Pension Managers Accused of Theft

The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that it found "large-scale embezzlement" by Pension Fund employees.

Fund managers used government money to purchase apartments from the city of Moscow in 2004 and 2005, the ministry said in a statement. The workers signed nine contracts to buy properties worth more than 43.5 million rubles ($1.85 million), the statement said.

"This situation is unrelated to the current management of the Pension Fund," the state-run fund said. The person who was managing director during the period investigated by the Interior Ministry left in December 2004, the statement said.

The fund made payments of 1.5 trillion rubles ($60 billion) to more than 38 million Russians in 2006, according to the State Statistics Service.

The fund's former head, Gennady Batanov, resigned in December after three years. His resignation may have been connected to evidence of embezzlement found during an audit, a source in the Audit Chamber told Prime-Tass at the time.