Alleged scandal overshadows Russia hi-tech centre

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Alleged scandal overshadows Russia hi-tech centre

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As business people and science and technology experts gathered in Moscow for something called the Open Innovation Forum and Expo, Russia’s version of Silicon Valley, which is a major sponsor of that event, is embroiled in a possible huge financial scandal.

Prosecutors are looking at what happened to more than 2.5 billion euros in government money that went to the Skolkovo Foundation’s innovation centre. They are checking to see that if some of it was misspent or embezzled.

Oleg Fomichev, the Deputy Minister of Russian Economic Development, who is also a member of the Skolkovo Foundation Council, told euronews the allegations are not new: “As far as I know, at the end of the summer prosecutors said they’d found some violations, but they were of – let’s say – a non-criminal nature.”

He explained: “Those violations were connected with the Skolkovo Foundation’s internal corporate systems being poorly set up. That’s why they questioning all the money given out – as grants and for innovative projects – without the necessary corporate documents, to see whether this money was spent inefficiently or perhaps even misspent.”

Skolkovo, a pet project of prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, is part of the Kremlin’s efforts to move Russia’s economy away from energy dependence, but it has been a frequent target of checks by law enforcement amid claims of embezzlement.