Russian ex-governor gets 8-year prison sentence

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Former Kirov regional Gov. Nikita Belykh, who has been in custody since his June 2016 arrest while accepting money at a Moscow restaurant, stands in a cage in a court room in Moscow, Russia. (Andrey Nikerichev, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)
Former Kirov regional Gov. Nikita Belykh, who has been in custody since his June 2016 arrest while accepting money at a Moscow restaurant, stands in a cage in a court room in Moscow, Russia. (Andrey Nikerichev, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

Moscow – A court in Moscow has convicted a former provincial governor of taking a $500 000 bribe and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Lawyers for former Kirov regional Gov. Nikita Belykh said they would appeal the verdict delivered late on Thursday.

Belykh has been in custody since he was arrested in June 2016 while accepting the money at a Moscow restaurant. He rejected the charges as provocation.

Belykh's case was among a series of arrests of regional and federal officials intended to showcase Kremlin efforts to combat corruption.

Prior to his appointment to the governor's job, Belykh led a liberal party, an untypical track record untypical for Russia's provincial leaders.

Liberal politicians and commentators have questioned the charges against him, describing them as part of infighting in the Russian elite.

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