Russia finds indications of corruption in Hermitage Museum project

July 31, 2013 at 11:12 AM

MOSCOW, July 31 (UPI) -- Evidence of corruption was found in contracts for restoration work at buildings belonging to Russia's Hermitage Museum, the Audit Chamber said Wednesday.

Alleged graft involving the Culture Ministry, restoration company Intarsia and the state-owned St. Petersburg Building Project Investment Fund took place between 2007 and 2012, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The Audit Chamber said the World Bank, which provided financing for the project, suffered a loss along with the state but no figures were provided.

In 2010, the Culture Ministry and the St. Petersburg Building Project Investment Fund canceled a tender for carrying out reconstruction work on a historic building owned by the Hermitage.

The contract was instead awarded to Intarsia along with another contract worth $188 million, the Audit Chamber said.

The move allowed Intarsia to gain a "significant volume of extra earnings" at the expense of the federal budget and the World Bank, the Audit Chamber said.

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