Aid mislaid: Russia seeks rogue republic president’s son

Oleg Smirnov, son of the president of Transdnitria (RIA Novosti/ Dmitriy Matveev)
Oleg Smirnov, the son of the president of the Republic of Transdniester, Igor Smirnov, is wanted in Russia as part of an investigation into the embezzlement of Russian aid to the unrecognized republic.

­The spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee told the press on Monday that his agency intends to detain and question bankers Oleg Brizitskiy and Oleg Smirnov over the case of embezzlement about 160 million rubles (over US$3.3 million).

“They were summoned for questioning as suspects on November 2 but they never turned up,” Vladimir Markin said.

The case against top officials of the Transdniester Republican bank was started in Russia in late October. The Russian side claims that the money send to the republic from November 2008 till November 2009 as aid to pensioners and the agricultural sector was embezzled or stolen. The Russian criminal code carries punishment of up to 10 years in prison for such crime.

Russian law enforcers hold that one of the suspects, Oleg Smirnov, is the son of Transdniestrian President Igor Smirnov. Oleg Smirnov is a Russian citizen and owns several businesses in Russia, as well as several apartments in Moscow and a country home in Moscow outskirts.

Russian news agency ITAR-TASS has quoted a source in the law enforcement agencies as saying that both Brizitskiy and Smirnov are currently in Cyprus.

Transdniester is holding a presidential election on December 11. Incumbent President Igor Smirnov, who heads the unrecognized republic for 20 years already, is running again against Parliamentary Speaker Anatoly Kaminsky.