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MOSCOW, April 2 (Itar-Tass) – A criminal case over exceeding authority and compulsion has been opened against deputy governor of the Novgorod region Arnold Shalmuyev, the Interior Ministry's press service told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
"The case was opened over the exposed facts of theft of budget funds allocated for road repairs in the province," the press service said.
Searches are now underway in the building of the regional administration.
The Interior Ministry said agents of the main department for economic security and combating corruption, jointly with their colleagues from the Novgorod region, investigators and prosecutors, stopped the operation of an organized group, whose members were suspected of stealing some 500 million roubles from the road repairs fund.
"The group operated in the period from 2011 through 2012," police said.
In 2011, the funds allocated from the budget for road repairs, were transferred to fly-by-night firms through the Magistral company. They were cashed and shared between members of the criminal group. As a result, some 150 million roubles were stolen last year.
In 2012, the scheme was changed. "An independent entrepreneur won a road repair tender in 2012. However, as result of pressure by members of the organized criminal group called "Kravchechnko," the winner gave up the project," the Interior Ministry said.
Later, the Veche company won the tender and signed contracts with 12 outsourcers. "Their executives were forced to pay the so-called 'kickbacks.' The largest sums were intended for high-placed officials, and the rest of the money was shared between "Kravchenko" group members.
Criminal proceedings against Shalmuyev who was in charge of the regional road network, have been opened under Article 286 /exceeding authority/ and Article 179 /forcing a transaction/.
In all, five criminal cases have been opened over this fact, including one against a senior official of the Novgorodavtodor road construction company.
Police also said they have carried out an operation experiment to trace the movement of funds in the scheme.