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Watchdog: Russian state contracts shady

Aug. 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A government watchdog in Moscow said Thursday the majority of state contracts finalized in 2011-12 were done so in violation of the law.

The government's audit chamber said 70 percent of the 458 state contracts signed From July 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012, violated procurement regulations. Contracts awarded during the reporting period were valued at more than $30 million, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Transparency International in 2012 gave Russia a score of 28 on a scale of 0-100 where a score of zero means a country is perceived as highly corrupt.

The watchdog group said state contracts exist in a regulatory "gray zone," calling for "systematic measures" to overhaul the procurement process in the country.

Russia's prosecutor general's office said in July there was a "high level" of bribery, forgery and abuse of power among members of the Russian armed forces. Corruption allegations extended to defense contractors.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in June it signed more than $20 billion worth of contracts for 2013, about 80 percent of the quota for the year.

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