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Anti-corruption investigators discover that Russia's Pension Fund leases its BMWs very stupidly

Meduza

Russia’s Pension Fund spends roughly 100 million rubles a year on car rentals, according to the latest investigative report by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. In late June, the agency signed an agreement leasing six BMWs, 22 Toyota Camrys, and 14 cheaper vehicles. The Pension Fund also bought leases on another 51 cars for its regional branches.

According to Navalny’s researchers, the Pension Fund is spending 3.4 million rubles ($49,000) on just six months of lease payments for a single BMW — more than it would cost to buy the luxury vehicle outright.

The Anti-Corruption Foundation also discovered evidence of cartel collusion in the Pension Fund’s vehicle procurement contracts. In its seven most recent deals, for example, just three companies with nearly identical names submitted bids that differed by less than one percent.

Not Navalny's only Pension Fund exposé 

In late August, the Anti-Corruption Foundation published a report claiming that Russian Pension Fund director Anton Drozdov’s mother-in-law owns a lavish country home outside Moscow worth an estimated 400 million rubles ($5.9 million). The property was apparently a gift from Drozdov’s wife in late December 2009, handed over just a few months after she acquired it. By having his wife transfer the real estate to her mother, Drozdov managed to keep it off his assets declarations. Navalny’s team says Drozdov’s family owns nearly a billion rubles ($14.6 million) in real estate.

Alexey Navalny is currently serving a 30-day jail sentence for organizing “unpermitted protests” in January. Police apparently timed his arrest in late August to prevent him from attending his coalition’s September 9 demonstrations against the authorities’ plan to raise the country’s retirement age.

How often does the Anti-Corruption Foundation release these reports?

All the doggone time. Russian officialdom, moreover, appears to be so corrupt that Navalny’s investigative team is able to roll out reports about public figures who have only recently become relevant in the news (like Anton Drozdov in the context of the national debate about pension reform).

In mid-August, the Anti-Corruption Foundation reported that State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin’s 82-year-old mother owns a 230-million-ruble ($3.4-million) apartment in Moscow, as well as nearly a dozen small businesses. Volodin says he and his mother got rich more than a decade ago by selling their shares in a company that makes sunflower oil and mayonnaise, walking away with a combined $200 million. Navalny says media reports from 2014 and 2017 show the value of these shares was roughly 10 times less, however.

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