Court Sanctions Arrest of Russian Official Held in Alleged APEC Scam

MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court sanctioned on Saturday the arrest of Roman Panov, prime minister of Russia’s Perm Territory and a former deputy Russian regional development minister, suspected of the embezzlement of funds earmarked for the APEC 2012 Summit.


According to the Russian Interior Ministry, the scam involved the diversion of 93 million rubles ($3 million) that were paid to fictitious construction and insurance firms.


The court refused to release Panov on 10-million ruble ($320,000) bail or put him under house arrest.


Panov, who will remain in custody at least until January 2, said that he will “cooperate with investigators as he was responsible for the summit.”


The Russian Interior Ministry said a number of other high-level officials are involved in the case, including Oleg Bukalov, the head of the Regional Development Ministry’s Far-eastern branch, which was the state-appointed coordinator of construction projects for the APEC Vladivostok summit in September.


Preparations for the summit, which cost 600 billion rubles ($19 billion) came under heavy criticism from the government. A 29 billion ruble ($1 billion) highway built for the event had to be repaired after weather and landslides caused sections of it to collapse.


The Federal Migration Service has fined a number of construction companies involved in the preparations for the summit for having illegally hired 12,000 foreign workers.


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