Russian firms embezzle $257 mn of army funds

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 03:50 hrs

Moscow, Nov 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Companies controlled by the Russian defence ministry together embezzled more than 10 billion rubles ($257 million) this year, investigators said Wednesday.

The alleged sum included 6.7 billion rubles ($215 million) suspected to have been stolen via a corruption scheme that cost defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov his job earlier this month, Investigative Committee spokesman Alexander Sorochkin said.

The sum in the high−profile case was previously reported to be three billion rubles.

In 2011, losses from combined embezzlement at the ministry stood at three billion rubles, according to the Military Prosecutor General's Office.

Investigators are planning to question Serdyukov, a long−time ally of President Vladimir Putin, over his involvement in the alleged property scam, but have not decided on the date, Sorochkin said.

Putin removed Serdyukov after the corruption scandal went public earlier in November, but stressed at the time that the minister was not implicated in the case.

Two businessmen were arrested as part of the probe into the case, and a third was detained overnight, Sorochkin said.

A close subordinate of Serdyukov, Yelena Vasilyeva, is currently under house arrest in Moscow.

−−IANS/RIA Novosti


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