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Oboronservis case suspect Yekaterina Smetanova admits guilt

December 06, 2012, 17:47 UTC+3
She did so at Moscow's Khamovniki court in the course of the hearing over extending her custody
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MOSCOW, December 6 (Itar-Tass) — Former director of the "Expert" legal support center Yekaterina Smetanova, accused of fraud in the Oboronservis case, has admitted her guilt. Smetanova did so at Moscow's Khamovniki court in the course of the hearing over extending her custody.

"Taking into account my admitting my guilt, I have no reasons to obstruct the investigation," she said.

Smetanova noted that her actions had been purely economic.

"By my testimony, the court can ascertain my involvement in crimes and the extent of my culpability," she said.

She drew the court's attention to the fact that she had two children to support and that she had no intention to flee as she "did not even have enough money to hire a lawyer." At present, her interests are represented by a court-appointed judge.

For his part, the investigator said "there were no circumstances to select a softer measure of restraint for Smetanova, as there were reasons to believe that the defendant could escape, destroy evidence or persuade eye-witnesses into giving false testimony."

The investigator also noted that she had property abroad.

The defendant denied it by the prosecutor supported the investigator's position.

Initially, Smetanova asked the court to consider extending her custody in her absence. She later changed her mind and revoked her petition.

Moscow’s Khamovniki court extended custody for Yekaterina Smetanova.

Judge Andrei Lutov granted the request of investigators and extended the custody of Yekaterina Smetanova up to February 10, 2013.

The court had received sufficient evidence to assume that Smetanova may disappear from investigators and continue being engaged in criminal activities or obstruct the investigation in any other way. The judge also took account of the fact that Smetanova had a valid foreign passport which expires only in 2021. She has recently travelled to Spain, France and the Czech Republic.

Investigation into the Oboronservis case has been extended unit February 10. Investigators need additional time to collect more evidence and also in connection with a huge amount of investigative actions.

Now, the court will consider the expansion of custody for Smetanova’s husband Maxim Zakutailo, the former general director of the Moscow Military District warehouse, who’s also facing charges on this case.

Earlier, the main military investigation department /GVSU/ of the Investigative Committee /SK/ opened seven criminal cases over fraud involving 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.

Former head of the "Expert" legal support center Yekaterina Smetanova and her husband, former director general of a Moscow Military District warehouse Maxim Zakutailo are in custody on charges of fraud.

Former director of the Defense Ministry’s property department Yevgenia Vasilyeva is under house arrest.

GVSU chief Alexander Sorochkin did not rule out the questioning of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov within the case "provided there are reasons for it."

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