|Missing IMF Money|
During a question-and-answer session broadcast on Radio Mayak on 21 April, Russian Audit Chamber head Sergei Stepashin said that his agency has uncovered serious financial violations concerning an IMF loan disbursed to Russia weeks before the Russian ruble devaluation and debt default in 1998. According to Stepashin, some $4 billion disappeared and cannot be recovered. He also said that the Prosecutor-General's Office has launched a criminal investigation into the case, and that its findings might be known before the end of the year. Accusations that the IMF funds had been embezzled first surfaced in Western and Russian media in the wake of the August 1998 devaluation, and were confirmed by a parliamentary investigative commission appointed by then-Chairman Federation Council Yegor Stroev in 1999. However, the commission's report was never made public.