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Kokoity accused of corruption

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, August 20
Specialists working in South Ossetia on the project restoring the buildings damaged during the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 have accused the de facto South Ossetian President, Eduard Kokoity and his administration of corruption and of mishandling funds allocated by the Russian government for the repair works. According to Kommersant, the former director of one of the main contractors working on the reconstruction of the damaged buildings, Ismagil Karimov and the General Director of the brewery Aluton, Ruslan Sharipov listed their claims against the de facto leadership of Tskhinvali at a special press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

Karimov and Sharipov told journalists that they have already handed documents “proving” the corruption deals by Kokoity and his administration to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. The press conference followed the interview of Eduard Kokoity published in Kommersant on August 9, in which he accused those allied to Vadim Brovtsev, the de facto Prime Minister of South Ossetia, including Karimov and Shripov of making “corruption deals”. “The have not done any work. They left the country and started to scream everywhere that Russians are disliked in South Ossetia,” Kokoity told Kommersant.

In response, Karimov said that the disagreement with the de facto South Ossetian administration started on December 26, 2009, when his company received 870 million rubles from Moscow for the restoration work. “As soon as we received the money into our account, the people from Kokoity’s administration started giving us ‘friendly suggestions’ to wait a bit before distributing the money. They told us that they would tell us to whom to give money and how much,” Kommersant quoted Karimov as saying “I refused to follow their advice, distributed the money in a day and left South Ossetia for the winter holidays on December 27. As soon as I left, I received several phone calls from people threatening to blow up my plane because I distributed the money wrongly,” he noted, adding that as a result of pressure from the de facto South Ossetian government, he had to leave the “republic” on April 12.

The General Director of the brewery Aluton, Ruslan Sharipov said at the press conference that he is planning to sue Kokoity for damaging his business reputation by libeling him in an interview to Kommersant. The de facto South Ossetian leader told the Russian newspaper that Sharipov was declared 'wanted' in the Russian Federation. “If I was declared wanted, I would like to know how I managed to cross the border between Russia and South Ossetia? So the Ossetian President is either releasing unverified information or is intentionally lying,” Sharipov told Russian journalists.

The de facto South Ossetian officials have denied the claims of Karimov and Sharipov, saying that both of them have committed crimes on South Ossetian territory. “They were declared wanted some months ago,” de facto South Ossetian deputy General Prosecutor, Eldar Kokoev said, adding “Karimov is accused of tens of cases of negligence and exceeding his rights.”

As for Ruslan Sharipov, Kokoev noted, “South Ossetian law enforcers have number of questions for him as well.” “Tskhinvali government gave Aluton 5.5 million rubles to modernise the brewery. Half of that money was sent to the town of Ozersk, Chelyabinsk region allegedly for purchasing new equipment. However for that amount of money they just bought one pump. Where is the rest of the money? Nobody knows so far,” Kokoev stated.