The former director of a shadowy Kremlin fund-raising group formally accused one of the president’s closest confidants Wednesday of trying to extort $40 million from him.
Boris Fyodorov, who headed the National Sports Fund, levied the charge against Alexander Korzhakov in a petition filed with the federal prosecutor-general, the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies reported.
The scandal is potentially harmful for the Kremlin because it seems intended to expose high-level corruption, and might also damage a possible alliance between Korzhakov and the popular national security chief, Alexander Lebed.
Korzhakov was head of the presidential security service and one of Boris Yeltsin’s closest aides until he was fired this summer in a pre-election Kremlin housecleaning.
He gained control of the Sports Fund, an organization that makes millions as Russia’s largest importer of cigarettes and alcohol, after Fyodorov was ousted earlier this year.
Fyodorov levied the charge against Korzhakov during a series of interviews on national television this week.
The prosecutor-general also is investigating a shooting and stabbing attack on Fyodorov shortly after he was removed from the fund.
Another figure in the burgeoning scandal, former sports minister Shamil Tarpishchev, was quoted Wednesday by the Interfax news agency as saying that the allegations against Korzhakov were part of a “political game” whose aim is to prevent an alliance between Korzhakov and Lebed.