Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Ex-Official Arrested on Siberian Metro Theft Suspicions – Reports

Oleg Mitvol. Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

A former Russian government official was detained at a Moscow airport this week on suspicion of embezzling over $15 million from a Siberian metro construction project's budget, media reported Friday.

According to the RBC news website, Federal Security Service (FSB) agents apprehended Oleg Mitvol, a former ecology official and a Moscow city prefect in the mid-2000s, at Vnukovo International Airport on Wednesday.

Various sources citing Mitvol’s assistants provided conflicting information on whether he was due to fly to Dubai or Turkey on vacation when he was detained.

Mitvol, 55, was reportedly brought 4,000 kilometers east from Moscow to the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, where a court on Friday ordered him to be held in pre-trial custody until July 24.

He is accused of embezzling 954 million rubles ($16.5 million) in funds allocated to his affiliated engineering company for Krasnoyarsk’s metro project in 2019, RBC reported, citing an unnamed security source and another person familiar with the case materials. 

Investigators allege that the company where Mitvol has served as chairman of the board since 2018, the Krasnoyarsk Engineering and Construction Trust (Krasnoyarsk TISIZ), performed only part of the engineering survey work while being paid by the regional transportation authority in full. 

RBC added that TISIZ’s documentation contained outdated and irrelevant information, as well as allegedly falsified signatures.

Authorities were said to have opened the criminal case into embezzlement in May and Krasnoyarsk’s Central District Court order to place Mitvol in custody appeared on Friday.

If found guilty of embezzlement, Mitvol faces up to 10 years in prison.

Born in Moscow, Mitvol served as deputy head of Russia’s Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use (Rosprirodnadzor) between 2004 and 2009.

He was appointed as prefect of Moscow’s Northern Administrative District in 2009, then fired the following 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.


Read more