MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – A rare World War II-era tank was spared from disappearing into a private collection in Russia’s Rostov Region, where an official was fined 550,000 rubles ($18,000) for trying to sell the machine.
Former deputy district head Ivan Boichenko was talked into selling the tank by an unnamed businessman with a hobby of collecting military equipment, a local court spokesman told RIA Novosti on Monday.
The entrepreneur had his eyes on a T-44 tank on display in the town of Belaya Kalitva. Only about 1,800 machines of this model were produced between 1944 and 1947, which makes them a sought-after collectible, the court spokesman said.
Boichenko valued the tank at 7 million rubles ($230,000) and proposed to exchange it for a cheaper T-34 and 4.5 million rubles in cash that he intended to pocket.
However, the businessman reported the official to the police, who nabbed him during the money transfer.
Boichenko pleaded guilty to fraud and abuse of authority, which allowed him to avoid jail.
No legal consequences were reported for the tank-collecting businessman. The contents of his collection remained undisclosed.