Timur Ivanov, who denies the charges, is accused of accepting bribes “on a particularly large scale”.

Appointed to the defence ministry in 2016, Mr Ivanov, 47, has been responsible for Russia’s military infrastructure projects.

Activists have long criticised the levels of alleged corruption in Russia.

However, such high profile cases have been rare since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Mr Ivanov is considered an ally of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and has worked with him for many years. He was previously deputy prime minister of the Moscow region, where Mr Shoigu briefly served as governor.

In 2022, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), the group founded by late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accused Mr Ivanov of participating in “corruption schemes during construction in the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia”.In particular, it said he had profited from construction projects in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, much of which was destroyed by Russian bombing in the months following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.Basmanny district court in Moscow remanded him in jail for two months on charges of entering into a criminal conspiracy with third parties in his role of supervising the construction and overhaul of defence ministry facilities.

If found guilty he could face up to 15 years in jail. A second man, Sergei Borodin, who was described as a friend of the Mr Ivanov, also appeared in court on Moscow on similar charges.

Mr Ivanov denied the allegations made against him by Russia’s Investigative Committee. The section of Russia’s criminal code under which Mr Ivanov was detained – Part 6 of article 290 – applies when a suspected bribe exceeds one million roubles (£8,620; $10,700).

Mr Ivanov’s arrest marks a rare move against a member of Russia’s governing elite, many of whom are believed to have used their positions to amass vast personal fortunes.

Some Russian commentators have said the arrest will be a blow to Mr Shoigu. “If he can’t manage it, he will be next to fall. This person is 100% his man,” one anonymous source told a popular military Telegram channel.