Discharged Russian general has forgery charge added to fraud indictment

Ivan Popov. Photo: The Russian Defence Ministry

Ivan Popov. Photo: The Russian Defence Ministry

A discharged Russian general currently on trial for large-scale fraud had additional criminal charges for forgery added to his indictment on Thursday, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.

Ivan Popov was dismissed as chief of staff of the 11th Army Corps of the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet and commander of Russia’s 58th Army in July 2023 after a message he wrote to his soldiers that was critical of the Russian military’s top brass was leaked online.

Popov was subsequently arrested on suspicion of large-scale fraud and charged with the theft of over 1.7 million tonnes of rolled metal products intended for use in fortifications in Ukraine.

According to military investigators, the estimated cost of the alleged theft to the Russian military was 105 million rubles (€1.1 million), although Popov himself is only being held responsible for losses of 1 million rubles (€10,500).

Popov’s lawyer Sergey Buynovsky made an official request to Russia’s Investigative Committee for a criminal case for treason to be opened against the military investigators who prepared the case against his client, claiming that classified military documents had been leaked in the course of their investigation of Popov, state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

Independent news outlet IStories reported that the investigation’s report contained a document labelled “classified” as well as a map of military operations.

Buynovsky also argued that the additional forgery charge was unnecessary as it was covered by the existing fraud charge. “My client was unnecessarily subjected to an additional charge due to investigator’s fears that he could be acquitted of the fraud charge,” he told TASS.

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