The chairman of the Higher Attestation Commission of the Ministry of Education and Science, Felix Shamkhalov, was detained by law enforcement authorities on Tuesday.
According to the investigators, the company, co-chairman of which is the official, received 178.4 mln dollars as a loan from Vnesheconombank to build a luxury village. However, the loan has not been repaid, and the construction is frozen.
Shamkhalov is one of the most influential officials of the ministry. He is director of the department for training and certification of scientists and teachers in scientific fields and chairman of the Higher Attestation Commission, the Komsomolskaya Pravda notes.
Besides, he controls several companies, including Zarechye-2. In 2006, Vnesheconombank provided a loan for Zarechye to build housing in Moscow's suburbs. Housing is not built, there is only a foundation pit. However, nobody intended to repay the loan. The bank appealed to authorities to open a case on fraud charges.
Shamkhalov's share co-holder, director-general of the Zarechey-2 company Anton Solovarov was also detained on Tuesday.
According to the Kommersant's sources in law-enforcement services, the Attestation Commission is suspected of organizing a scheme to embezzle loans, in which employees of commercial banks and executives of commercial organizations participated.
Vnesheconombank noted that it repeatedly informed Zarechye-2 about the necessity to strictly fulfill the obligations under the agreement. The obligations were not fulfilled, and the bank in November 2012 appealed to the court of arbitration, and after numerous expert examinations detected embezzlement of loans, it appealed to the law-enforcement authorities. The state corporation intends to take all lawful actions to protect its interests, the newspaper cited bank sources as saying.
Shamkhalov's representatives state the opposite, saying VEB with its actions prevented the implementation of the project, blocking all the decisions.
The Education Ministry, noting that the investigation had no connection to the ministry's work, said that an inquiry was launched into the activities of Shamkhalov as commission head.
More than 10 searches have been conducted in the detained persons' residence places and offices, including in Shamkhalov's country house and office, and some things and documents were taken from there for the investigation, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper cited the Russian Interior Ministry's report.
Shamkhalov is detained for 48 hours.