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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Ex-Lobbyist Gets 7 Years

A former senior lobbyist with the Trade and Industry Chamber was convicted of fraud and sentenced to seven years in prison, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Maxim Biryukov, the chamber's former deputy head, was also ordered to pay 50 million rubles ($1.4 million) in damages after being convicted of illegally appropriating two Moscow buildings and attempting to resell them.

Biryukov presented forged documents to tax officials showing that he owned the buildings, which were valued at 211 million rubles ($5.8 million), prosecutors said, Interfax reported.

When the real owners discovered the scam, Biryukov offered to sell the buildings and divide the proceeds and then demanded 53 million rubles ($1.5 million) to return the property, prosecutors said. (MT)

Official Quits Amid Scandal

The deputy prime minister of the Altai republic has resigned amid a scandal surrounding the hunting expedition whose helicopter crashed in the republic in January, killing seven, including the Kremlin's envoy to the State Duma.

The Altai official, Anatoly Bannykh, was one of several senior federal and regional officials on the MI-8 helicopter that went down Jan. 9.

Conservationists say photographs from the crash site prove that the officials were hunting endangered mountain sheep.

The allegations of poaching have received wide coverage even in government-friendly media outlets.

Bannykh has resigned from his post, RIA-Novosti reported. (MT)

Death by Pancake

A Belgorod region man who on a drunken whim joined a pancake-eating contest during Maslenitsa celebrations over the weekend choked to death after downing two pancakes, Interfax reported Wednesday.

The man, a resident of the village of Kazatskoye, was slightly drunk when he decided at the last minute to participate in the contest to see who could eat the most blinis, the Russian pancakes that are the fundamental element of Maslenitsa, Interfax said.

After eating two pancakes, he began choking and died shortly thereafter from what medics said was a pancake stuck in his esophagus. (MT)