Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman has sought to cast doubt on a newspaper report alleging top-level corruption at Tactical Missiles Corporation, the state-controlled weapons manufacturer known as KTRV.
The independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on November 7 that the 29-year-old daughter of the missile corporation's director owns a large stake in the business from which the state-controlled organization makes much of its supply purchases.
The report said that Olga Zorikova, daughter of KTRV Director Boris Obnosov, works as a makeup artist and hairstylist at weddings and fashion shows, but also owns 20 percent of TRV-Engineering through a complicated series of ownership structures under the Zvezda-Strela name.
In the past five years, it said, TRV-Engineering had signed contracts with KTRV worth about $91 million.
The newspaper cited a court ruling that indicates TRV-Engineering collects a 12 percent broker's fee for every contract with a KTRV-connected factory. It alleged that on one occasion, goods delivered to a defense plant proved to be counterfeit.
The 65-year-old Obnosov has frequently met with President Vladimir Putin and advised him on new weapons, the report said.
"It is his relatives and subordinates who get the billions of rubles that the state allocates for the production of the latest high-precision weapons," Novaya Gazeta alleged in its report.
Neither Obnosov nor his daughter has responded to the newspaper's request for comment, it reported.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on November 7 that the government was aware of the report and that law enforcement authorities will look into the matter "if it presents some interest to them" to do so.
Peskov did not comment on the substance of the report, but said that people should "retain sobriety and not...believe unsubstantiated declarations."
The Novaya Gazeta report also alleged that another 20 percent of TRV-Engineering is owned by Vladimir Maslensky, who is also a board member of KTRV. Maslensky has not responded to a request for comment from the newspaper.
KTRV, founded in 2002, develops and produces hypersonic weapon systems, aviation circuitry for air-to-air weapons, and naval armament systems for the Russian military.
Novaya Gazeta said its report was the result of a months-long investigation into public-source information on the activities of KTRV and affiliated companies.