MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators plan to formally charge a former Russian defense minister with negligence on Friday, according to a police source familiar with the situation.
Investigators said last week they were opening a criminal case on negligence charges against Anatoly Serdyukov over claims he caused 56 million rubles ($1.7 million) of damage to the state by ordering soldiers to build infrastructure for a holiday resort.
Serdyukov, who was fired by President Vladimir Putin last November amid allegations of high-level corruption, was questioned over the charges this week but refused to give evidence.
The Investigative Committee said it still has enough evidence to prove Serdyukov committed a crime by ordering soldiers to build a private road to the Zhitnoye leisure complex near the Caspian Sea.
The Zhitnoye resort, reportedly worth about $4.5 million, was owned by Serdyukov’s brother-in-law at the time the soldiers were used as construction workers for the site.
Negligence carries a maximum punishment of three months in prison under Russian law.
While he has been repeatedly questioned as a witness in other ongoing corruption scandals involving the Defense Ministry, this is the first time a criminal case has been opened against Serdyukov.
Most of the other cases are focused on embezzlement at Oboronservis, a Defense Ministry company that repaired and maintained military property and equipment. A link to the Oboronservis case was the official reason given for Serdyukov’s sacking in 2012.