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Tuleyev calls detention of deputies attempt to pressure him
Aman Tuleyev, the governor of the Kemerovo region, said that the allegations made against his deputies Alexander Danilchenko and Alexey Ivanov, as well as regional administration head Yelena Troitsykaya, are an attempt to pressure him.
Tuleyev called the allegations "absurd" and "properly framed".
Both vice-governors, stressed Tuleyev, would retain their posts until the investigation is completed.
"They are [in office]. On what basis should they be removed? ... These are decent, honest people and statesmen. They possess nothing. Yesterday, their houses were searched. Where are the mountains of gold? Why have they not been [found]?" said Tuleyev.
On November 14, it became known that a criminal case had been initiated against the head the Kuzbass branch of Russia's investigative committee Sergey Kalinkin, two of his subordinates, as well as the region's vice-governors Alexei Ivanov and Alexander Danilchenko and regional administration head Yelena Troitskaya. The two final defendants are PTK Coal founder Alexander Shchukin and trustee Gennady Vernigora.
According to investigators, the suspects were part of a conspiracy to extort a 51 percent stake of the company Razrez Inskoy from Anton Tsygankov. The stake's market value is no less than 1 billion rubles (approximately $15.3 million).
All eight defendants in the case were taken to Novosibirsk. Previously, the suspects were detained for 48 hours. It is expected that the court will arrest them in the near future.
Aman Tuleyev has been the head of the Kemerovo region since 1997. He is one of Russia's longest serving governors.
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