MOSCOW, August 16 (RAPSI) - Investigators have uncovered a new fraud scheme involving ousted defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and former Defense Ministry official Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, who gained notoriety due to the Oboronservis scandal, Kommersant daily reported Friday.
Serdyukov and Vasilyeva are suspected of illegally leasing a forest plot in the Bryansk region to a private company for the purpose of mineral resources extraction. The damage caused to the federal budget is estimated at 725 million rubles (app. $22 million), according to the newspaper. The results of the inspection carried out by the investigators have been forwarded to the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office which is expected to make a decision on the alleged fraud.
However, the lawyers representing Serdyukov and Vasilyeva couldn't confirm the information to RAPSI and were consequently unable to provide any details. "I know nothing about this (new fraud allegation)," Genrikh Padva said.
"I know nothing about an allegedly new fraud scheme with Vasilyeva as well as any other crimes she is said to commit because she committed no crimes. No new charges were brought against her this year," Alexander Gofstein told RAPSI.
Last July lawyers criticized media leaks about an investigation into Serdyukov. His legal team of Konstantin Rivkin and Padva said in a joint statement that leaks about the questioning of Serdyukov in the media violate their client's constitutional right to a presumption of innocence. They also claimed that the amount of negative reporting about their client had increased in recent months.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was dismissed amid a loud corruption scandal ensued in November 2012 to ensure the impartiality of the criminal investigation. He has so far been summoned for questioning as a witness in embezzlement cases linked to Oboronservis defense property services company.
Vasilyeva, the former head of the ministry's Property Management Department, is facing fraud charges and is presently under house arrest.