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MOSCOW, January 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Almost all central newspapers report that criminal proceedings have been instituted against the son-in-law of Russian former defense minister. The criminal case over large-scale fraud and embezzlement against Valery Puzikov - the husband of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serduykov’s sister Galina - was opened on Wednesday.
Specifically, Puzikov’s alleged crimes are only indirectly related to the Oboronservis case, the Novye Izvestia newspaper writes. “The case has been severed,” a law enforcement source said. The Oboronservis case was opened in autumn 2012. According to the investigation, real estate and land owned by the Russian Ministry of Defense was sold off at reduced prices through a holding company (“Expert”) created to hide the officers’ economic activity.
According to the source, the case deals with the period when Puzikov headed the Petersburg Engineering and Technical Center of the Russian Defense Ministry. According to the investigation, he rented from affiliated companies expensive luxury cars for the ministry’s senior leadership, paying for them with money taken from the Defense Ministry accounts. However, the cars in actual fact were not used, and the money was misappropriated by the company management.
The newspaper writes that the investigation had earlier found out that Puzikov was also involved in other deal that was the reason for criminal charges against Serdyukov. According to a version of the law enforcement agencies, being defense minister in 2010 Serduykov had ordered his subordinates to build an eight-kilometre automobile road at the expense of the budget from the Krasa settlement in the Astrakhan region to the Shkolny Island where the Zhitnoye recreation center was located. This private facility with the cost of 150 million roubles belonged to Valery Puzikov. Conscript soldiers were engaged in the planting of greenery at the recreation center and building of the road.
According to Kommersant sources, testimony against Puzikov was given by his former colleagues who were released from custody for that. “So, now it is already Mr Puzikov who is facing arrest, unless he agrees to witness against his eminent relative,” the newspaper stresses. “The investigators had already applied a similar scheme of phased approach to Mr Serdyukov, but then the chain of arrests and confessions had broken on the former minister’s ex-girlfriend, Yevgeniya Vasilyeva.”
According to unofficial sources of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Puzikov was ready to pay one billion roubles “to compensate for the damage” and close the case. However, this proposal was not accepted.
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