Money allocated for Maly Drama Theater stage construction spent on luxury cars

Money allocated for Maly Drama Theater stage construction spent on luxury cars
Maly Drama Theater, St. Petersburg

The fraudsters acted on behalf of Stroysoyuz-SV and M-Proekt engaged in the performance of the contract.

More than 45 million rubles ($795.150), allocated for constructing the new stage of Maly Drama Theater, St. Petersburg, have been spent on the purchase of real estate, luxury goods, and elite cars such as Mercedes-Benz Maybach, Porsche, and Lexus, RIA Novosti reports citing a source familiar with the investigation.

According to the source, in December 2013, Severo-Zapadnaya Direktsiya Po Stroitelstvu, Rekonstruktsii I Restavratsii (North-West Directorate for Construction, Reconstruction and Renovation) concluded a contract with Teatralno-Dekoratsionnye Masterskie (Theater and Decoration Workshops) for 146 million rubles ($2.57 million), allocated in the framework of the federal target program The Culture of Russia. The third stage of the contract envisaged the creation of a new stage at the Maly Drama Theater in St. Petersburg. However, no work has been performed, and 45.5 million rubles allocated have been embezzled by fraudsters acting on behalf of Stroysoyuz-SV and M-Proekt companies engaged in the performance of the contract.

The contactor did not keep work records, and so the construction on the new stage was suspended. The source noted that the disruption of work “negatively affected the state of the facility, contributing to additional property damage to the state.” The stage was built on the site of a two-story building of the former fodder yard of the Semenovsky regiment.

The Severo-Zapadnaya Direktsiya Po Stroitelstvu, Rekonstruktsii I Restavratsii under the Ministry of Culture then held a second tender for project documentation development and production for 38 million rubles ($671.460). Thus, the same work was paid twice.

It was previously reported that the FSB had detained two people suspected of embezzling the money allocated for the design of Maly Drama Theater’s new stage. The names of detainees are not disclosed. A preventive measure is currently being elected for them. Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky said that the theater's employees are not involved in theft, Kommersant reported. Medinsky also noted that the criminal case was initiated on the initiative of the Ministry of Culture. “I am very pleased that the two years of our struggle with the contractors regarding this construction have been crowned with the adoption of harsh and radical measures today; I consider this our common success,” the Minister of Culture said.

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