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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Governor's Office Searched

Itar-TassLeonid Korotkov
Investigators raided the office of the governor of the Amur region while he was in Moscow this week and plan to charge him with misappropriating about $5 million upon his return, prosecutors said Thursday.

Four criminal investigations have been opened into whether Governor Leonid Korotkov abused his powers and neglected his duties, said Vladimir Chistov, Amur's regional prosecutor.

Prosecutors believe Korotkov's actions cost the far eastern region's budget a total of 123 million rubles, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

Korotkov is suspected of awarding contracts worth 40 million rubles to selected companies to supply goods, cars and services rather than putting the contracts up for tender, the statement said. He also "illegally" allocated money from the regional budget to various companies, including 16 million rubles to a local mining company, it said.

Prosecutors searched Korotkov's offices in Blagoveshchensk on Wednesday, taking some documents with them, Chistov said.

Chistov made it clear that prosecutors would charge Korotkov once he came back from his trip to Moscow.

"We hope to bring this case to its logical end, which is to send it to court," he said, Interfax reported.

Korotkov said he would return to Blagoveshchensk in a few days and was prepared to meet with prosecutors. He said the raid on his office appeared to be "extra research" that prosecutors decided to carry out after reading local media reports that implicated him in wrongdoing, Interfax reported. He did not elaborate.

Several governors and mayors have been investigated recently, and some have been charged with abuse of power and corruption. Political analysts have said the investigations look like a populist campaign to curry public favor ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections.