New theft of 400 million revealed in Ministry of Culture

New theft of 400 million revealed in Ministry of Culture
Grigory Pirumov

Culture Ministry officials allegedly stole money allocated for the restoration of Aseevs’ manor.

In the case of multi-million-ruble fraud by the officials of the Ministry of Culture another detail has been revealed, Life wrote. Investigators suspect that the Deputy Minister of Culture Gregory Pirumov, the Director of Property Management Department of the Ministry of Culture Boris Mazo and two executives of the Baltstroy - Dmitry Sergeyev and Aleksandr Kochenov committed embezzlement during the restoration of the Aseevs’ manor in Tambov. The total cost of the works amounts to 401.5 million rubles.

According to investigators, the offenders used the same pattern as in the other episodes: they paid for works being conducted only on paper or re-allocated money for works already carried out. A special commission will estimate the restoration actually carried out.

The information on the the fraud with the manor could have been obtained from the testimony of one of the suspects: recently all the involved in the case have confessed, as well as started to help the pre-trial investigation revealing their accomplices and speaking of previously unknown fraud schemes. Those, who pleaded guilty, include the former Head of the Property Department of the Ministry of Culture Boris Mazo, the Director of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Center of restoration Oleg Ivanov, the owner of the Ruslan Company Nikita Kolesnikov, and then the main person involved in the case, the Deputy Minister of Culture Pirumov.

The Ministry had signed two contracts for the restoration of Aseevs’ manor with the Baltstroy. The first competition for the 324 million went smoothly, yet the second one for 51 million rubles was canceled three times due to the fact that the Baltstroy was the only applicant. Under the law, after three attempted tenders, the department is entitled to select a contractor in its sole discretion. The Baltstroy won the tender again. Contracts for the remaining money were carried out by companies not associated with the Ministry of Culture.

The museum was opened in October 2014 after a number of construction projects. However, by the spring, traces of low-quality work were revealed: the plaster was crumbling, drainage was very poorly made, and cracks were showing. When a year later the situation worsened, a delegation from the Ministry of Culture led by Boris Mazo, the Head of the Property Management Department of the Ministry of Culture came to the place. The Baltstroy promised to carry out repair works at its own expense, and the works had not been completed until only a year later.

The Director of the cultural object said that there were no links with the construction company, as the museum became a legal entity only after the restoration.

The multi-million-ruble fraud had been unveiled during the restoration of Russian cultural monuments. Top-officials with the Ministry of Culture were involved in the schemes, namely the Deputy Minister Grigory Pirumov and the Head of the Property Department Boris Mazo. According to preliminary estimates, the criminal group has caused damages totaling 600 million rubles.

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