Defense property scandal suspect charged with embezzling over $6 million
MOSCOW, March 28 - RAPSI. The police have charged Yevgenia Vasilyeva, former Defense Ministry official involved in the case of Oboronservice, with embezzling shares worth over 190 million rubles ($6.2 million), the Investigative Committee announced on Thursday.
The former head of the Defense Ministry's property management department allegedly stole shares of the 31st State Special Design Institute. The Investigative Committee has established that a group of the institute's buildings in central Moscow was sold at 300 million rubles ($9.7 million) below its market value.
The institute designs defense facilities. According to the committee, 70% of the institute's shares were bought by the VitaProject company, owned at the time by Vasilyeva.
Vasilyeva's lawyer in a follow-up statement denied any new charges.
Vasilyeva has been charged as part of the fraud case involving the illegal sales of property, land and shares belonging to the subsidiaries of the state-run Oboronservice holding company. If convicted, she may be sentenced to up to six years in prison.
In late October, Vasilyeva’s apartment was searched during an investigation into the sale of state property at prices below their market value. Investigators seized antiques, jewelry and 3 million rubles ($96,000).
Earlier this month, a Moscow court ruled to arrest the property of Vasilyeva, which included one apartment in Moscow, two apartments in St. Petersburg and some 600 square meters of commercial property in downtown Moscow.
She is currently under house arrest, having been ordered to wear an electronic ankle tag.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was dismissed amid this corruption scandal last November to ensure impartiality in the criminal investigations. He has been summoned several times for questioning as a witness as part of the embezzlement cases linked to Oboronservice.
Oboronservice comprises service companies involved in armaments and military vehicle repair and maintenance, construction materials and food production, power facilities operation, cartography and printing goods production, and housing management services for military towns.