Russia: $533M in defense budget misspent

March 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM

MOSCOW, March 15 (UPI) -- Some 1,500 violations involving $533 million in misspent Russian defense expenditures have been uncovered, a government watchdog agency said Friday.

The infractions were found during 99 scheduled and 176 surprise audits by the Russian Federal Defense Contracts Service (Rosoboronzakas), RIA Novosti reported.

The agency, which posted the information on its website, said more than $65.3 million had been returned to the budget last year following the audits, and more than $114 million in wasteful spending avoided.

Some 572 administrative fines totaling $509,000 had been levied, Rosoboronzakas said.

The Chief Military Prosecutor's Office said Thursday it was investigating the suspected embezzlement of more than $228,500 at a health resort owned by the Defense Ministry in southern Russia. The director and several top managers are alleged to have paid third parties for services that were never provided.

Late last year several employees of the state defense property services company were arrested on suspicion they illegally sold $430 million worth of ministry property.

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