A deputy mayor of the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok and two other city officials were held on suspicion that they made the city foot the bill for their vacation in China, investigators said on Thursday.
The officials allegedly swindled 250,000 rubles ($7,700) from the city budget by requesting funds for a business trip to Hong Kong but instead simply spent time there at their leisure, a spokeswoman for the regional branch of the Investigative Committee said.
The trip took place in March, the spokeswoman said. She did not specify why it was not investigated earlier and did not identify any of the suspects. The Vladivostok mayor has nine deputies.
More suspects are under investigation over the case, which can land them in jail for up to six years on fraud charges.
A similar incident took place in April, when media accused newly installed Volgograd Governor Sergei Bozhenov of taking 46 officials to Italy to celebrate his birthday at the region’s expense. The officials denied all the accusations, saying they were on a business trip to strengthen ties between Italy and the southern Russian region. No repercussions followed.