside the house.

The house, complete with a tennis court and soccer pitch, is worth more than $1 million, Rossia television reported.

Police have seized at least $5 million in cash in the crackdown.