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New Bogus Property Sales by Defense Ministry Revealed, Prosecutors Say

The Chief Military Prosecutor's office sent evidence of another fraudulent property sale by the Defense Ministry to the Investigative Committee, a statement posted Wednesday morning on the Prosecutor General's website said.

The case involves the sale of a land plot on the shore of the Black Sea for at least 56 million rubles ($2 million) less than the property was worth.

The land was transferred to the ministry by a local municipality with the purpose of building defense facilities on it. Five months after the transfer, however, the land was sold below market value to a commercial company, with no construction having been carried out.

The military prosecutor's statement did not specify whether this matter is connected to the Oboronservis case, for which 10 criminal cases have been opened against Defense Ministry officials suspected of large-scale fraudulent real estate sales. The total loss to the budget in that case is estimated to reach 4 billion rubles.

Several high-ranking officials have been arrested in the Oboronservis case, including Yevgenia Vasilyeva, former head of the Defense Ministry's property relations department. In the wake of the unfolding corruption probe, President Vladimir Putin dismissed then Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on Nov. 6, 2012. The former defense minister was later questioned as a witness in the case.

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