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Fraud Reported Among Siberian Residents Seeking Compensation for Wildfires

  • RFE/RL

Officials in Russia's Siberian region of Zabaikalye say several cases of fraud have been uncovered as residents have come forward seeking compensation for damages from severe wildfires that hit the region last week.

The emergencies directorate in the region said on April 23 that some local residents had given false information, exaggerating their material losses, to try to qualify for compensation.

The directorate's deputy chief Yevgeny Vologdin warned that those who knowingly gave false information would face criminal charges.

Fire inspectors in the region have been issuing certificates to local citizens eligible for state compensation since April 20.

Wildfires caused by heavy winds fanning dry leaves and underbrush destroyed hundreds of houses in 18 towns and villages in the region last week.

Several other regions in Siberia suffered from the wildfires, the worst on record.

The most damage occured in Khakasia, where the fires killed 34 people, injured 7,500, destroyed about 1,400 homes, and left 5,000 people homeless.