An investigation has been reopened into the embezzlement of state funds at an institute where the education and science minister Dmitry Livanov occupied a senior position, Kommersant reported Wednesday.
Deputy Interior Minister Yury Alexeyev said investigators will once more look into the theft of 57 million rubles ($1.7 million) in 2004-05 at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys. The money had been allocated for repair work in the institute building, which had been badly damaged by a fire 12 years earlier.
Livanov, a physicist by education, was the institute's deputy rector during the first investigation in 2009, in which police discovered that the commission for the repair work had not been tendered and that contractors were hired illegally and had fake names. Furthermore, the institute was unable to provide records documenting the distribution of funds when asked to do so by investigators. But the case was closed without a perpetrator having been established.
Vladimir Burmatov, a deputy for United Russia, asked the Interior Ministry to check whether Livanov was connected to the embezzlement along with other officials who worked in the institute, specifically, his understudy Natalya Tretyak and ex-Duma Deputy Yury Kapabasov, who was rector the year that the theft supposedly took place.
Burmatov has regularly taken to criticizing Livanov since the minister accused him of having plagiarized his thesis. Burmatov resigned as head of the department at the Plekhanov Economic University after prosecutors verified the charges.