MOSCOW, June 18 (Reuters) - Russian officials have opened a criminal investigation into a deputy head of state-controlled airline Aeroflot on suspicion that he abused his position by selling cheap tickets to travel agents linked to his family.
President Vladimir Putin, keen to stop foreign investment capital draining out of Russia, has made fighting endemic corruption a priority for his third term, although critics say early efforts fail to address the scale of the problem.
Recent corruption scandals have cost Putin’s defence minister his job and clouded various high-profile projects, including next year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, Silicon Valley-style technology hub Skolkovo and satellite navigation system GLONASS.
In a statement on Tuesday, Russia’s federal Investigative Committee said it had launched the formal investigation into Aeroflot deputy CEO Andrei Kalmykov.
It said Aeroflot had sold tickets to travel agencies affiliated with Kalmykov’s relatives for less than it could have charged a rival agent, causing losses to the state of around $2.5 million.
Kalmykov declined to comment, saying he had not been informed formally about the case and had only heard of it through media reports.
Aeroflot also declined to comment. (Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova and Gleb Stolyarov,; writing by Maria Kiselyova,; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)