Defense Ministry Seeks to Annul 'Fraudulent' Property Deals
MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) – Newly installed Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is looking for ways to reclaim Defense Ministry properties that were sold off under allegedly fraudulent terms during his predecessor's tenure, a ministry official said on Thursday.
"The minister [Shoigu] has given instructions concerning several properties. We are studying the possibility of filing lawsuits to annul the contracts and invalidate the deals,” the head of the ministry’s property department Dmitry Kurakin said.
Kurakin acknowledged that the Defense Ministry could find it difficult to recover the property if the courts find that the deals were conducted legally.
The lawsuits are expected to focus primarily on the transactions that could potentially impact the Armed Forces' combat readiness, particularly the sale of a fuel terminal in Murmansk, defense analysts said.
The terminal, which supplied fuel to ships of Russia's Northern Fleet, was sold off by the Oboronservis defense property management company at a price far below market value and later resold.
Companies controlled by the Defense Ministry are alleged to have defrauded the government of more 10 billion rubles ($257 million) this year. The sum includes 6.7 billion rubles ($215 million) suspected to have been stolen via a corruption scheme that cost Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov his job.
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