17 June, 2021

Migs That Weren't

Russia loses $237 million in a fake MiG deal with India

Migs That Weren't

A web of intrigue involving a $237-million fake arms deal with India is threatening to turn into the biggest financial scam in post-Communist Russia and create complications in bilateral military cooperation. On July 14, Muscovites were jolted by an announcement by Russia's Central Bank chairman Sergei Dubinin, accusing former deputy finance minister Andrey Vavilov and several major financial institutions of criminal profiteering by mishandling a total of half-a-billion dollars in government funds.

According to Dubinin, while in office, Vavilov twice—in 1996 and 1997—approved Finance Ministry payments that failed to reach their destinations. The unusually outspoken chief banker said $275 million meant to pay back wages to public sector employees for the Moscow regional government were transferred to Unikom-bank, one of Russia's most aggressive banks, where they were misappropriated.

But the scandal centres mostly on the second case—the transfer from the state coffers of $237 million officially intended for advance...

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