March 13, 22:43
A new corruption scandal begins at the Defence Ministry. It involves command of the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN). The Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the involved persons had misappropriated the budget’s money, allocated for restoration of the land plots, where launching facilities for ballistic missiles used to be. The case is about at least 500 million roubles.
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes the military officials had received millions of roubles in bribes from non-military companies. One of the persons involved was a head of the RVSN’s department, who had signed a contract for the restoration of eleven launching pads in the Orenburg region. And the counterpart in the deal was the official’s former colleague. The gross cost of the orders exceeded ten million roubles.
The newspaper stresses it is not the first criminal case on corruption at the RVSN. Back in November, 2012, the investigators learned that the company resorted land in a missile unit. The Investigative Commission revealed misappropriation of seven million roubles then. Involved in the case were Major General Valery Tarazevich and the unit’s Commander Colonel Farid Sigmardanov.
This case does not involve former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov, who is a witness in the criminal case on corruption and misappropriation of state funding at Oboronservis. Well, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes, formally he is not involved in case on the millions misappropriated by the RVSN officials. However, the case means another black spot on Serdukov’s reputation. The thing is, that President Vladimir Putin, who trusted in 2007 to his prot·g· the position of the defence minister, hoped that he would impose a reliable barrier to bribes and theft at the defence authority. The ministry with a non-transparent budget, which is rather a state in a state, required a minister, which would have functions of a financial expert. The president must have believed that since Serdukov had been managing the Federal Tax Service for three years, he must have had necessary experience and skills, but his hopes did not come true – following the misappropriation of billions at Oboronservis, bribes of millions are emerging at the RVSN.
“The latest scandals are direct consequences from lack of independent, market-style systems of auditing the defence authority,” the Novye Izvestia quotes expert of the Centre for Political Analysis Dmitry Abzalov as saying. Besides, the authorities continue eliminating Serdukov’s team from the Defence Ministry. Clearly, the Missile Forces are not likely to be an exception.
Meanwhile, the Kommersant reports about a possible new criminal case, involving Serdukov’s friend – former Head of the ministry’s Property Relations Department Evgeniya Vasilyeva. This time she may be accused of fraudulent sales of military facilities. Under this case Vasilyeva may be brought to responsibility for misappropriation and misapplication. By having used faked agreements with Oboronservis, the officials cashed out dozens million roubles, which were used later on for paying to the staff, which served Vasilyeva.