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Investigation into Oboronservis case within legal framework - prosecutor

February 20, 2013, 13:44 UTC+3

The refusal by former Defense Minister Anatoly Sergyukov to testify is "envisioned by the law," the prosecutor said

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ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 20 (Itar-Tass) - The investigation into the Oboronservis case is running within the legal framework, chief military prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky stated at meeting of senior military prosecutors in the Southern Military District on Wednesday.

"As a prosecutor, I say everything is all right. I cannot tell who might be convicted or where they'll serve their prison terms. There is a reason to expect all the 16 Oboronservis cases to be carried through and the culprits to get the punishment they deserve," Fridinsky said.

The refusal by former Defense Minister Anatoly Sergyukov to testify is "envisioned by the law," the prosecutor said.

On Tuesday, Serdyukov and former director of the Defense Ministry's property department Yevgenia Vasilyeva were summoned for questioning to the SK's main military investigation department /GVSU/, but refused to answer questions or give explanations, citing Article 51 of the Constitution, which allows the citizens not to testify against themselves or their relatives.

Earlier, the GVSU opened at more than a dozen 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 is estimated at billions of roubles.

Investigators do not rule out more suspects in the case and an increase in the sum of damage.

Maxim Zakutailo 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.

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