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Military prosecutors expose new episode of fraud involving Defense Ministry property

February 06, 2013, 11:59 UTC+3

The land plot was withdrawn from the Defense Ministry's property and sold to a commercial firm at a price that was understated by more than 56 million roubles

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MOSCOW, February 6 (Itar-Tass) - The main military prosecutor's office /GVSU/ exposed a new episode of illegal sale of Defense Ministry property. "The GVSU sent another case to the Investigative Committee over sale of a land plot on the coast of the Black Sea at an understated price," a military prosecutor said on Tuesday.

"It was ascertained that the real estate in question was handed over for free by a municipality to the Defense Ministry. However, five months later, without implementing the plan to accommodate military facilities there, the land plot was withdrawn from the Defense Ministry's property and sold to a commercial firm at a price that was understated by more than 56 million roubles," the GVSU said.

The SK is to consider opening criminal proceedings under Article 159, Part 4 "grand fraud," and Article 285, Part 3 "abuse of office which resulted in grave consequences."

Earlier, the main military investigation department /GVSU/ of the Investigative Committee /SK/ opened at least ten criminal cases over fraud in the sale of 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.

Former warehouse director of the Moscow Air Force and Air Defense District Maxim Zakutailo, former director and head of the Defense Ministry’s' economic department Nikolai Ryabykh are under arrest on charges of fraud. 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. Zakutailo's wife - former director of the Expert legal support center Yekaterina Smetanova - is on recognizance.

On Tuesday, Moscow's Khamovniki court extended Zakutailo's arrest to April 10.

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