Storchak Publishes Open Letter to Investigaton

Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, charged with attempting to embezzle $43 million, on Tuesday published a letter that he sent to investigators more than a month ago because they have refused to interrogate him since his detention in November.

Storchak, who denies the charges, sent the handwritten, 30-page missive to Valery Kholmitsky, a senior investigator on especially important cases at the Investigative Committee under the auspices of the Prosecutor General's Office. Kommersant published it on their web site Tuesday.

"They have told him that there will be an interrogation. They haven't yet interrogated him," said Marina Nikolskaya, a lawyer for Storchak. "He is waiting for an answer."

A spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee declined to comment.

Last week, Moscow's Basmanny District Court agreed — on Kholmitsky's request — to extend Storchak's pretrial detention until July 9, despite the deputy minister's complaints that no investigative work was being done.

Analysts say the case may be part of a turf war between rival Kremlin factions for control of the state's wealth as Vladimir Putin prepares to transfer the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev on May 7.

Reuters, MT