Russian official tries to sell WWII tank

Moscow, Jan 15 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A rare World War II-era tank was spared from disappearing into a private collection in Russia, where an official was fined 550,000 rubles ($18,000) for trying to sell the machine.

Former deputy district head of Rostov region, Ivan Boichenko, was talked into selling the tank by an unnamed businessman with a hobby of collecting military equipment, a court spokesman told RIA Novosti.

The entrepreneur had his eyes on a T-44 tank on display in Belaya Kalitva town.

Only about 1,800 machines of the model were produced between 1944 and 1947, which makes them a sought-after collectible, the court spokesman said.

Boichenko valued the tank at seven million rubles ($230,000) and proposed to exchange it for a cheaper T-34 and 4.5 million rubles in cash that he intended to pocket.

However, the businessman reported the official to the police, who nabbed him during the money transfer.

Boichenko pleaded guilty to fraud and abuse of authority, which allowed him to avoid jail.

No legal consequences were reported for the tank-collecting businessman. The contents of his collection remained undisclosed.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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