image copyrightsledcom.ruimage captionA gilded toilet and bidet, allegedly belonging to the Stavropol crime gang

A gilded toilet and other luxuries were found in a mansion raided by Russian investigators, who say they busted a gang of corrupt police.

The Investigative Committee (SK) website has a video showing extravagant interiors in a huge mansion, among many properties raided.

Col Alexei Safonov, head of traffic police in the southern Stavropol region, was arrested with six others.

Traffic police allegedly took bribes for issuing fake permits to businesses.

The permits allegedly enabled drivers to pass through police checkpoints with unauthorised cargoes of grain and building materials.

The accused have not yet commented on the charges.

Police forces across Russia's North Caucasus were involved in the anti-corruption operation. The SK says it conducted about 80 searches – including in traffic police offices – and seized large quantities of cash, as well as luxury cars.

image copyrightsledcom.ruimage captionThe SK video shows this luxury villa allegedly belonging to the crime gangimage copyrightsledcom.ruimage captionEven the kitchen is dripping in gold ornamentationimage copyrightsledcom.ruimage captionOne politician compared the suspects to a mafia gang

The SK – a Russian state body modelled on the US FBI – says Safonov's gang pocketed bribes over several years, worth more than 19m roubles (£187,000; $255,000).

Safonov could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty. His predecessor Alexander Arzhanukhin was among those arrested.

Alexander Khinshteyn, an MP in the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, said more than 35 traffic police officers in the region had been detained.

"In essence, a real kind of mafia has been operating in Stavropol, profiting from everything: from black market number plates and cargo permits, to deliveries of sand," he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

More on Russian corruption investigations:

  • Gaunt Navalny attacks Putin as network is disbanded
  • The luxury, mould and fake walls of 'Putin's palace'
  • Massive theft taints Putin's pet space project
  • Russian police convicted of busting own drug den

How Russia's press reported the Stavropol traffic police case:

Today's Russian papers display the gold toilet of a Russian police chief arrested on corruption charges. Describing his garish residence, one paper says: “It’s sad that in 30 years we’ve learned how to steal, but not how to spend the money.” #ReadingRussia @BBCNews @BBCWorld

— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) July 21, 2021
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