Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chelyabinsk Regional health minister charged with fraud

Vitaly Teslenko, the health minister of the Chelyabinsk region, will leave his position due to a ruling by the Chelyabinsk regional court.

Teslenko and his suspected accomplices are charged with an $882,000 fraud scheme. The court recently dismissed an appeal asking that the defendants not be held under arrest, court spokesman Yevgeny Zherdy said, Itar-Tass reports.

A district ruling dismissed the appeal, which was upheld by the regional court.

Teslenko, along with the deputy chief physician of the Kisegach sanitorium and the governor's advisor Ivan Sorokun and chief physician of the Fourth Regional Hospital Mikhail Shukhovtsev were arrested two months ago on charges of massive fraud.

The three were detained on October 31 when they received a portion of the stolen budget money. Investigators said that the men overstated the cost of medical equipment and allowed a firm they owned to win an auction. The firm and regional Health Ministry then received a contract to supply more than $4.5 million worth of medical equipment. The funds were transferred to the account of the firm and in September and October, with the defendants receiving part of the money from the account, Itar-Tass reports.

A total of approximately $696,000 in different currencies, as well as gold and platinum coins and pieces of jewelry, were seized from Teslenko.

Teslenko was removed from his position as regional health minister. His position will be taken over by Olga Dobrokhotova, his first deputy.