An investigator working in Moscow has been caught with a record-breaking bribe paid by a hacking group in cryptocurrency. According to a Russian press report, the corrupt official accepted millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin and saved the digital money for his retirement years.
Investigator Finds Himself Under Investigation in Russia for Receiving Huge Bribe in Bitcoin
Investigators in the Russian Federation are now working on a corruption case involving one of their former colleagues, the Kommersant daily reported. The news comes as a court in Moscow prepares to consider a lawsuit in which prosecutors seek to confiscate his crypto stash.
Marat Tambiev was hired in December 2011 and climbed the professional ladder to eventually become head of the Investigation Department in Moscow’s Tverskoy district. Officially, his salary was his only income and together with his family members did not possess any expensive property or savings in rubles, foreign currency or crypto.
Within the probe launched against Tambiev for large-scale bribe-taking, investigators and prosecutors found that he owns a total of 1032.1 BTC the value of which, as of January 30, 2023 was estimated at 1.662 billion rubles (almost $24 million at the time).
The defendant allegedly received the cryptocurrency in April 2022 from members of the hacking group Infraud Organization, Mark and Konstantin Bergmanov and Kirill Samokutyaevsky, for not seizing their assets. Tambiev was leading the investigation into their criminal case.
Russian Authorities Seize Corrupt Official’s Cryptocurrency Savings
The crypto was discovered during a search of his apartment in the Russian capital. Among other items, law enforcement officers found his laptop, which they were able to penetrate a few months later. A folder on the computer named “Pension” contained a photograph of a sheet of paper with records that allowed Marat Tambiev to access two sums of cryptocurrency — 932.1 BTC and 100 BTC. The bitcoins were seized and transferred to a hardware wallet stored as a physical evidence.
The 1.6 billion rubles’ worth of cryptocurrency is a record-high amount for a corruption case involving a Russian official, the article notes. The previous comparable case was that of Dmitry Zakharchenko, an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who collected bribes totaling 1.4 billion rubles.
Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Razinkin described the coins taken by Tambiev as “receipt of property from sources not provided for by law.” Russia is yet to comprehensively regulate cryptocurrencies like bitcoin with several bills currently under review in parliament, including texts introducing criminal liability for using crypto assets for illicit purposes.
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