MOSCOW, September 28 - RAPSI. During a meeting with Russian writers and publishers in Moscow on Wednesday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Transneft, a gas pipeline monopoly earlier accused of embezzling $4 billion, did not commit any crimes.

Whistleblowing blogger Alexey Navalny wrote in his blog that Transneft incurred losses worth $4 billion to the state. The Chamber of Accounts partially confirmed this, having assessed the losses at 3.45 billion rubles ($108.26 million). Transneft said the chambers examination was conducted upon the initiative of the companys administration.

"If anyone in Transneft had committed any crimes, I am sure those involved would have already been in prison," Putin said.

He noted that he was working as the head of the presidential control directorate and conducted the checks that the Chamber of Accounts conducts today.

He cited the expenses of the region whose governor was obligated to spend an amount to build housing but allocated it for healthcare. He misused the funds, but did not steal anything, Putin said.

Putin added that Transneft could have done the same thing.