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Tax Official Suspected of Fraud

Lyudmila Gusakova, former deputy head at Moscow's tax inspectorate No. 28, has been named a new suspect in the high-profile case concerning the illegal return of several billion rubles in value added taxes, a news report said Monday.

Gusakova is suspected of assisting in contriving a fraudulent scheme to defraud the state of 3 billion rubles ($100 million) through illegal tax returns, Kommersant reported.

She faces charges of large-scale fraud punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

Investigators said the case against the former deputy head of the internal tax audits department was opened only after the Investigative Committee combined several criminal cases on the fraudulent return of VAT into one inquiry.

In November 2012, police opened a probe against Olga Stepanova, then-head of tax inspection No. 28 and former employee of the of the ex-defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov, on the illegal return of over 8 billion rubles in value added taxes through a fraudulent scheme involving fly-by-night firms.

Despite being a main figure in the criminal case, Stepanova was never charged officially. In late 2012 she left Russia for medical treatment and has been living abroad since then.

Stepanova is also included on the list of Russian officials who face sanctions in the U.S. as part of the Magnitsky Act.

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