The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced on April 23 the arrest of Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of receiving a bribe which value, according to preliminary investigations, amounted to more than one billion Russian rubles. The Investigation Committee relied on Clause 6 of Article 290 of the Russian Criminal Code, and the Moscow Court later announced his arrest for two months until the probe by the is completed.

The corruption case revealed a number of facts about Ivanov, who is responsible for the construction work of the Ministry of Defense, the construction of military buildings and structures for the forces, the construction of fortifications and the restoration of new areas, as well as medical support for the Russian Armed Forces, in addition to his relationship with the “African Legion,” which cooperates directly with Khalifa Haftar in Libya.

The "African Legion" is considered a Russian military formation that has been officially revealed in early 2024. Russia seeks for this new military formation to be an alternative to the Wagner Group, as the Russian Ministry of Defense took this step after the death of the leader and founder of the private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin. According to the sources, the Libyan eastern region hosts the central headquarters of the Legion in cooperation with Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

Ivanov, in his capacity as the financial official of the new military formation and who is accused of corruption cases, had met with Khalifa Haftar several times during the past months in secret, and thus Haftar’s forces were involved in the corruption that Ivanov was practicing regarding the African Legion and its operations outside the Russian borders.

The Russian Investigative Committee announced that, according to the articles of the Russian Criminal Code, under which Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was detained, the expected punishment is up to 15 years of maximum security imprisonment. 

It added that investigations were underway and could result in the disclosure of new corruption files related to the Deputy Minister of Defense and other officials, which reflects the nature of the work of the African Legion that is led by generals accused of corruption.