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Metro Chief Accused in $3.6M Theft

Metro chief Gayev, right, speaking with Mayor Luzhkov at the 2006 opening of the Mezhdunarodnaya station. Igor Tabakov

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused the chief of the Moscow metro of embezzling 112 million rubles ($3.6 million) and urged Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to fire him.

Dmitry Gayev, who has headed the metro since 1995, received the money over the past 10 years by registering technical innovations developed by metro specialists as his own inventions, said Marina Gridneva, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office.

She also accused metro management of making poor decisions in signing contracts and having to increase metro ticket fees to compensate for resulting losses.

“Dmitry Gayev did not act in good faith in his duties," Gridneva said, adding that prosecutors had asked Sobyanin to dismiss him, RIA-Novosti reported.

Gayev declined to comment on the accusations, Interfax said.

Metro spokeswoman Svetlana Tsaryova told The Moscow Times that Gayev's office has not received any official notification from prosecutors about the accusations.

“I don't know when it is going to happen,” she said by telephone.

Sobyanin made no public comments about Gayev on Tuesday. But he criticized the metro chief in November for delays in the construction of new metro lines. “If we would act on your plans, metro development in Moscow would just stop by 2013,” Sobyanin said at the time.

Sobyanin asked Audit Chamber in November to check the metro's finances. The report will be presented Dec. 28, Interfax reported.

The attack on Gayev is linked to Sobyanin's policy of gradually replacing city officials in key positions with new people, liberal Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin said.

“The construction of the Moscow metro involves a huge amount of money with zero transparency, making it a temptation for anyone,” Mitrokhin said by telephone.

With 182 stations and 301 kilometers of lines, the Moscow metro transports up to 9 million passengers a day.

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