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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian military officials face fraud charges over arms disposal

RIA Novosti

04/03/2009 10:54 MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Fraud charges have been brought against a group of Defense Ministry officials involved in the disposal of airplane bombs and missiles, investigators at the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said on Wednesday.

Late last month, Russia's chief military prosecutor said a criminal investigation had been launched against a group of Russian Navy officials and a number of businessmen suspected of attempting to smuggle 30 anti-submarine missiles and 200 airplane bombs worth a total of $18 million to Tajikistan for sale to China.

Sergei Fridinsky said that the consignment had been listed in a customs declaration as "de-commissioned, recycled ammunition."

Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said the smuggling operation was prevented by "the Navy, in conjunction with the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Security Service (FSB)."

According to some media reports, high-ranking Navy officials, including vice admirals and rear admirals, may have been involved in the scheme.

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