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13.08.2009

Russian health insurance official gets 7 years for corruption

A Moscow court sentenced on Wednesday a former top health insurance official to seven years in jail and a million rubles (about $31,000) fine on corruption charges.

Andrei Taranov is the former head of Russia's Mandatory Health Insurance Fund.

Other defendants in the high-profile case earlier received prison terms ranging from 18 months to nine years. They were charged with receiving a total of 28 million rubles ($865,000) in bribes.

Investigators said the officials received bribes from the fund's regional branches, pharmaceutical and other firms involved in distributing medication and medical equipment under a state-run program to provide free or subsidized medication to people with low-incomes.

The court established that the defendants only released insurance funds to local authorities in exchange for 3-5% kickbacks.

The officials were arrested following an investigation into the fund's activities in 2005.

The scandal damaged the reputation of then health minister Mikhail Zurabov, who was subsequently dismissed. He was appointed Russia's ambassador to Ukraine in June.


Source:  www.en.rian.ru

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