The general director of a shipyard contracted to carry out repair and refit work on the Admiral Kuznetsov has been arrested by Russian law enforcement. He is alleged to have embezzled around 45 million rubles ($605,000) in funding allocated for work on Russia’s sole aircraft carrier.
According to TASS, Murmansk’s Oktyabrsky District Court had ordered the arrest of the general director of Russian Shipyard No. 10, after local law enforcement had searched the offices of the Polyarny shipyard and the homes of several senior shipyard employees. The general director is being detained for two months following the opening of a criminal investigation into the alleged embezzlement.
47News identified the general director as Yevgeny Zudin. The news site reports that the order to arrest him was given by the court on the evening of 19 March, after raids by police and SOBR on the morning of the 18th. According to 47News’ preliminary information, at least five more identical charges are likely to be pressed following his arrest.
The criminal case, opened on 29 December, 2020, alleges overbilling by the shipyard for the cleaning of the Admiral Kuznetsov’s fuel tanks. The shipyard had been subcontracted by the Zvezdochka ship repair center for several stages of cleaning work in October 2018, with the work completed in July 2019. However, the shipyard is said to have billed the Russian military for 23 thousand man-hours worth of work, instead of the 13 thousand man-hours of work that actually took place.
The opening of a corruption probe is yet another twist in the tortured tale of Admiral Kuznetsov’s post-Soviet life. Recently having faced numerous set backs including a fire and the sinking of the floating dry dock she was docked in. While the carrier is expected to return to service by the end of 2022, renegotiation of a contract for construction of the drydock intended to hold it for further refit work at the 35th Shipyard in Roslyakovo, near Murmansk, had previously resulted in a pause in said work. While the embezzlement investigation is for work already done, progress on the drydock will decide whether the target is met.