Russia ex-defence minister accused of graft

2013-11-28 16:25
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Moscow - Russian investigators said on Thursday that they had opened a criminal case against the country's former defence minister.

Anatoly Serdyukov, who served in the role between 2007 and 2012, is accused of negligence for using conscript soldiers as free labour, the Russian Investigative Committee said.

If charged, the politician could face up to three months in prison.

The investigators said that during his tenure, Serdyukov had ordered soldiers to build a road in the southern region of Astrakhan. The road led to a private resort belonging to a relative of the minister.

"Instead of military training the soldiers planted poplars in the steppe," a statement issued by the committee said.

Serdyukov was fired by President Vladimir Putin one year ago over allegations of large-scale corruption in the military. Authorities subsequently launched investigations against several of his close associates, but never targeted Serdyukov.

A former furniture trader and a tax minister, Serdykov is thought to be a close ally of Putin. During his time as defence minister he carried out extensive reforms which made him unpopular among the military top brass.

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia

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