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Oboronservis Suspect Vasilyeva's House Arrest Extended

Vasilyeva, former property relations director of the Defense Ministry, arriving at Khamovnichesky Court, Moscow. Andrey Makhonin

A Moscow City Court has extended the house arrest of Yevgenia Vasilyeva, the primary defendant in the Oboronservis corruption case, until Feb. 23, 2014.

In her decision Monday, the judge said that Vasilyeva, the former director of the Defense Ministry's property department, is capable of absconding, destroying important materials and pressuring witnesses, Interfax reported.

An unidentified witness alleged in case files presented Monday that four witnesses were driven to the Moscow city limits last November and intimidated on Vasilyeva's orders. (See related article.)

The judge rejected a defense motion requesting that, in the case of an extension, Vasilyeva be allowed to work four hours a day at a law office where she has recently been hired.

Vasilyeva's lawyer said that the defense plans to appeal the decision to extend her house arrest.

"Investigators have held me under house arrest for a year already, for some reason they have decided that they can extend the period of my arrest endlessly, constantly presenting the same materials," Vasilyeva said.

Her house arrest began in November last year shortly after President Vladimir Putin fired former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who served with Vasilyeva on the board of directors of Oboronservis, due to allegations of mass embezzlement schemes in his ministry.

Investigators believe that Vasilyeva and her accomplices used Oboronservis, a company charged with selling off unwanted ministry properties, to sell prime real estate at below-market prices in exchange for bribes.

Vasilyeva was charged in October this year with 12 counts of fraud, money laundering and exceeding and abusing her authority.

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