Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Security officers are interested in the funds of the Hermitage – Kommersant

In St. Petersburg, the FSB called for the building of the State Hermitage Museum in the framework of the preliminary investigation concerning possible violations by the contractor building the second phase of a new Museum facility in the heart of the Old Village. The KGB was interested in work related to the financial documentation. Claims to the Museum from the security forces there.

Some field investigators UFSB across Petersburg and Leningrad region visited the Hermitage in the afternoon on January 31. Security officers asked for the documents relating to the execution of the contract for construction in a residential area of Petersburg the Old Village of the building of the Museum Depository. At the same time another group of FSB officers visited the construction site of the object. According to “Kommersant”, the criminal case involving the State Hermitage Museum, in proceedings at the investigative service of the regional FSB yet, and financial documents were studied in the framework of the preliminary investigation related to potential violations by the contractor for the construction of the storage facility — Moscow, OOO “Mekhstroytrans”. It is believed the security forces, a construction company, received from the Hermitage in advance of more than 1 billion RUB., used the money for other purposes, eventu ally breaking the terms of work and delaying payments to subcontractors.

According to the Unified information system (EIS) procurement contract of the State Hermitage Museum with “Mekhstroytrans” in the amount 3,667 billion rubles was signed in December 2015 for the period until 25 March 2019, subject subcontractors in the amount of not more than 10% of the contract value. It provides for “the execution of construction works on the object “Construction of complex buildings the production base and repository — III stage, V-th stage of the construction project (3rd phase III stage of construction) at the address: St.-Petersburg, street School, house 39, letter A””. In 2017, foresees the development of 1.33 billion rubles, in 2018 — 1,288 billion rubles on 16 August 2016, the Hermitage decided to recover from the contractor liquidated damages in connection with the improper performance of the contract. In fact, he paid, according to the contract in the EIS, 1,074 billion rubles in accordance with the acts of acceptance of work performed. As security for contract works Bank guarantee for 1,111 billion rubles issued to the contractor First Czech-Russian Bank.

As specified in the Hermitage, “according to the existing rules is mandatory in this project the advance was, as expected, paid the Hermitage through the Treasury. In other words, the sanction for further expenditure by the company “Mekhstroytrans” means the advance payment gave after appropriate verification, involving the analysis of contracts and documents confirming the occurrence of a monetary obligation, at the expense of the organization’s expenses directly to the Federal Treasury Department in St. Petersburg.”

the building, designed by Dutch architect, Pritzker prize winner REM Koolhaas, is a 60-metre high transparent cube with double facade, which had to accommodate scientific library “the World of the Hermitage”, which was planned to transport about 1 million in the Hermitage collection of books, excluding rare books, reference and working funds. As expected, the new library will operate in three modes of availability for the Hermitage employees, professionals and everyone with a “severe electronic saturation”. In addition, the new complex is to accommodate the “collection suit”, and the center for the study of fashion. The most difficult architectural element was to be covered suspended gallery over the nearby railroad, organized on the principle of medieval trade bridges.

in the Fall of 2016, the official representatives of the State Hermitage Museum reported that work at the facility are significantly behind schedule — “59.1% of plan for 2016″. Violations were recorded, the Hermitage put “Mekhstroytrans” penalties. The amount of fines the Museum workers did not elaborate, but said that as a result of negotiations with the leadership of the construction company “assurances were obtained to increase the pace of work to improve the situation with deadlines”. Despite promises by the builders, the rate of utilization of funds received is not increased, and the building was practically at a standstill.

In the regional Department of the FSB refused to officially comment on the events held in the Museum complex. In turn, representatives of the State Hermitage Museum said: “According to our information, in the areas of restoration and storage centre “Old Village” is the operative event for the survey of one of the premises of administrative services”. As stated by Museum workers, none of the members of the Hermitage staff not involved in the event. Moreover, “any explanations on the substance of the issues the representatives of the UFSB across St.-Petersburg and Leningrad region were not given, resulting in the State Hermitage Museum does not have any information about the reasons of procedural checks”. The activities of the Museum is in normal mode.

Vladislav Litovchenko Anna Pushkarskaya, St. Petersburg


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