MOSCOW, September 30 (Itar-Tass) - There has been an unexpected turn in the scandalous story around Russia’s Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) in which operatives of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Accounts Chamber found financial irregularities amounting to 23.9 billion rubles, including misappropriation of budget funds in the amount of 2.5 billion rubles.
The Izvestia daily writes that one of the main suspects in the case - deputy head of Rosreestr Sergei Sapelnikov, on September 7 fled abroad. His whereabouts are still unknown. The official carries state secrets of the first category, Rosreestr and intelligence agencies did not give him any permission to leave. Sapelnikov has already been fired from the job and denied access to state secrets, and intelligence agencies and the Investigative Committee are considering putting him on the international wanted list.
Several sources at the Ministry of Economic Development told the publication that on September 7 deputy head of Rosreestr Sergei Sapelnikov driving a car of his girlfriend crossed the state border near Bryansk Oblast and went to Ukraine. Rosreestr could not immediately comment to Izvestia on the situation around Sapelnikov. A source close to the agency suggests that he is now already in the United States and is not going to return to Russia, because here he is facing prosecution. Last time Sapelnikov went abroad in late July on a business trip to the UK.
The Investigative Committee is currently deciding whether to institute criminal proceedings against Sapelnikov overt the misuse of budget funds, fraud and negligence. If the case is opened, the official may be put on the international wanted list.
In June, media reported that the Russian Accounts Chamber and FSB at the request of the Economic Development Ministry checked the fulfillment by Rosreestr of a sub-program for the creation of the Cadastre of Immovable Property and found that none of its targets was fully achieved. More than half of the budget was used with violations, believe auditors of the Accounts Chamber: misappropriation of budget funds amounted to 2.5 billion rubles, 5.8 billion rubles were used ineffectively, and another 8.2 billion rubles were “spent to no purpose,” and Rosreestr had no right at all to spend 5.1 billion rubles.
The Accounts Chamber saw major violations in the works, supervised by Rosreestr deputy head Sapelnikov.