MOSCOW, January 29 (Itar-Tass) – A criminal case was opened against Yekaterina Smetanova, the head of the Expert Center for Legal Support and a suspect within the Oboronservis embezzlement case, on charges of commercial bribery, the press service of Russia’s Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“Smetanova is suspected of several corruption schemes related to the sale of property owned by the Defense Ministry at prices below market value,” the source said.
Investigators found out that Smetanova had taken bribes through an agent from interested persons for assistance in marketing the ministry’s property.
"They have evidence of the handover to Smetanova of two package tours to the Czech Republic and Israel with a total value of 500,000 roubles, two tablet PCs, and six million roubles. Smetanova was detained by agents of the Interior Ministry's department for economic security and combating corruption /GUEBiPK/ as she was taking the money," the press service said.
Moscow's Khamovniki court selected custody as the measure of restraint for Smetanova. "The investigation is continuing," an Interior Ministry official said.
Yekaterina Smetanova, her husband Maxim Zakutailo and head of the Defense Ministry’s' economic department Nikolai Ryabykh are under arrest on charges of fraud within the framework of the resounding Oboronservis case. Former director of the Defense Ministry’s property department Yevgenia Vasilyeva is under house arrest, and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was questioned as a witness.
Earlier, the main military investigation department /GVSU/ of the Investigative Committee /SK/ opened ten criminal cases over fraud involving at least 14 real estate facilities that belonged to the Oboronservis company subordinate to the Defense Ministry.
They were pooled in one case and are being investigated under the articles on fraud and exceeding and abusing authority.
Defense Ministry officials selected the most liquid and prestigious assets belonging to the Ministry, including Moscow-based property. As a rule, tremendous budget funds were injected into the property before it was sold at understated prices to commercial bodies affiliated with Oboronservis, the SK reported earlier.
Also, many facilities were purchased with the money stolen from Oboronservis.
The damage within the case is estimated at over four billion roubles.
Investigators do not rule out more suspects in the case and an increase in the sum of damage.