Russian deputy culture minister suspected of participating in $700,000 embezzlement

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Russian Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov is suspected of participating in the embezzlement of at least 50 million roubles (700,000 dollars) from restoration contracts for Moscow's prided Novodevichy Convent, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Pirumov was reported to be detained in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don as part of a wide-range anti-corruption investigation launched by Russian security officials, several Russian agencies reported.

Sputnik International reported that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), which answers directly to the Russian president, arrested Pirumov alongside other high-ranking officials on charges of corruption.

"Pirumov created and led an organized group ... whose activities were directed at clinching state contracts with false and excessively high prices," a Moscow judge was quoted as saying in court materials.

According to Transparency International, Russia was ranked at 119th place for corruption among 167 other countries in 2015.

The 17th-century Novodevichy Convent in southwest Moscow is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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