MOSCOW, December 6 - RAPSI. The Investigative Committee has initiated a new criminal case on fraud in connection with the Defense Ministry property, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

The case deals with the sale of an oil shipment base in the Murmansk Region whose cost was lowered by more than 242 million rubles ($7.8 million).

"Officials of the Defense Ministry's property relations department are being investigated for their involvement in the illegal sale," the Investigative Committee's official spokesperson Vladimir Markin said.

The contract on selling the base was concluded on October 17, 2012. Commandit Service was the purchaser. Due to the investigators' interference, the contracts on the transfer of ownership of the base were never executed.

It was announced in October that five fraud cases had been initiated on the sale of property, land and shares belonging to Oboronservis, a holding company under the ministry’s control. The losses involved were originally thought to be in excess of 3 billion rubles ($97.3 million). Later it was reported that the damages in the criminal cases have exceeded 6.7 billion rubles ($217.3 million).

On Friday Yevgenia Vasilyeva, former heard of the Defense Ministry's property relations department, was charged with a large-scale fraud in the case of the Oboronservis holding. She was placed on house arrest.

Earlier the court arrested former head of the Expert Legal Support Center Yekaterina Smetanova and her husband Maxim Zakutaylo, the former general director of an air force warehouse near Moscow.

Oboronservis 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, as well as housing services for military towns.