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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Embezzlement Queries for Kasyanov

Itar-TassKasyanov, center, on Monday faced prosecutors investigating the case of Federation Council member Andrei Vavilov.
Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was questioned by prosecutors Monday in connection with a high-profile embezzlement case, Interfax reported.

Kasyanov was questioned for 40 minutes at the Prosecutor General's Office about the case of Federation Council member Andrei Vavilov, who is suspected of stealing $231 million allocated in 1997 for building fighter aircraft for delivery to India.

The former prime minister declined to give any details of the questioning.

The 10-year-old criminal case against Vavilov was reopened in January.

The Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 10 that Vavilov's involvement in a $231 million MiG-29 fighter-jet deal with India entailed wide-scale fraud and gross abuse of office.

Each of the two charges carries up to 10 years behind bars.

In early 1997, then-Deputy Finance Minister Vavilov ordered federal funds transferred to buy bonds that were then to be deposited in a Unikombank account held by MAPO, which manufactures MiG fighter jets.

The money never arrived in MAPO's account, then-Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin said at the time. Instead, Dubinin said, it was diverted into other commercial accounts, including one at MFK, a Uneximbank affiliate.

Vavilov left the Finance Ministry to become president of MFK in May 1997. Later that year, the Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal case into the alleged embezzlement.

Kasyanov, who has announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2008, told reporters Monday that his "political work continues."