A court in Moscow has convicted a former provincial governor of taking a 400,000-euro ($500,000) bribe and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Lawyers for former Kirov regional Gov. Nikita Belykh said they would appeal the verdict delivered late Thursday.

Belykh has been in custody since his June 2016 arrest while accepting the money at a Moscow restaurant. He rejected the charges as provocation.

Belykh’s case was one in a series of arrests of regional and federal officials intended to showcase the Kremlin’s efforts to combat corruption.

Prior to his appointment to the governor’s job, Belykh led a liberal party, a track record untypical among Russia’s provincial leaders. Liberal politicians and commentators have questioned official charges against him, describing them as part of infighting in the Russian elite.