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Russian Defense Chief’s Reported Ex Made $100M From Ministry Deals, Media Reports

Sergei Shoigu /

A former associate of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has allegedly earned 6.5 billion rubles ($101.9 million) from deals with the ministries of defense and emergency situations, according to an investigation by Russia’s The Insider news website.

The Insider’s investigation follows the high-profile sentencing for embezzlement and quick parole in 2015 of Yevgenia Vasilyeva, a Defense Ministry manager thought to be romantically involved with Shoigu’s predecessor. Former Emergency Situations Ministry flight attendant Yelena Shebunova was involved with Shoigu until as recently as 2017, the outlet reported, citing two unnamed sources close to the emergency ministry.

				Yelena Shebunova
Yelena Shebunova

Companies co-owned by Shebunova allegedly earned 6.5 billion rubles from contracts with the Defense Ministry and the Emergency Situations Ministry, The Insider reported Thursday.

Shebunova has been linked to contracts to provide the military with clothing equipment, The Insider reported, and many of these deals were signed on non-market terms and without a competitive bidding process. She has also served as an executive at companies that build military camps.

“Thus, Shoigu’s beloved woman broke the record held by [former Defense Minister Anatoly] Serdyukov’s mistress: the damage from Vasilyeva’s actions was estimated at ‘only’ 3 billion” rubles, the website wrote.

Shoigu headed the Emergency Situations Ministry before succeeding Serdyukov as defense minister in 2012.

Shebunova also reportedly owns a 1.5 billion ruble ($23 million) property neighboring two identical mansions allegedly owned by the Kremlin-linked tycoons Arkady and Boris Rotenberg on the outskirts of Moscow.

The Insider cited previous tabloid reporting alleging that Shebunova may be raising Shoigu’s possible children aged 18 and 11.

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