A senior Russian prosecutor accused "former and current deputy finance ministers" on Thursday of large-scale theft of state funds, but did not name them, Russian news agencies reported.
The allegations coincide with an economic crisis in Russia following a fall in the price of oil and raw materials. President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to crack down on corruption although previous attempts to do so have largely failed.
"It would not be an exaggeration to say that some of the best specialists in finance and economics, including former and current deputy finance ministers, have been involved in organising large-scale theft of state funds in recent years," Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the investigative committee of the Prosecutor-General's office, was quoted as saying.
Russia released Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak from jail on Oct. 21 pending his trial for embezzlement. Storchak's arrest was seen as an attempt to undermine the position of his boss, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.
Storchak still formally holds his post as Deputy Finance Minister but is on leave. It was not clear from the agency reports whether one or more of Kudrin's current deputies was under investigation.
The investigative committee's press service declined to provide any details. The Finance Ministry was not available for comment. Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin, who took over Storchak's duties, is on sick leave.
Other deputies to Kudrin are Sergei Shatalov, Oksana Sergiyenko, head of State Treasury Tatyana Nesterenko, Anton Siluanov and Alexander Novak.
Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2009, 11:04