Support The Moscow Times!

Cadaster Official Flees, Report Says

A government official previously responsible for creating a national real estate registration system and reportedly in possession of a top-secret security clearance has fled the country in fear of prosecution for graft, a news report said Monday.

Citing individuals familiar with the situation, Izvestia reported that Sergei Sapelnikov crossed the border to Ukraine on Sept. 7 without the permission of his employer or the Federal Security Service.

Sapelnikov, who was serving as deputy head in charge of information technology, surveying and cartography at the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadaster and Cartography, or Rosreyester, was fired from his post on Sept. 26 "in connection with the discontinuation of access to information constituting a state secret," Rosreyester announced in a statement Monday.

The statement did not specify what kind of information Sapelnikov had had access to or what connection this bore to his dismissal.

His work had been audited by the Economic Development Ministry this summer and he was on sick leave since Sept. 2, the statement said.

A week prior to Sapelnikov's dismissal, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev announced that he was auditing two deputy heads of Rosreyester in connection with financial misdemeanors, Itar-Tass reported.

In early 2013, the Audit Chamber discovered violations in the use of more than 21 billion rubles ($650 million) allocated to Sapelnikov's department for the creation of a digital national cadastral registration system that, despite soaring expenses, was never actually completed.

"More than 60 percent of the information concerning real estate either was never entered into the registry or was entered incorrectly," deputy chairman of the Audit Chamber Valery Goreglyad said, RIA Novosti reported.

Rosreyester's statement did not mention the purported flight and said that Sapelnikov had not had access to classified information since July 1.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.