FSB raid in Hermitage can be linked to corruption scandal in Ministry of Culture

FSB raid in Hermitage can be linked to corruption scandal in Ministry of Culture
Hermitage building

The company Baltstroy, which appears in the Pirumov's case as the main contractor of the Ministry of Culture, concluded two major contracts with Hermitage.

The audit, with which FSB agents raided the main museum of the country on 31 January, can be linked to a corruption scandal in the Ministry of Culture, which broke out in March 2016 and the arrest of Deputy Minister Grigory Pirumov on charges of embezzlement of public funds in the restoration of monuments. The total damage in the case was initially estimated at 600 million rubles. Under arrest there are also director of Property Management Department of the Ministry of Culture Boris Mazo, director of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Tsentrrestavratsiya Oleg Ivanov, director of the company Linnit-Consult Nikita Kolesnikov and director of Baltstroy Dmitry Sergeev and its manager Alexander Kochenov.

According to Life, the Accounting Chamber found a violation in Hermitage during the work on restoration of objects by the company CJSC Baltstroy. Inscribed in the estimate more complex work and more expensive materials than were used in real, Baltstroy increased the contract amount by 140 million rubles.

Hermitage concluded two contracts with the infamous company for large sums. At the end of 2012, the transaction on 1.1 billion rubles has been effected for carrying out restoration of the building of Winter Palace reserve home and adaptation it for modern use.

The second agreement was signed a year later. According to the state contract, Baltstroy pledged to carry out the finish work on the project, receiving more 1.2 billion rubles from Hermitage.

The audit of the Accounting Chamber revealed that works on waterproofing were not done, thereby located on Palace Embankment building was in danger of eventual destruction.

The portal said that the Ministry of Culture is trying to distance шеself from the situation, saying that the museum itself concluded contracts, in which the FSB is interested in.

Earlier, the FSB checks at the Hermitage was aligned with Hermitage Deputy Director for Construction Mikhail Novikov's activities. Fontanka reported that law enforcement officers seized documents related to the state contract on second stage construction of the new depository of the museum on the Shkolnaya street. The work on the project was freezed in the summer of 2016.

Hermitage announced on the construction of the additional depository in 2013. The new building was designed to accommodate books. The project handover was planned for autumn 2018. The project was created by the Dutch and includes the construction of 13-storey glass cube. In the autumn of 2015 Hermitage opened a state contract for the construction of storage facility in the amount of 3.6 billion rubles. The contract was signed  with a little-known Moscow company Mehstroytrans in December. In 2015, it was the only contract of the construction firm.

Two months after the multi-billion rubles deal Mehstroytrans was included in the register of unfair suppliers. As of September 2016, the construction site of the future storage facility was surrounded by a fence. In the area, where according to the contract, there would have to work 395 people, there are working only a few hands.

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