MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) – A criminal case was launched Wednesday against a brother-in-law of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, the Russian Investigative Committee said.
Spokesman Vladimir Markin said that Valery Puzikov, who is married to Serdyukov’s sister, was suspected of fraud and illegal acquisition of property.
Puzikov’s company, a Defense Ministry affiliate, leased several expensive vehicles to the ministry, including a Mercedes-Benz GL 320 4 Matic and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The vehicles were leased from commercial firms affiliated with his company.
“Although the vehicles were de-facto not used by the ministry, his [Puzikov] company paid over 8 million rubles [about $236,000] in 2010-2013 to those [affiliated] commercial organizations,” Markin said.
Puzikov is also suspected of paying more than 4 million rubles in salary to people who were officially employed by his company, but, in fact, performed no work.
President Vladimir Putin sacked Serdyukov last November over a separate investigation into suspected fraud totaling more than 13 billion rubles ($433 million) from the illegal sale of Russian Defense Ministry property involving the Oboronservis defense property services company.
He denies any wrong-doing. Serdyukov was charged with negligence in December after investigators alleged that he cost the state 56 million rubles ($1.7 million) by ordering soldiers to build a private road to a Caspian Sea holiday resort owned by his brother-in-law.