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Investigators might bring charges against ex-Russian defense minister on December 6

December 03, 2013, 17:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The source could not tell if the former defense minister was facing more serious charges
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© ITAR-TASSGennady Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, December 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Charges against former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov might be brought as early as December 6, a well-informed source told Itar-Tass.

"The investigator summoned Serdyukov on Friday, December 6," the source said. He could not tell if the former defense minister was facing more serious charges.

On Tuesday, Serdyukov was questioned as a suspect in the criminal case over negligence during the construction of a road to the Zhitnoye recreation center and its development at expense of budget funding.

Serdyukov denied the charges and refused to give evidence.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Serdyukov had used Article 51 of the Russian Constitution which gives the right not to testify against oneself. The same right was used by former head of the Defense Ministry's property department Yevgenia Vasilyeva.

However, it did not prevent the investigators to charge her under several articles of the Criminal Code, Markin said, noting that as for Serdyukov, the investigators have enough evidence proving his direct involvement in illegal actions.

Markin said Serdyukov was on recognizance and that charges against him could be changed.

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.

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, according to the spokesman.

Eventually, the road could only be used by Zhitnoye owners and visitors.

Markin said 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 incurred to the state exceeded 56 million rubles.

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