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Navalny to Track Fraud in State Tenders

Blogger and activist Alexei Navalny opened on Saturday a web site to track corruption linked to state tenders.

The site, designed to resemble a government web site, is called RosPil in a reference to the Russian slang word for the embezzlement of state funds, “raspil” (literally “sawing”). It is operating in test mode at Rospil.info but plans to move to Rospil.net later.

The web site is tracking online state tenders for proposals that set unrealistic terms or goals, a possible indication of rigged deals, it said. RosPil claimed to have found “machinations” amounting to 125 million rubles ($3.9 million) as of Sunday.

Navalny, a lawyer known for exposing possible corruption, mainly in big companies where he is a minority shareholder, made ripples last month when he released a leaked Audit Chamber report on the construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline by state-owned Transneft. The report indicated that up to $4 billion might have been swindled from the project.

The Audit Chamber has challenged the $4 billion figure, said no embezzlement was found, and threatened to sue Navalny. But it never explicitly denied the authenticity of the report.

Prime-Tass reported Friday, citing a government source, that Navalny, who lives in the United States, might himself face a criminal investigation over business deals he was linked to.

“I can tell you for sure that he was involved in a number of big commercial deals of an extremely dubious nature, and those deals have attracted the interest of law enforcement agencies,” the source said.

But the press services of the Investigative Committee and the Interior Ministry denied having any information about any possible checks into Navalny, Gazeta.ru reported.

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