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Russia Arrests Renova Executives, Billionaire Vekselberg Allies, For Bribery

Associates of Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg were arrested on bribery charges.

Russian prosecutors have arrested two associates of billionaire Viktor Vekselberg on bribery charges after masked officers raided his Renova conglomerate offices.

The powerful Investigative Committee said on September 5 that the detained men -- Renova chief managing director Yevgeny Olkhovik and Boris Vainzikher, currently chief executive of Renova's T Plus Group -- were involved in bribing officials connected with a power-generation project in the remote Komi region.

Russian news agencies reported that Federal Security Service (FSB) officers in black balaclavas raided Renova and T Plus Group offices on September 5.

Vekselberg is listed by Forbes magazine as Russia's sixth-richest person with a fortune of $11.3 billion.

Investigators said they are also searching for another suspect, Mikhail Slobodin, the head of Russia's division of the VimpelCom telecom group, which is controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

Slobodin told the Vedomosti business daily that he was in France and was ready to answer any questions.

The suspects are alleged to have bribed top officials in Komi with more than 800 million rubles ($12.28 million) between 2007 and 2014 to get better conditions for doing business.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the FSB to investigate problems with "swindling and slackness" in Komi.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax