MOSCOW, March 19 (RAPSI) – An alleged gang member Zakhary Kalashov, also known as Shakro Molodoy, who is charged with extortion, has denied his connection to high-ranking investigators Denis Nikandrov and Mikhail Maksimenko, charged with corruption, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom.

The testimony of Kalashov was read out during court hearings over a criminal case against Maksimenko, charged with taking two bribes, in total amounting to $550,000.

Kalashov also denied that he controlled the criminal underworld and was given a moniker by criminals.

The alleged gang leader is believed to be involved in a shootout near the Elements restaurant in Moscow that left two persons dead. Investigators believe that Kalashov has organized an extortion of 8 million rubles ($139,000) from the restaurant owner. The Nikulinsky District Court of Moscow is expected to pass a sentence in his case on March 27.

Earlier today, the head of the Investigative Committee's Moscow department General Alexander Drymanov took part in the questioning over the criminal case against Maksimenko, in which Drymanov asked the court to be a witness.

According to prosecutors, in 2016, Maksimenko and his accomplice received $500,000 bribe for help with one of criminal cases. He is also charged with taking $50,000 bribe in 2015 for organizing unlawful criminal prosecution of law enforcement officers in the interests of a bribe-giver.

The defendant has been arrested along with other high-ranking investigators, his deputy Alexander Lamonov and the First Deputy Head of the Investigative Committee’s Moscow Directorate, General Denis Nikandrov.

The three officers were detained as part of a case over extortion of 8 million rubles (about $138,000 at the current exchange rate) that involved Kalashov. In addition, investigators believe that they extorted 10 million rubles (about $170,000) from a head of a large joint-stock company. The defendants deny their connections to Kalashov.

Earlier, detention of Maksimenko was extended until June 27.