MOSCOW (AP) -- A former senior Russian defense ministry official has been charged with fraud related to a sell-off of military assets worth about $11 million.
The Investigative Committee said Friday that Yevgenia Vasilyeva, former head of the ministry's property department and a close ally of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, is suspected of having set up a 360 million rubles ($11 million) scheme that involved the sale of the army's prized land plots and real estate.
President Vladimir Putin fired Serdyukov earlier this month, saying that his ouster is necessary for the investigators to conduct an independent and fair probe into the fraud that allegedly occurred during his tenure.
Investigators also said Friday they had recently searched an 18-house country retreat outside Moscow where Serdyukov and other military officials spent their vacations.
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