$5.7M Seized in Defense Ministry Case

Investigators said Tuesday that $5.7 million in cash linked to a Defense Ministry corruption case was seized from a safe deposit box registered in the name of a nephew of a powerful defense contractor arrested on Friday.

The cash as well as documents important to the investigation were seized from the safe deposit box registered in the name of A. Kiselev, nephew of Alexander Yelkin, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. It did not disclose the bank.

Yelkin, who heads one of the Defense Ministry's largest outsourcing firms, Slavyanka, was arrested on suspicion of embezzling funds allocated for the renovation of a Defense Ministry building in central Moscow, a job for part of which the ministry purportedly paid twice.

The "capital renovation" had already been done a short while earlier, and the "allegedly remodeled ventilation systems had, in principle, not been in the building since 2010," the Interior Ministry statement said.

Another 700 million rubles ($22.4 million) had already been seized in the Defense Ministry corruption case, the statement added.

Yelkin is believed to be a close friend of ousted Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, whom President Vladimir Putin dismissed earlier this month amid the developing corruption scandal.

A firm that Serdyukov had chaired until last year, Oboronservis, which owns Slavyanka, has been linked to $95.5 million in allegedly fraudulent sales.

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