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    RUSSIAN FEDERAL PROPERTY FUND HEAD DISMISSED

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    MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Acting Russian Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko signed a governmental decree to dismiss Vladimir Malin, the head of the Russian Federal Property Fund (RFPF). RIA Novosti was told in the governmental information department that "Mr. Malin was dismissed in accordance with the Russian Federation Labor Code." The same decree appointed first deputy chairman of the department, Kirill Tomashchuk acting head of the RFPF.

    The Prosecutor General's Office accuses Mr. Malin of abuse of authority that led to grave consequences. "The charge was brought against Mr. Malin within the framework of the criminal case on the facts of seizing the shares of open joint stock company Apatit and abuses by RFPF staffers when concluding an amicable agreement with closed corporation Volna, says the prosecutor's office's statement.

    Bringing charges against the head of the Russian Federal Property Fund, Vladimir Malin is connected with an understated, in the prosecutor's office's opinion, assessment of the Apatit company's cost, RFPF press service head Vladimir Zelentsov told RIA Novosti.

    "Independent experts assessed these assets at $15 million at that time. It was the price for the amicable agreement [with closed type corporation Volna]. The money was transferred to the Fund, which transferred it to the budget. Now the question is that it is little," Mr. Zelentsov said.

    Besides, in his words, the prosecutor's office wonders whether the RFPF was entitled to conclude an amicable agreement.

    Earlier it was reported that in November 2002, the RFPF and closed corporation Volna (controlled by the Menatep bank), who bought back from the state 20% of Apatit stock concluded an amicable agreement. In accordance with it, the company transferred to the RFPF $15 million, a sum at which independent experts assessed the damage inflicted upon the state.

    But in 2003 the Prosecutor's General's office first accused the chairman of the board of directors of the Menatep group, Platon Lebedev, and the then head of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky of misappropriation of large sums by means of fraud and of inflicting property damage by means of deceit.

    Recognizance not to leave was chosen for Mr. Malin as a measure of restraint.

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