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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Ex-Defense Minister Complies with Summons

RIA Novosti

12:42 28/12/2012

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's former defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, complied with a summons to appear on Friday at the headquarters of the country's main investigative body over a multi-million dollar property fraud case.

"Investigators needed serious grounds to question former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in connection with the case of embezzlement of Defense Ministry property," Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin said. "This required a certain amount of time."

But Serdyukov, who was summoned as a witness in the case, refused to answer any questions on Friday without his lawyer, who was ill, Markin added. He said the ex-minister had been summoned to appear again for questioning on January 11.

A spokesperson for Serdyukov's lawyer, Genrikh Padva, said the ex-minister was "prepared to cooperate with investigators."

The high-profile case has seen charges brought against Serdyukov's former subordinate, Yevgeniya Vasilyeva. Media reports said Serdyukov was in Vasilyeva's Moscow apartment when she was arrested after a police raid in October. She is currently under house arrest.

Serdyukov was fired by President Vladimir Putin on November 6 after almost six years in the post as the Defense Ministry became embroiled in a scandal over alleged real estate scams involving nearly $100 million run by state defense firm Oboronservis.

The case is part of the Kremlin's much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign.

Russia ranked 133rd out of 174 countries in the latest Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International published in December.

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