Prosecutors Probe Alleged $1 Mln Space Forces Fraud

MOSCOW, March 25 (RIA Novosti) – Military prosecutors are investigating the suspected embezzlement of over 30 million rubles (about $1 million) at the Space Defense Forces (SDF), the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office said on Monday.

Eighteen months ago, substandard equipment that showed signs of repair and included components manufactured over 20 years ago was presented as new and delivered to an SDF unit under a state contract, the office said.

A criminal case has been opened on fraud charges.

The revelation is the latest in a recent string of scandals at the Defense Ministry involving suspected fraud. Several people employed by the Oboronservis defense property services company were arrested late last year on suspicion of fraud totaling over 13 billion rubles ($430 million) involving the illegal sale of ministry property.

Former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov resigned over that scandal in November.

The Russian Federal Defense Contracts Service (Rosoboronzakaz) said last Friday that about 1,500 violations and infractions were uncovered in Russia’s state defense spending in 2012, involving over 16 billion rubles ($533 million).

Over 2 billion rubles was returned to the budget and over 3.5 billion rubles’ worth of damage was averted last year, the service said, adding that 572 administrative fines were imposed, totaling 15.59 million rubles.

The Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office said earlier this month that an investigation was underway into the suspected embezzlement of 7 million rubles at a Defense Ministry-owned health resort in Russia’s southern Stavropol region. A number of top managers at the Slavyanka sanitarium, including its director Magomed Magomedov, are suspected of appropriating Defense Ministry funds by paying third parties for services that were not provided.

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