Moscow’s Presnensky District Court extended the pre-trial detention of a former high-ranking officer in Daghestan’s Interior Ministry until November. Magomed Khizriyev is accused of giving a bribe of $2 million to officials in Moscow in an attempt to secure his appointment as Daghestan’s Interior Minister.
Khizriyev’s lawyer, Aida Kasimova, told OC Media that the court prolonged his detention on Tuesday by three months, along with his three alleged accomplices — businessman Gor Chudopalov, Aleksey Syzdykov, and lawyer Luiza Merzhoyeva. According to the investigation, the three acted as mediators in giving the bribe. Two other alleged mediators were detained as part of separate criminal cases. Kasimova said that none of those accused have plead guilty.
According to Kasimova, Khizriyev knew only one of those arrested, who worked in the banking sector. She said the suspects who lived in Moscow had also denied knowing Khizriyev.
Khizriyev was detained on 5 June in Moscow by officers from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Russian Interior Ministry’s Internal Security department. According to the investigation, Khizriyev gave $2 million to his accomplices in spring 2017 as part of a $6 million sum intended for the management of the Internal Security department in order to speed up his appointment as Daghestan’s Interior Minister and to remove compromising information from his personal file.
Employees of the department then reportedly informed the FSB about the bribe, after which they placed Khizriyev under surveillance. Over 10 searches were conducted at the residences and workplaces of the suspects, including in Moscow. The suspects could face 8–15 years in jail and fines of up to 70 times the bribe if convicted.
The day before Khizriyev’s arrest, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving Abdurashid Magomedov as Interior Minister of Daghestan for a year. Magomedov had served in the post since 2010. According to Daghestani daily Chernovik, he is 61, while the age limit for the post is 60, which is why his candidacy was under review for two months and had yet to be approved.
‘Victim of a set-up’
After a court hearing on 7 June, Khizriyev told reporters that he was ‘the victim of a set-up and is not going to stand idle’.
Khizriyev’s lawyer, Aida Kasimova, said during a press conference on 12 June at Chernovik that she thought the allegations against her client were a mistake, as in April 2017, Khizriyev was undergoing post-surgery rehabilitation and could not have transferred the money.
Kasimova told OC Media that Khizriyev suffered from serious health problems, and so had no intention of taking the post of Interior Minister. She said he had been looking for a job not related to law enforcement, and had submitted an application at a banks where an affiliate worked.
Khizriyevs’s defence said they planned to appeal the extension of his detention.