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Putin fires defense minister in wake of scandal

Putin fires defense minister in wake of scandal

CREATED Nov 6, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired the country's defense minister two weeks after a criminal probe was opened into alleged fraud in the sell-off of military assets.

Putin made the announcement of Anatoly Serdyukov's dismissal on Tuesday in a meeting with Moscow regional governor Sergei Shoigu, whom he appointed as the new minister.

Putin's comments appeared to connect the decision to a probe announced by the country's top investigative agency last month into the sale of assets, including real estate, at prices far below market value.

The Investigative Committee says the state suffered damages of 3 billion rubles ($95 million).

Putin says he made the decision "in order to create terms for the objective investigation of all questions" involving the ministry.