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Officials Order Car With Massage Seats, Luxury Boat

Massage seats, a six-disc DVD player and a wood-plated interior are not key requirements for a state official's car, but the Sverdlovsk region's arbitration court on Tuesday ruled that the local governor is perfectly entitled to them.

The court threw out a complaint by regional prosecutors, who questioned the purchase of a Mercedes S500 sedan used by Governor Alexander Misharin for 7.9 million rubles ($265,000) last year, RIA-Novosti reported.

The prosecutors, who filed the complaint in May, said the vehicle was overpriced and unnecessarily luxurious, the report said. They have not said whether they will appeal the ruling.

The car was initially intended for official delegations traveling to the region, but Misharin started using it at work after his old car, also a Mercedes S500, was damaged in a crash, local news site Ura.ru reported in April.

A source in Misharin's administration told Ura.ru that the governor cared for comfort because he travels a lot, and the car is his "second workplace."

Meanwhile, the Federal Security Service has ordered a luxury motorboat for use as a border "patrol vessel," blogger Andrei Malgin reported Monday.

The tender, announced on the government's site Zakupki.gov.ru and running until Aug. 22, seeks a Haines 400 Aft Cabin boat complete with a 19-inch LCD television, a DVD player and special illumination for beds, stairs and wardrobes.

The tender prices the boat at 22 million rubles ($740,000), although the maker, British-based Haines Marine, offers it for £278,400 ($450,000) on its web site.

The FSB unit behind the tender refused to explain the need for the boat, which Haines Marine said is intended for recreation, not patrol duty, Malgin said.

The FSB unit has held previous tenders for a scooter and tie pins worth 2.1 million rubles, Malgin said. In April, when participants of a tender to supply it with office furniture asked to clarify the requirements, it named the file detailing the tender at Zakupki.gov.ru as "an explanation for jackasses," Malgin said.

State tenders are a notoriously graft-ridden business. The Prosecutor General's Office said Tuesday that it has exposed more than 25,000 violations related to tenders in 2011, although it did not say whether any criminal cases had been opened, RIA-Novosti said.

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