MOSCOW, November 13 - RAPSI. The former deputy CEO of the Maintenance Operation Department is now a suspect in the criminal case pending in the real estate scandal that served as the basis of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's ouster last week, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday.

The Maintenance Operation Department is one of the holding's constituent companies.

The former CEO is suspected of having embezzled 300 million rubles ($9.45 million) in budgetary funds, which were illegally transferred to accounts in Neopolis-Bank and lost after the bank went bankrupt.

The suspect allegedly received 6 million rubles ($189,186) from the bank, Chief Military Prosecutor's Office spokesperson Alexander Nikitin said.

The ministry has been embroiled in scandal in recent weeks involving Oboronservis and $100 million in alleged real estate scams. Five criminal cases on fraud have already been initiated.

Earlier, President Vladimir Putin dismissed ex-Minister Serdyukov to ensure impartiality in the pending criminal investigations concerning the ministry.
Sergei Shoygu, the former Moscow Region governor, has taken over as defense minister.

The Maintenance Operation Department is mostly involved in supplying heat energy to military cities and units. A total of 48,000 employees work at the department.