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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulbov Released After 2 Years

ReutersAlexander Bulbov standing in a Moscow court defendant’s cage on Friday.

Alexander Bulbov, a senior Federal Drug Control Service officer detained for more than two years in a case believed to be linked to a government power struggle, said he would return to work Monday after being freed from custody.

Bulbov walked out of Moscow’s Lefortovo jail late Friday following a Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that threw out a lower court decision to keep him in jail.

“On Monday, I will go to work,” Bulbov told reporters outside the jail, standing with his wife and son and carrying a cluster of plastic bags, Interfax reported.

He thanked his supporters for their “courage and patience.”

A law enforcement source told Interfax on Saturday that Bulbov had not been fired from the Federal Drug Control Service, even though he had been relieved of his post after being detained Oct. 1, 2007, on suspicion of paying $50,000 per month to an Interior Ministry official to tap the telephones of powerful businessmen, senators and prominent journalists.

The Investigative Committee, which is spearheading the case against Bulbov, confirmed that it was pursuing 35 counts against him, including illegal wiretapping, abuse of office, money laundering and extortion. If convicted, Bulbov could face up to 10 years in prison.

Bulbov and two other drug enforcement officers were arrested at Domodedovo Airport after returning from a trip abroad. Bulbov has called the arrests — conducted by the Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service, or FSB — revenge by the FSB for his investigation into Tri Kita, a Moscow furniture store accused of evading several million dollars in import duties and smuggling Chinese goods through FSB storage facilities.

The Federal Drug Control Service had an active role in the Tri Kita investigation, which led to the ouster of several high-ranking officials in the FSB and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Bulbov case is widely seen as blatant manifestations of a power struggle between Kremlin clans that plagued the final months of Vladimir Putin’s presidency.