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Russian Mayor Detained On Corruption Charges

(RFE/RL) May 2, 2007 -- The mayor of Togliatti, a Russian industrial city, has been detained on suspicion of large-scale bribe-taking.

The Prosecutor-General's Office today said Mayor Nikolai Utkin was detained on May 1 together with an aide on charges of receiving almost $1 million as part of a multimillion-dollar bribe.

MORE: Coverage in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Utkin allegedly demanded the money from a private firm in a real-estate deal.

"We have set up an investigating group to look into this criminal case," Samara Oblast Prosecutor Yury Denisov told journalists today. "The group consists of investigators from the department for especially grave crimes of the Samara regional prosecutor's office and investigators from the Samara regional branch of the Federal Security Service."

Utkin's arrest comes amid Kremlin efforts to crack down on corruption and consolidate federal control of Russia's provinces.

(AP, Interfax, ITAR-TASS)

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