Audit Finds $2.7Bln in Violations

The Audit Chamber said Thursday that it had found 73.4 billion rubles ($2.7 billion) in violations, including 1.9 billion rubles in federal budget money, at government-funded institutions through September this year.

Of the misappropriated budget money, 803 million rubles were recovered, the Audit Chamber said in a statement on its web site.

The chamber, which oversees the use of government money, said it uncovered financial and budget violations at 622 projects in 58 of the country's regions. Most of the violations occurred in federally funded projects, but corrupt practices have also been uncovered at regional governments' projects, the statement said.

In a separate statement, the Audit Chamber also criticized the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Atomic Inspection for serious oversights that prevented optimal use of its 2008 budget. As a result, the watchdog was only able to utilize 39.3 percent of its budget in the first half of 2008, the statement said.

The chamber also said it found evidence that some of the expenses for conducting environmental testing were highly inflated.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who has made fighting corruption one of the main goals of his administration, will soon submit a raft of new anti-corruption measures to the State Duma, Audit Chamber head Sergei Stepashin said Thursday in a third statement.