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Seven FSB officials have been arrested in a robbery case. They may have also stolen money during searches of corrupt officials.

Source: Meduza
Andrey Stenin / Kommersant

Seven employees of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) have been arrested in an armed robbery case. The Moscow Garrison Military Court has jailed five of them to await trial and placed two under house arrest.

The agents’ names and titles have not been made public, but sources told the business outlet RBC that three of them work for the Alpha special forces division, one is a member of the Pennant special purpose group, and two are officers in the K Division, which handles financial cases. The remaining officer works for the FSB Academy. The military court noted that the case is being investigated under Russia’s statute on robbery committed by an organized group.

Vedomosti reported that on June 10, the suspects attacked an entrepreneur who entered a bank to deposit 136 million rubles ($2.1 million) in cash. The FSB agents allegedly took the money from the entrepreneur and split it among themselves and the bank’s employees, who had tipped them off about the upcoming deposit. Another source told RBC a slightly different story, claiming that the officers had searched the bank using a fake warrant and stolen 140 million rubles ($2.2 million) in the process.

RBC also reported that the case includes charges of organizing a criminal group (Article 210 of Russia’s Criminal Codex), fraud (Article 159), and official overreach (Article 286). A source close to the FSB said that the group has been under investigation for about a year and that between five and 12 episodes may be included in the case against it. Novaya Gazeta, meanwhile, indicated that the suspects may have been involved in the theft of 100 million rubles ($1.6 million) during a search of police colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko’s home in 2016. The searches, which turned up about eight billion rubles ($125.5 million) in total, led to a 13-year prison sentence on corruption charges for Zakharchenko, who himself worked in an anti-corruption division of the national police force.

The FSB has not yet commented officially on the robbery charges. On July 2, a brief notice appeared on the agency’s website stating that its employees had been arrested on charges that they “participated in the robbery of monetary resources belonging to a private entrepreneur.”

Story by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Hilah Kohen