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Former Defense Ministry Official Charged With Fraud

A former bureaucrat was charged with fraud Friday in a $100 million embezzlement case that cost the defense minister his job.

Yevgenia Vasilyeva, who had valuable paintings, rare antiques and more than 100 expensive rings seized in an early-morning raid on her central Moscow apartment last month, was charged with large-scale fraud.

Vasilyeva, 33, oversaw Defense Ministry property at a time when one of its firms allegedly sold lucrative properties to insider companies at a loss of at least 3 billion rubles ($95.5 million).

Vasilyeva, who was photographed in a silver sequined dress with former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, was put under house arrest by a Moscow court and made to wear a tracking device.

Though he has not come under investigation himself, Serdyukov was fired by President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 6, shortly after the start of the probe.

Vasilyeva has not spoken publicly about the allegations. Serdyukov said in a statement last month that any comments on the case represented only "a possible scenario."

Analysts say Serdyukov ran afoul of influential groups in the Kremlin and had crossed his powerful father-in-law.

Investigators said that on Thursday they raided 18 cottages in a community outside Moscow that belonged to the Federal Tax Service and where Serdyukov, a former tax service chief, had stayed for some time.

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