Shipyard director arrested in aircraft carrier fraud case
Director of the shipyard, Yevgeny Zudin, was arrested on March 18 after investigators from the economic department of Murmansk police headquarters searched the the shipyards offices and confiscated documents.
Shipyard No.10 is part of Zvezdockha yard in Severodvinsk, a subsidiary of United Shipbuilding Corporation.
According to Oktyabrsky District Court in Murmansk, who ruled a 2-months custody period for Zudin, the suspected crime includes “especially large scale fraud.”
St. Petersburg based 47 News online reports that the fraud in question is theft of 45 million rubles from funds allocated by the state for the repair of “Admiral Kuznetsov”, Russia’s only aircraft carrier.
The carrier is currently undergoing repair and upgrade at Zvezdockha’s shipyard No. 35 in Murmansk.
During its modernization, the aircraft carrier has been followed by accidents. In October 2018, the flight-deck was damaged as the floating dock holding Admiral Kuznetsov sank and a crane fell over. In December 2019, a fire started during welding work in one of the engine rooms. Two where killed and 14 others were injured.
The contract sum agreed between Zvezdockha and the Defense Ministry in 2018 for the repair and modernization of the aircraft carrier was 20 billion rubles. Shipyard No. 10’s part of the contract included cleaning of the fuel tanks. To do the work, external workers from Crimea was hired and the job was completed in July 2019, according to News 47.
In the report sent afterwards to the Defense Ministry, signed by Director Zudin, 23,000 work hours were charged, while the real work hours in reality were 13,000, according to the investigators. As a result, Zvezdockha paid 71 million rubles to its shipyard in Polyarny, 45 million more than first estimated.
If found guilty, the fraud crime is punished with up to 10 years in prison, Oktyabrsky District Court in Murmansk writes.
In case of no further delays, “Admiral Kuznetsov” will be ready for sea trails in the Barents Sea next year.