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Russian Official Charged With 'Highway Robbery'

A Russian official has been detained on suspicion of stealing a 50-kilometer stretch of public road.

Aleksandr Protopopov oversaw the dismantling of a concrete highway and sold off the slabs while he was prison service chief in the far northern Komi region, the Investigative Committee said in a statement on January 13.

The road, consisting of more than 7,000 reinforced concrete panels, was “dismantled and driven away” over the course of more than a year, between 2014 and 2015.

The slabs were then sold on for a profit, investigators allege, in a crime estimated to have cost the Russian Federation more than 6 million rubles ($79,000).

Protopopov, currently the acting deputy chief of the national prison service, faces charges of misappropriating state property while in an official position.

He could serve up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

While the head of the Komi region’s prison service from 2010-15, Protopovov won awards, including a medal for creating "spiritual unity," according to the prison service's website.

With reporting by AFP
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