11:36 GMT +3 hours22 November 2014
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Latvia Says Under Fire Russian Ex-Minister Not Seeking Residency

Russia
(updated 18:34 28.10.2014)
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Latvia’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that Russia’s former defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, had not applied for a residency permit in the Baltic state.

RIGA, December 30 (RIA Novosti) – Latvia’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that Russia’s former defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, had not applied for a residency permit in the Baltic state.

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.

He visited the HQ of Russia’s Investigative Committee on Friday in connection with the case, but declined to answer questions on the high-profile case without his lawyer, who was ill.

Serdyukov, who is a witness, rather than a suspect in the case, has been summoned to appear again for questioning on January 11, Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin said.

Media reports on Saturday said Serdyukov had vanished from Moscow and there were reported sightings of him in Latvia and speculation that he was seeking residency in the former Soviet republic. His lawyer, Riga-based Genrikh Padva, rubbished claims that Serdyukov had fled Russia.

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.

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.