A former department head of Russia’s prison service has died by suicide in court, media outlets reported Wednesday.

Viktor Sviridov, who was attending his sentencing on extortion charges during his time as head of the Federal Prison Service’s transport department, did not survive the attempt to take his own life. The court had reportedly sentenced him to three years in maximum-security prison.

“The defendant committed suicide after the judge read out the verdict,” Moscow City Court spokeswoman Ulyana Solopova told Interfax.

Authorities are now attempting to establish how Sviridov was able to get an alleged service weapon through security, an unnamed source told the news agency.

“According to preliminary information, the bag where he carried the gun was inspected properly,” the source was quoted as saying.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that Sviridov had stage four terminal cancer.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it is looking into the incident.