Rear Admiral Suspected of $1.2M Fraud

Prosecutors have opened a criminal case against a deputy Pacific Fleet commander and two associates on suspicion of taking at least $1.2 million in government funds earmarked for vessel repairs.

Rear Admiral Farit Zinnatullin faces up to 10 years in prison if charged and convicted of abuse of authority together with Captain Vasily Shevchenko, who headed the fleet's technical directorate, and Viktor Dymov, former head of a joint stock company called the 178 Ship-Repairing Plant, the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Friday.

The three officials are suspected of illegally transferring more than 37 million rubles ($1.2 million) to the bank accounts of Dymov's company in order to conceal their failure to fulfill a state contract to repair the Alagez rescue vessel, the statement said.

Prosecutors provided no further details.

The Alagez was sent for repairs shortly after the Kursk nuclear submarine sank in August 2000, killing 118 sailors, and the repairs lasted four years because of a lack of financing, Utro.ru reported Friday.

Checks of Russia's rescue vessels after the Kursk disaster found that almost 60 percent of them were out of order, Kommersant reported in August 2005.

Zinnatullin was demoted from deputy commander of the first flotilla of submarines of the Northern Fleet to head of the Northern Fleet's technical department after the disaster, Kommersant said.

He was later transferred to the Pacific Fleet.

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