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'Disappearing House' a New Twist in Corruption Case

The criminal investigation into Yevgenia Vasilyeva, the official at the heart of the corruption scandal that ostensibly brought down Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, has hit an odd stumbling block.

Her allegedly lavish 13-room apartment in downtown Moscow isn't where it's supposed to be. The residence, which police searched last month and where media reports have said she is under house arrest, may not have been correctly registered.

"So far they haven't been able to determine the real address and other information about the apartment building," a source told Interfax. "The building is listed under a different address."

Investigators are trying to determine whether Vasilyeva, former head of the Defense Ministry's property department, acquired the apartment and other expensive properties legally.

She says they were, claiming that she worked for a well-known construction company and was a wealthy person before joining the ministry, the source said, Interfax reported Monday.

A search of her apartment carried out last month turned up 3 million rubles ($32,200) in cash, five suitcases full of precious valuables and 10 paintings that belong to the army.

Vasilyeva was placed under house arrest Friday while investigators look into allegations that she and her associates embezzled more than 360 million rubles from the sales of Defense Ministry property at fire-sale prices through Oboronservis, a major contractor.

Serdyukov, a close friend of Vasilyeva's, was dismissed from his post earlier this month by President Vladimir Putin in connection with the scandal after almost six years on the job.

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