MOSCOW, September 26 (RAPSI) – A court in Russia’s Astrakhan Region has begun trial of  the Federal Guard Service (FSO) General Gennady Lopyrev, who stands charged with taking a grand bribe, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday.

The defendant pleaded not guilty.

Lopyrev was arrested on November 25, 2016, following an internal check conducted in the FSO units in the Caucasus region. Later in the evening, the 94th Garrison Military Court ruled to put him in jail. Investigators claim that Lopyrev took bribes from businessmen for protection during signing and execution of government contracts on construction and repair works.

The defendant’s apartments in Moscow and Sochi, a living house in the Leningrad Region belonging to the Lopyrev family as well as with premium class automobiles were seized by the court. During the searches of an apartment belonging to Lopyrev’s son, law enforcement officers discovered 63 million rubles (about $1.1 million), over €1,000,000 and $350,000.