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The number of high-profile corruption scandals involving senior officials has been growing as new suspects from various ministries departments and state-owned companies have been coming into the limelight. On Tuesday, the Rossiya 1 state television channel ran a film alleging the involvement of former Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik in the theft of 39 billion roubles belonging to the Rosagroleasing state company. The ex-minister denied the accusations but Rosagroleasing officials think to the contrary.
The authors of the film claim the damage to the state had reached almost 40 billion roubles, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes, and that Skrynnik was directly involved. In an interview with Russina media outlets, the former minister flatly denied the accusations: "What the Rossiya 1 channel is pitching is a lie. What I hear about the 39-billion-rouble damage – it's all because of a lack of competence of those who voice these figures."
She did not deny that damage to the state had been caused, yet she blamed her successors at Rosagroleasing.
According to the former minister, they deliberately had piled up a huge debt to decapitalize the company and sell it as loss-making. It happened after she /Skrynnik/ quit the company's board for the Ministry of Agriculture. By the results of 2008, the lessees' debt only reached one billion roubles. "They now have a liability which they call an embezzlement of 39 billion roubles for some reason," said an indignant Skrynnik. She advised to ask former Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov about the missing billions who headed Rosagroleasing's board after Skrynnik.
Therefore, the long list of those suspected of involvement in corruption and embezzlement of budget money added another name of a former high-plale official. One might have an impression that "Skrynnik's case" that dates back several years, was specially brought up in order to subject Zubkov to abuse. It is with Zubkov's family that they link the disfavor of and sacking of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
There are no rules in the undeclared war of compromising materials waged between the Kremlin clans, yet logic can be clearly seen, the newspaper believes. The mass media, reporting ever new details and having a field day with them, are awaking the society to a hunter's excitement. It makes no difference to the burgher any more who it all began with, but it is very interesting to see who will be the last in the series of scandals.
Skrynnik led Rosagroleasing from 2001, the Komsomolskaya Pravda reported. Reports that things were not right at the company began to appear around that time. The film analyzes the 2002 scandal, when Rosagroleasing allegedly bought equipment at price that was 40 percent higher than market prices. The plans to purchase foreign equipment also caused a stir. "If you manufacture good equipment, we'll purchase from you," Skrynnik said in response.
"That the new spiral of the struggle against high-placed embezzlers is part of a show is seen from the fact that the accusations were voiced on the television screen, not by law-enforcement bodies, and that the new suspects are former officials," the Novye Izvestia believes. The matter concerns the thefts that happened years ago; the Audit Chamber published a report about the Rosagroleasing check back in early 209.
The sharp increase in the exposure rate of thefts to a record-high mirrors the situation with exposed theft of budget funds at the Ministry of Defense, the newspaper underlines. The sum of stolen money in the Oboronservis case jumped from 400 million roubles to 6.7 billion roubles in just a month, as Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Sorochkin stated on Wednesday.
A similar scenario happened with the exposed thefts within the GLONASS program. Whereas in the summer, the investors mentioned 600 million roubles of stolen money, its sum by November - following the resignation of head of Russian Space Systems Yuri Urlichich – reached over 6 billion. Experts have an impression that the wave of anti-corruption scandals which is building up tsunami-like, is part of a quota ordered from top.