Karachayevo-Cherkessia minister under investigation over bribery claims - Investigative Committee

A criminal investigation has been opened against the education and science minister of the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia in Russia's North Caucasus on counts of attempting to accept a large bribe, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Tuesday.

A criminal investigation has been opened against the education and science minister of the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia in Russia's North Caucasus on counts of attempting to accept a large bribe, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Tuesday.

"The investigative department for the North Caucasus Federal District has launched a criminal inquiry against Education and Science Minister of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia Republic Boris Spiridonov, who is suspected of committing a crime under Articles 30 and 290 of the Russian Penal Code (an attempt to accept a large bribe)," Markin said.

Investigators believe that two persons recently asked Spiridonov to help them successfully pass the Unified State Exam at the state controlled regional educational organization Information Technologies Center.

The official promised the young men that they would be able to pass four examinations scoring 70 points for each exam without having to actually show up for the tests.

"The minister demanded 280,000 rubles, or 1,000 rubles per Unified State Exam point, for his "service" from each of them. Spiridonov was detained while accepting the bribe of 560,000 rubles in his own car in the city late on Sunday," Markin said.

Investigators continue working to establish all of the circumstances of the events, he said.

The suspect will also be checked for his possible involvement in other similar crimes.

Pre-trial restrictions will soon be imposed on Spiridonov.

"The Investigative Committee is thoroughly verifying all of the claims about violations accompanying the United State Exam. Procedural measures permitted by the law will be applied in response to all of the reports that turn out to be true," the spokesman said.

Spiridonov's detention was earlier announced by the Russian Interior Ministry.

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