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Former defense minister reports to investigator as suspect in negligence case

December 03, 2013, 14:37 UTC+3 MOSOCW

Last week, the Investigative Committee said it had opened a case against the former defense minister under Article 293, Part 1 which did not envision imprisonment

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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Korotaev

MOSOCW, December 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Former Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has reported for questioning as a negligence case suspect at the Main Military Investigation Department (GVSU).

"Serdyukov arrived at the (GVSU) building in Khoroshevskoye Shosse at 12:00, Moscow time, together with his lawyer Konstantin Rivkin," a well-informed source told Itar-Tass.

Last week, the Investigative Committee said it had opened a case against the former defense minister under Article 293, Part 1 which did not envision imprisonment.

The source said the statute of limitation in the case would expire next autumn and that the investigation would have been completed by then.

Serdyukov denied the charges. Rivkin told Tass the Criminal Code article under which the case had been opened, did not envision custody as the measure of restraint.

Itar-Tass source did not rule out that the charges against the former minister might be changed to more serious ones, such as "abuse of office powers."

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin confirmed that the charged might be revised within ten days after the questioning.

In that case, the decision on the measure of restraint will follow the announcement of official charges, Markin said.

Investigators said Serdyukov, at the post of defense minister, issued a verbal order to his subordinates to tap budget funds for the construction of a road from the village of Krasa in Astrakhan region's Ikrayninsky district to the island of Shkolny which accommodated the Zhitnoye recreation center.

"Serdyukov explained his order by his plans to build a recreation center for Defense Ministry personnel. Also, he ordered to develop Zhitnoye's territory," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

Landscaping was done by conscripts from an aviation unit, while the road was built by railway troops. The soldiers were engaged in works which had nothing to do with their service, training or railway construction, the Investigative Committee spokesman said.

The road which was eventually built, could only be used by Zhitnye owners and visitors.

According to Markin, no documents, orders or directives were issued to substantiate the use of budget funds or establish the legal rights of the Defense Ministry to this road. Losses of the state exceeded 56 million rubles.

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