MOSCOW, April 29 (RIA Novosti) – Military prosecutors have foiled an attempt by several executives at a Defense Ministry firm to steal over 150 million rubles ($4.83 million), Russia’s Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office said on Monday, the latest in a series of frauds uncovered in the sector.
The scam was uncovered at the Russian Defense Ministry's electric power supplier, Oboronenergosbyt. The company is part of Oboronservis, the Defense Ministry’s property management firm, which has been the subject of several high-profile scandals involving the illegal sale of state property worth billion of rubles in the last six months.
Investigators say the former head of Oboronenergosbyt, who knew about the company’s forthcoming reorganization, issued a retroactive order to pay his deputies resignation bonuses known as “golden parachutes.”
In February 2013, six Oboronenergosbyt managers who tendered their resignations were illegally paid from 10 million to 41 million rubles each within a week of the payment order being issued. Four of the six managers were re-employed in their previous positions several days later, according to investigators.
“At the demand of military prosecutors, the managers who received the payouts have returned the 155 million rubles illegally obtained by them,” the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. It did not give details of any criminal charges being brought against the managers as yet.
Russia’s defense sector has been rocked over the past few months by a string of corruption scandals that led to the resignation in November of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
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.
The issue of "golden parachutes" at state companies has attracted considerable controversy lately, with several cases of executives at state companies leaving with big pay-offs despite poor performance. President Vladimir Putin ordered the government last week to prepare proposals by July for curbing generous pay-offs to departing executives, including top managers of state corporations, the Kremlin website said.