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RBC added that TISIZ’s documentation contained outdated and irrelevant information, as well as allegedly falsified signatures.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

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