Pair Accused of Stealing Nearly $800,000 From Skolkovo Fund

Pair Accused of Stealing Nearly $800,000 From Skolkovo Fund

Published: February 13, 2013 (Issue # 1746)

MOSCOW — Russia’s premier technology hub became the site of the nation’s latest high-level corruption scandal on Tuesday after investigators accused two officials of using a fraudulent tender to make off with 23.8 million rubles ($789,000), the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Kirill Lugovstev, financial director of the Skolkovo Fund, which supports the hub, and Vladimir Khokhlov, head of a daughter company that handled customs and finance, and others arranged for a crooked contract to 

be awarded to a company owned by Lugovstev’s parents, investigators said.

Under the contract, which stipulated three years’ advance payments and forbade refunds, the finance company agreed to lease office space from Lugovstev’s family business. But Khokhlov and Lugovtsev instead used the money to renovate the building, investigators said.

In a statement, the Skolkovo Fund said possible misdeeds at its daughter company were discovered during an internal audit and passed on to investigators in the fall. Lugovstev was placed on leave pending the investigation, and the money advanced was returned.

Premeditated theft by a group of individuals is punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,950) and up to five years in prison.

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