Russia targets ex-metro chief in corruption probe

24th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Thursday opened a criminal investigation against the former head of the Moscow metro, one of the highest profile targets yet in an anti-corruption drive.

Dmitry Gayev, who quit this year as supremo of one of the world's biggest metro systems, is suspected of abuse of office, the spokeswoman of the investigative committee of the interior ministry, Irina Dudukina told Interfax.

He has been charged according to an article in the criminal code that foresees a prison term of up to four years.

Prosecutors have already said that Gayev had earned 112 million rubles (four million dollars) in illegal income during his term as head of the Moscow metro between 1995-2011.

Gayev was long seen as an ally of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov who was ousted last year by President Dmitry Medvedev over a breakdown of trust amid persistent allegations of large-scale corruption.

Medvedev has admitted that high-level corruption remains one of Russia'a largest ills and has vowed to eliminate graft as part of his banner campaign to modernise the Russian economy.

Unlike the capital's clogged streets, the city's fabled metro remains the most popular and reliable transport option, though overcrowding and poor ventilation have increasingly become a concern.

Opened during the rule of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1935, the Moscow metro carries around seven million passengers daily.

© 2011 AFP

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