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Defense minister may be questioned as witness within the Oboronservis case

November 01, 2012, 11:40 UTC+3

Anatoly Serdyukov may become a suspect in a high profile criminal case opened by the main military investigation department

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The mass media reported that Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov might be questioned within the high profile case over the sale of real estate belonging to the Defense Ministry at understated prices, including land plots and company shares.

The Kommersant reminds that former director of the Defense Ministry's property department and member of the Oboronservis board Yevgeniya Vasilyeva had already testified in the case. Her friend is already in custody. The investigators are to find out how the unique and highly profitable 31st state-owned Design Institute for Special Construction /GPISS/ became part of the non-core asset sold to commercial bodies. The Institute renovated cosmodromes, and designed silos, piers for nuclear submarines and air/space defense facilities.

Defense Minister Serdyukov may become a suspect in a high profile criminal case opened by the main military investigation department under Article 159, Part 4 /"fraud"/, Article 286, Part 3 /"exceeding authority"/ and Article 285, Part 3, /"abuse of office powers"/, the newspaper writes. According to the Investigative Committee, the fraudulent schemes that caused a 3-billion-rouble damage, were carried through at the companies affiliated with Oboronservis, whose board of directors Mr Serdyukov had chaired until recently. According to the Kommersant's information, the investigators intend to question him as a witness. Serdyukov's neighbor, former director of the Ministry’s property department Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, 33, was recently questioned as a witness within the case, too. Police searched her apartment on October 25, seizing documents, jewelry and antiques. Vasilyeva told the investigators she was not involved in any schemes but the transactions the law-enforcement bodies are examining now might indicate to the contrary.

The Izvestia writes that Krasnodar officials covered up the Defense Ministry's land schemes for three years.

Criminal cases might be opened against the Krasnodar officials who had permitted the construction of the so-called Serdyukov's dacha on the shore of the Sea of Azov. The Izvestia found out that the investigation committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Audit Chamber are looking into all land transactions involving the Defense Ministry and its obtaining construction permits in the Krasnodar Territory. Investigation sources do not rule out that a number of officials from the local department of the Rosprirodnazor Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Resources might be relieved of their duties, as their colleagues at the regional departments for nature resources and state environmental supervision and environmental prosecutors.

All the organizations were aware that the Defense Ministry was implementing construction projects in the UNESCO-protected water area. Not only did they know, they also covered it up and built daches for themselves 100 meters from Serdyukov's villa, local residents claimed.

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