Russian top prosecutor's son questioned in corruption probe

30th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Investigators said Wednesday they would call the Russian top prosecutor's son in for questioning as they probe an illegal gambling ring allegedly protected by high-level prosecutors and police.

"The investigation plans to call Artyom Chaika in for questioning shortly," a spokeswoman for the Moscow region's investigative committee of the Prosecutor General's office told AFP.

The complex case involves a chain of underground casinos that investigators and the FSB security service claimed was protected by top regional police and prosecutors.

Artyom Chaika, 35, a lawyer by training, is the son of powerful prosecutor-general Yury Chaika.

Kommersant business daily reported that Chaika's son was named by an anonymous witness as the chief "coordinator" between prosecutors and the businessman in charge of the slot machine racket, banned by anti-gambling laws.

Investigators and prosecutors now work in separate structures, in a bid to improve the fairness of judicial decisions, but they make no secret of their rivalry.

Investigators initially opened a criminal case into the gambling ring, only for the prosecutors to close it the next day.

Last month, the FSB said the operation was raking in up to $10 million per month.

The case also exposed the seeming privileged position of Chaika's son.

In 2000, Artyom Chaika gave evidence in the trial of men whom he had lent a car and a pass that allowed them to avoid police checks. The men were jailed for extortion, but Chaika was not penalised, Kommersant reported.

© 2011 AFP

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