The Atomic Energy Ministry has officially asked Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov to audit the finances at Rosenergoatom and to take back any funds that were not spent as intended. “We are certain that there has been a large-scale diversion of funds from electricity production operations,” Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov told a news conference in Moscow. He has asked Skuratov to look into the thefts of millions of dollars from Rosenergoatom.

Adamov accused Rosenergoatom officials of stealing money using complicated barter deals and promissory notes instead of cash. “The greater portion of money has not surfaced. It simply disappeared into the swamp of endless barter deals,” he said.

Rosenergoatom’s nuclear power plants generate 16% of Russia’s electricity, but less than 7% of the deals are agreed in cash. The rest are barter agreements, making the values involved very difficult to trace. However, Adamov says there is documentary evidence showing that after the management reshuffles in Rosenergoatom funds were intentionally diverted from the producers.

Recently the situation has improved following an agreement signed two months ago by Rosenergoatom and the Unified Energy System (UES) and endorsed by MINATOM and the Fuel and Energy Ministry. It specified mechanisms for receiving and distributing payment for electricity by different entities and has proved effective in reducing wage arrears.