U.S. Cancer Medicine Inventor Arrested in Russia on Bribery Charges

Russian police have arrested an American cancer-medicine inventor on suspicion of bribery, business daily Kommersant reported Friday.

According to the charges, Gene Miron Spektor gave 4 million rubles ($64,000) in the form of two-holiday packages to Thailand and the Dominican Republic to a former cabinet official’s assistant in 2015 and 2016. Spektor, who Kommersant reports was formerly a Soviet citizen, faces a maximum prison sentence of 12 years if found guilty on charges of facilitating a bribe.

The alleged bribe-taker, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich’s former assistant Anastasiya Alexeyeva, faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Dvorkovich himself says he did not know about the bribe. 

Authorities detained Spektor in St. Petersburg on Wednesday after the other defendants in the bribery case testified against him. He was brought to Moscow overnight, the newspaper reported.

The two other defendants’ lawyers said they allegedly gave the bribe to Alexeyeva in exchange for help with adding their pharmaceutical companies’ products to a list of controlled substances, Kommersant reported.

Spektor and Alexeyeva have been placed in pre-trial detention until April 19, Kommersant reported. Spektor reportedly denied his guilt in court and asked to be placed under house arrest.

Europe’s patent office lists Spektor and three Russian nationals as the inventors of an antibody that can be used for cancer treatment. 

He is the latest American citizen to be jailed in Russia in recent months. 

U.S. investor Michael Calvey spent two months in jail last spring before being placed under house arrest on suspicion of embezzlement. Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan has spent more than a year in detention on suspicion of espionage.