MOSCOW, June 2 (RAPSI) – Over 400 million rubles ($7.5 million) received by Zvezda Shipyard, a large shipbuilding and engineering complex in Russia's Far East, were allegedly siphoned into offshore accounts, Izvestia newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The shipyard allegedly received the funds under a contract from Morinformsistema-Agat, a producer of shipborne IT equipment, and transferred them to MIC Mashinostroyenia. The money eventually landed in an offshore account, according to Izvestia.

An audit is currently being conducted by the Interior Ministry’s fourth department, which is responsible for restricted and limited-access facilities.
The newspaper’s source at the Interior Ministry refused to provide any details of the contract.

This is not the first investigative audit at Zvezda. In April of this year, the president’s envoy in the Far Eastern Federal District, Yury Trutnev, said that criminal cases had been opened into the alleged embezzlement of over 4 billion rubles ($75.7 million) during the construction of the Zvezda shipyard.

In early November 2013, the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office revealed evidence of fraud with the repair of warships at Zvezda.  Investigators claimed that a contractor allegedly embezzled over 63 million rubles ($1.2 million) by overstating construction costs. Damages were estimated at 1 billion rubles ($19 million) and seven criminal cases were opened at the shipyard.

Yury Shulgan, the plant’s ex-director, was given a three-year suspended sentence and 550,000 ruble ($10,400) fine for embezzling 29 million rubles ($549,000).

In February 2015, the Primorye Territory Prosecutor’s Office initiated a comprehensive audit at the plant.

Zvezda is a large shipbuilding and engineering division of the United Shipbuilding Corporation in the Russian Far East. It mostly repairs submarines for the Russian Pacific Fleet and is also Russia’s only plant in the Far East that repairs, retools and upgrades nuclear submarines.

A shipbuilding complex that is being built at Zvezda will manufacture equipment for the offshore projects of oil and gas giants Rosneft and Gazprom under the import substitution program.

The first phase of the new facility, which is scheduled to come on stream in 2016, will cost 45 billion rubles ($852 million).