Support The Moscow Times!

2nd Defendant Cooperates in Oboronservis Case

Yevgeniya Vasilyeva at the Khamovnichesky District Court in March 2013. Andrei Makhonin

A second defendant accused of helping sell prime Defense Ministry properties at below market prices has confessed to her role in the scam and agreed to cooperate with investigators, a news report said Tuesday.

Dinara Bilyalova's testimony, as well as that of defendant Yekaterina Smetanova, gave investigators a complete picture of the crimes and allowed them to compile definitive charges against the former head of the Defense Ministry property department, Yevgenia Vasilyeva, who was indicted in October after almost a year on house arrest, Kommersant reported.

Bilyalova was charged with large scale fraud and arrested in June 2012. Smetanova is also facing charges for fraud worth 86 million rubles ($2.6 million).

After several months spent in pretrial detention, Bilyalova and Smetanova confessed and reached cooperation agreements with the Prosecutor General's office. Smetanova was released in February and Bilyalova at the end of September.

Vasilyeva is accused of exerting her influence to place first Smetanova and then Bilyalova at the head of a Defense Ministry-affiliated company, initially titled Expert and later renamed Mira, which was entrusted with locating buyers for ministry real estate.

Investigators believe that both Smetanova and Bilyalova used the position to sell properties at substantially reduced prices to select buyers while personally taking home approximately 5 percent of the sale prices — hefty sums given the value of the properties involved.

Under Bilyalova, Mira sold off two choice properties in the center of Moscow for prices hundreds of millions of rubles below their value, investigators say, with the Defense Ministry paying about 123 million rubles ($3.8 million) in illegal commissions to the company's head.

Former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was fired by President Vladimir Putin last year after searches connected to the case were first conducted at the ministry-affiliated company Oboronservis.

Large scale fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Both cooperating defendants are expected to receive mitigated sentences when they go to court at the end of the year.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more