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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MiG's Acting Chief Faces Fraud Charges

bloombergSergei Tsivilyov
Moscow city prosecutors have charged the acting head of MiG Corp., first vice president Sergei Tsivilyov, with fraud in an attempted sale of counterfeit parts for Poland's MiG-29 fighter jets, Kommersant said Wednesday, citing an unidentified person in the prosecutor's office.

The charges could be part of a struggle for control over United Aircraft Corporation, or UAC, a state-owned group of aircraft makers that MIG will soon join, an analyst said.

Tsivilyov and a director of a company named Aviaremsnab were charged with fraud and forging documents on an attempted delivery of $637,000 worth of parts for Poland's MiG-29s, the paper reported.

Under the charges, Tsivilyov approved a deal to supply substandard spare parts for MIG-29 jet fighters, the city prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The prosecutors found that some parts were produced as far back as 1992, some components were delivered by companies that did not have a license to make parts for airplanes and that some parts had false certificates, Kommersant said.

Prosecutors filed the same charges against Musail Ismailov, director of Aviaremsnab, which supplied the parts, the statement said.

Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the city prosecutor's office, confirmed by telephone that Tsivilyov had been charged, but was unable immediately to provide details.

Tatyana Protsenko, Tsivilyov's lawyer, said the case was "illegal" and that he had not committed any crime. "No proof has been presented in the indictment," Protsenko said. "They just say you're a crook and that's all."

Protsenko added that she was appealing to a court in Moscow and to the Prosecutor General's Office for the charges to be dropped.

No one answered calls to Tsivilyov's cell phone Wednesday for comment.

Yelena Fyodorova, a spokeswoman at MiG, said by telephone that the combat-plane maker has more than 2,000 parts suppliers who go through "rigorous" quality, financial and security checks before being signed off by Tsivilyov and that while "he signs about 100 documents a day, he cannot go and personally check everything."

A woman answering the telephone at one of two Moscow-area companies named Aviaremsnab, who would only give her first name of Alla, said someone might provide a comment later.

Former MiG director Alexei Fyodorov was appointed head of UAC earlier this month. Tsivilyov was expected to take over his job as head of MiG, said MiG spokeswoman Yelena Fyodorova.

"We find it strange [that the case was made public] when it became known that Tsivilyov would stay at the helm of MiG," Fyodorova said.

It is likely that the case reflects a fight between Sukhoi and MiG for control of UAC, said Alexander Khramchikhin, an analyst at the Institute for Political and Military Analysis.

"Sukhoi is just trying to finish MiG off. Sukhoi is dominating anyway," he said.

Sukhoi spokeswoman Anastasia Yaroslavtseva referred calls to Alexei Poveshchenko, an aide to the company's director, who was unavailable for comment immediately.

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, was last week appointed UAC board chairman.

After his appointment was confirmed, Ivanov said the state-run holding would reach full capacity within nine years.

President Vladimir Putin put Ivanov in charge of overseeing aviation safety after a series of air crashes this summer, and in November backed his appointment as board chairman of UAC.

(Bloomberg, MT)