TOMSK, Russia -- The former mayor of the Siberian city of Tomsk, Ivan Klyain, has rejected charges of abuse of office and illegal business activities at the start of his trial.
Klyain stated in the courtroom on April 8 that he's not guilty of any of the charges and described allegations by investigators and prosecutors as attempts to put "pressure" on him.
Klyain was arrested in November 2020 with investigators saying at the time that he was suspected of using his post to illegally prevent the construction of a building in 2016-17 on land close to the Tomsk Beer company, which he controls.
The 61-year-old Klyain has served as the mayor of Tomsk since 2013. Before being appointed to the post, he had been the general director of the Tomsk Beer company -- one of the largest breweries in the region -- since 1994.
After becoming mayor, his wife was elected by Tomsk Beer's board of directors as the facility's general director.
In 2013, the Kommersant newspaper wrote that Klyain owned 51 percent of Tomsk Beer, while his spouse and daughters owned 20 percent of the company's shares.
For several years, Klyain declared one of the highest incomes among Russian mayors, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets.