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One million dollars in Iranian cash 'stolen from vodka box at Russian foreign ministry' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

One million dollars in Iranian cash 'stolen from vodka box at Russian foreign ministry'

Over $1 million in cash was reportedly stolen and replaced by one dollar bills [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 December, 2020

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A Russian foreign ministry official reportedly tried to commit suicide after discovering that one million dollars in Iranian money had disappeared from a box of vodka in her office

Russian foreign ministry official has reportedly been arrested after over $1 million in Iranian funds was stolen from a vodka box it was stored in at Moscow's diplomatic headquarters.

The funds were part of a payment from Tehran to Moscow for consular services, according to a REN TV report on Thursday. Iran often makes cash payments in order to circumvent US sanctions on its banking system.

This explains why the cash had been stored in a box of Absolut Vodka.

The money was reportedly sent to top finance department official Natalia Agaltsova, who was thrown into a shocked frenzy when she discovered that the box contained stacks of $1 dollar bills topped with single $100 bills, indicating that more than $1 million was missing from the consignment.

Agaltsova says she panicked and attempted to replace the missing funds by using cash from a register in the office, using $200,000 of her own money and applying for a bank loan. When the application was rejected, the official reportedly attempted to commit suicide, fearing that she would be held responsible for the shortfall.

Agaltsova was detained and placed under house arrest, according to reports, but has now been released with restrictions on her movements.

Investigations have revealed that the cash was swiped from the foreign ministry in broad daylight at the end of 2019, according to Russian state-funded news outlet RT.

RT said that Agaltsova appears in surveillance footage and can be seen leaving the foreign ministry with two packed bags.

A Moscow resident who claimed to be a neighbour of Agaltsova told REN TV that the foreign minstry official had given him a box for safe keeping. The man added that investigators found more than $148,000 inside.

Russian authorities confirmed late on Thursday that investigations were underway into the removal of a large amount of cash from the foreign ministry.

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