MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) - Investigators of the Chief Military Investigation Department of Russia’s Investigative Committee have brought the final charges against former chief of the Department of Property Relations of Russia’s Ministry of Defense Yevgeniya Vasilyeva and six her colleagues - defendants in the Oboronservis embezzlement cases. The charges have been brought against head of the Expert legal centre Yekaterina Smetanova, her common-law husband Maxim Zakutailo, head of the Mira company Dinara Bilyalova, Oboronstroi head Larissa Yegorina, head of the OJSC 31st State Design Institute of Special Construction Yuri Grekhnyov, as well as Irina Yegorova.
Spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin is quoted by the Vedomosti newspaper as saying that Vasilyeva was charged under four articles of the Russian Criminal Code: 159 (fraud), 174.1 (money laundering), 285 (exceeding of authority) and 286 (abuse of power) on 12 counts of the sale by Oboronservis of the Defense Ministry’s property at understated prices, in the view of the investigation. This property includes a complex of buildings in Smolensky Boulevard in the centre of Moscow (that had been owned by 31st State Design Institute of Special Construction), shares of the 31st State Design Institute of Special Construction, Soyuz Hotel, Mosvoyentorg building in Arbat Street, the building of the trade department of the Moscow Military District, as well as land plots in the Moscow Oblast and in Kuban. The rest defendants are charged under Russian Criminal Code articles 159, 160 and 174.1: they were not officials.
According to Article 69 of the Russian Criminal Code, the maximum sentence for Vasilyeva under the charges brought against her could be up to 15 years in prison because she is also charged with a grave crime under Article 159, part 4 that provides for a sentence of up to 10 years, and in this case the maximum punishment may be up to 1.5 maximum terms under the grave crime article, the newspaper notes.
Markin also noted that the Chief Military Investigation Department continues the investigation of 20 counts of similar crimes in which “many other officials are suspects of various statuses.” The launch of the Oboronservis vase investigation last November caused resignation of then Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, the Vedomosti newspaper recalls. He has been questioned several times, but he is not a suspect in the case, confirmed by his lawyer Genrikh Padva.
According to a law enforcement officer, all other persons involved in the Oboronservis cases would be charged by the end of October, but many episodes may fall apart before the charges are brought. The media have already reported that the case against CEO of the Security and Communication company Alexander Elkin, who was accused of embezzling funds during the repair of Russia’s Defense Ministry’s buildings, is jeopardized - it has turned out that the ministry has a debt to the company, which is fixed in the decision of an arbitration court. The evidence base in the case of alleged embezzlement during the car rent for the Defense Ministry by companies associated with Serdyukov’s son-in-law Valery Puzikov is also weak - is has not been really proven that the cars’ rent price was exceeded. There are also issues with other episodes, and it will also be not easy to prove that the prices during the sale of Oboronservis real estate, of which Vasilyeva is accused, were understated.