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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tambov Mayor Arrested in Moscow

Moscow police on Thursday arrested Tambov Mayor Maxim Kosenkov on suspicion of kidnapping a young Ukrainian man.

Kosenkov, 33, had arrived in Moscow to attend the April 14-15 party congress of United Russia, of which he is a member, reported Monday.

More than 20 police officers surrounded Kosenkov's car Thursday morning near the Tsvetnoi Bulvar metro station in central Moscow, arresting the mayor and his driver for purportedly kidnapping a 20-year-old Ukrainian man last month, the report said. Another suspected accomplice has been implicated in the crime, it said.

The alleged victim, whom police identified only by his last name — Baby — was kidnapped March 26 on Ulitsa Borisovsky Prudy in southwest Moscow and taken to Tambov, where he was held captive at Kosenkov's home, said.

Two days later local Federal Security Service agents located and freed Baby, it said.

It was unclear why authorities waited for more than two weeks to arrest the suspected kidnappers. The motive for the purported crime was also unclear. The Tambov blogosphere has been awash with rumors about Kosenkov's sexual orientation, though the Tambov mayor is married, reported.

Investigators searched the Tambov mayor's office Wednesday and confiscated documents, the report said.

Moscow prosecutors are investigating the case as a kidnapping, reported. If charged and convicted, Kosenkov and his two suspected accomplices could face up to 20 years in prison.

There has been a wave of criminal cases opened against mayors throughout the country in recent years. Most of them have been charged with abuse of office and embezzlement, and several were eventually convicted and kicked out of office.

Kosenkov is the country's first mayor to be charged with kidnapping. He has been the mayor of Tambov since 2005.