Russian ex-defense minister Serdyukov fails to turn up for testimony
MOSCOW, January 12 (RAPSI) – Russian former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has not attended a hearing in a high-profile fraud case linked to Oboronservis, a holding company controlled by the Defense Ministry, RAPSI reported from Moscow's Presnensky District Court on Monday.
The former director of the Defense Ministry’s Property Department and an alleged confidant of Serdyukov, Yevgenia Vasilyeva, stands accused in the case.
Vasilyeva was charged with 12 counts of illegal sales of property, land and shares belonging to the subsidiaries of Oboronservis, which consists of 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 services for military towns.
Damages from her actions have been estimated at over 3 billion rubles (over $50 million at the current exchange rate). She faces up to six years in prison if convicted.
In March 2013, a Moscow court ruled to arrest property owned by 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 bracelet.
Serdyukov and several other high-ranking ministry officials were dismissed amid a corruption scandal that ensued in November 2012 to ensure an impartial investigation.
In December 2013, Serdyukov was charged with neglect of duty after investigators estimated damages to the state at 56 million rubles ($1 million).
According to the indictment, Serdyukov did not know about the fraud and embezzlement that were allegedly made possible due to his confidential relations with Vasilyeva.
Serdyukov was pardoned in March on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the constitution.