Russia: Minister accused of kidnapping for $1.4m ransom

A senior cabinet member in Russia's volatile Dagestan region has been accused of kidnapping a teenager to extract millions of roubles in ransom, it's reported.

The teenager was stopped and forced into a car when driving a quadbike in July. Prosecutors say he was only freed on 12 September, after his father paid the abductors an equivalent of $1.4m (£880,000) in ransom, reports the government-owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Two days after the boy's release, Deputy Industry and Energy Minister Ruslan Gadzhibekov was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the kidnap, it says.

Dagestan, a Muslim-dominated republic in Russia's restive North Caucasus region, has been described as the most dangerous place in Europe due to its mix of religious radicalism, official corruption and day-to-day violence. Gadzhibekov's brother Arsen - a top security official in Dagestan's capital Makhachkala - was killed in December 2011. A former mayor of Makhachkala is on trial for his murder.

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