MOSCOW, October 19 - RAPSI. A former Irkutsk regional economic development and industry minister who now heads TNK-BP's department for maintaining contact with the government has been detained on suspicion of selling government positions, the Interior Ministry reported on Friday.

"It has been established that the suspect offered two businessmen in September the position of Presidential Administration Internal Policy Department head and deputy head of the staff of the presidential envoy in the Central Federal District for $3 million each," according to the ministry. He was caught receiving 3 million rubles ($97,600) in advance payment, the ministry said.

The police have seized documents identifying him as Irkutsk regional government head, a member of the Russian government, and a counterintelligence service veteran.

A case of attempted large-scale fraud has been opened against him. The offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.