Russia's anti-drug chief warns of 'infighting' in special services

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Moscow, Oct 9 (UNI) Russia's Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Cherkesov has warned of a 'war' between special services, following the arrest of five senior officials in his agency recently.

The Federal Security Service (FSB-former KGB) detained Gen Alexander Bulbov, head of technological support at the Federal Drug Control Service, and four of his colleagues last week on suspicion of 'power abuse'.

The officials were investigating a high-profile furniture smuggling case, which resulted in the arrests of five senior FSB officers recently.

The latest arrests gave rise to speculations on a conflict between the two services, the leading business daily Kommersant wrote today.

''Why did the arrests target specifically those drug control officials who had been officially assigned, at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office, to investigate the large-scale criminal cases of furniture retailer Tri Kita?'' the paper quoted Cherkesov as saying.

Russian media reports suggested the incident was retaliation by the FSB against the arrest of its officers last spring as part of a probe into smuggling involving Russia's two largest furniture dealers, Tri Kita and Grand.

The smuggled furniture was reportedly stored in the FSB's warehouses.

Cherkesov stood up for his colleagues, and said the FSB had tried to compromise the evidence gathered in the Tri Kita case.

''How else can you explain the search of the apartment of an investigator whose only job was to assist the probe as a member of the Prosecutor General's Office team?'' he asked.

UNI

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