Spetsstroy contractors steal $51 mln during military facilities contruction

Spetsstroy contractors steal $51 mln during military facilities contruction
Strategic site of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation being built on Schmidt Cape

Rusalyans Stroy managers expected to receive a large amount of money without “adequate scrutiny” due to the urgency and importance of the construction.

Nearly 3 billion rubles ($51 mln) were stolen during the construction of Defense Ministry facilities on Wrangel Island and Schmidt Cape (Chukotka Autonomous District). Co-owners of Rusalyans Stroy company Dmitry Bushmanov and Alexey Eckert are accused of this.

Kommersant reports that preliminary investigation in their respect is completed and the defendants are familiarizing with the materials of the criminal case.

In 2014 Federal State Unitary Enterprise Main Directorate of Engineering Works №2 under Spetsstroy of Russia (GUIR-2) concluded an agreement with OOO Rusalyans Stroy on subcontracting for the construction of a radar division and air direction centers on Schmidt Cape in Iultinsky district of Chukotka and on Wrangel Islan. At the same time, according to investigators, the company's executives developed a scheme to steal funds. Furthermore, the subcontractors did not initially intend to fulfill their obligations.

Dmitry Bushmanov and Alexey Eckert decided to get more money in the form of advances by increasing the estimated cost of the construction, the indictment specifies. The managers of Rusalyans Stroy expected to receive large sums without “adequate audit” due to the urgency and importance of the construction. Eckert, who previously worked in the structures of the Ministry of Defense, tried to use his connections, and Bushmanov prepared fake documents about the works performed. In total from July 2014 to June 2015 the subcontractor received 2.95 billion rubles ($35 mln) in advance. Part of the money the defendants and their unidentified accomplices allocated for the planned works, but most of the funds were stolen through the firms under their control. Transfers were registered as a payment for the supply of "commodity and material values".

The audit of Rusalyans Stroy began because of non-payment of wages to workers. According to calculations, debts on wages exceeded 22 million rubles ($374 thousand). Then thefts were discovered.

The investigation believes that about 270 million rubles ($4 mln) Bushmanov and Eckert already had time to launder. They bought apartments and cars for themselves and their relatives, however they are now arrested as part of the investigation to pay for the upcoming damages.

The criminal case was initiated in February 2016 under articles of swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code) and laundering of monetary funds acquired as a result of an offence (part 4 of Art. 174.1 of the Criminal Code). The day before Moscow City Court put Bushmanov and Eckert in custody until at least May, 17.

The accused do not admit their guilt. Initially they explained the disruption of works at the Defense Ministry's facilities by the delay in transferring money from the part of GUIR-2. However the management of Spetsstroy contractor managed to prove in court that these statements were groundless.

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