Investigative Committee chairman Alexander Bastrykin has written to the Supreme Qualification Board of Judges asking for permission to open a criminal case against Moscow Commercial Court judge Irina Baranova on suspicion of aiding property raiders, Kommersant daily reported.
Baranova came under suspicion during a criminal investigation into the illegal seizure of a building on Gogolevsky Boulevard in the very center of Moscow, the newspaper reported.
According to investigators, the building's owners – businessmen Mikhail Chernov and Mikhail Balakirev – sold it, but then changed their minds and successfully went to court in 2010 to get the sale declared invalid and the property returned to them. It is believed that the men paid Baranova to help them bribe the judge in that case, Yulia Bespalova.
Chernov and Balakirev were found guilty of fraud and attempting to acquire title deeds for illegally acquired property in September 2013, and received nine and seven years in prison respectively.
Kommersant cited the Moscow Commercial Court as saying that Baranova is still on its roster but is not currently hearing cases.
If the Supreme Qualification Board of Judges approves Bastrykin's request, Baranova will be investigated on suspicion of soliciting a bribe and large-scale fraud.