MOSCOW — Russia’s ousted defense minister is to be questioned by investigators as part of a probe into multimillion-dollar embezzlement by his former employee, an official said Dec. 27.
Anatoly Serdyukov, who was sacked by President Vladimir Putin last month over a corruption scandal in his ministry, has been summoned to the Investigative Committee for questioning, the committee’s spokesman, Vladimir Markin, told Russian news agencies. Markin said the summons was for Dec. 28.
Serdyukov’s lawyer, Genrikh Padva, said investigators had already held an initial meeting with Serdyukov, the Interfax news agency reported.
Putin explained the dismissal of a top minister by the need for a thorough investigation into a suspected $100-million property scam at a defense ministry holding company, which was headed by a 33-year-old woman rumored to be the minister’s mistress. The woman, Yevgenia Vasilyeva, has been placed on house arrest in her luxurious apartment.
Serdyukov has not been charged with any crime, however, and Dec. 27 was the first time investigators mentioned him as a part of the graft probe, following media reports that the ex-minister had left the country. His lawyer dismissed such allegations, saying Serdyukov has been in Moscow.