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Regions Ministry in $5.6M Embezzlement Case

Investigators raided Regional Development Ministry offices in Vladivostok and Moscow on Thursday after $5.6 million paid to insure unfinished buildings at the Far Eastern Federal University was allegedly embezzled, RBC Daily reported.

The 178 million rubles in question was earmarked as part of development for September's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok, the news agency reported Thursday. A criminal case has been opened.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that it would fully comply with the investigation. "All budget funds must be spent as intended," and if not, "the guilty will be punished," the statement quoted Minister Igor Slyunyayev as saying.

Slyunyayev was appointed minister last month after the former one, Oleg Govorun, was ousted by President Vladimir Putin, who had publicly criticized his performance at a budget meeting.

This is the second criminal case linked to development for the APEC forum, RBC said. In June, a section of a newly laid road began to crack and crumble in the port city's humid climate, causing 1.7 million rubles in damages. A criminal case into violation of safety regulations was opened.

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