The State Investigation Bureau confirmed on July 13 that it had destroyed some of the secret files in several high-profile criminal cases.
The case files are linked to several pro-Kremlin politicians, and their alleged destruction prompted speculation that treason or corruption is involved. The State Investigation Bureau did not respond to a request for additional comments.
The files were destroyed immediately after Russia launched its all-out invasion on Feb. 24. The Bureau claimed that it had destroyed only secret case files regulated by a special by-law on state secrets. It was not clear which files were meant and what was the reason for their destruction.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said earlier that prosecutors had not authorized detectives of the State Investigation Bureau to destroy the case files. The Bureau alleged that, under martial law, it did not need prosecutors’ approval to destroy them.
The State Investigation Bureau also claimed that destroying these files would not have any impact on the quality of the investigations.
At the same time, the Bureau opened a criminal probe against those who have published information about the destruction of the files, accusing them of “interfering” with the Bureau’s work. The State Investigation Bureau alleged that they sought to “destabilize” its work by spreading “unreliable” information on the destruction of case files.
The State Investigation Bureau, an agency similar to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations, investigates non-corruption crimes committed by top officials.