MOSCOW, April 1 (RAPSI) – The Moscow Regional Military Court on Friday upheld a lower court’s ruling to expunge conviction of former Army Commander Colonel General Vladimir Chirkin for fraud, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.

Chirkin can be back to military or public service, according to Russian law.

On August 14, 2015, the Moscow Garrison Military Court sentenced Chirkin to five years in prison for taking bribes. He was also stripped of the military rank, and state and departmental awards.

Later the charges were reclassified to fraud and his sentence was changed to a 90,000 ruble ($1,300) fine. Chirkin returned his military rank as well.

Prosecutors claimed that Chirkin took a bribe to help Major Vladimir Lopanov of the reserves, who had served with the Moscow Military District, receive a one-room apartment to which he was entitled under law.

After paying the bribe, Lopanov was unable to move into the apartment, which was already occupied by another ex-soldier. Lopanov tried unsuccessfully to get his money back and later complained to a prosecutor’s office.

Chirkin pleaded not guilty in this case and claimed that the intermediaries deceived Lopanov. They allegedly extorted money from him, using the general’s name as a cover.