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Russian Police Detain Pension Fund Officials In St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG -- Police have detained Natalya Grishkevich, the head of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast branch of the state pension fund, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Local officials said Grishkevich's detention is related to an investigation into alleged financial machinations at VEFK Bank.

The investigation was launched in March last year after some 1 billion rubles ($33.3 million) disappeared from the fund's accounts at the VEFK-Ural Bank in Sverdlovsk Oblast.

VEFK Bank Chairwoman Olga Chechushkova and Sverdlovsk Oblast pension fund head Sergei Dubinkin were also detained.

Investigators revealed that the money allocated for pensions and social allowances in Sverdlovsk Oblast had been wired to St. Petersburg.

Viktoria Gulyayeva, the spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg pension fund, told RFE/RL that the fund's offices in the city and Leningrad Oblast are functioning normally.

She declined to comment on Grishkevich's detention.