Since the beginning of 2001, 49 criminal cases have been initiated on the materials of the Audit Chamber of Russia, its chairman Sergei Stepashin reported Monday. Speaking at the second conference of the Association of Control and Audit Agencies of the Russian Federation Stepashin noted that over the past few years the Audit Chamber enhanced its cooperation with the Prosecutor General's Office. Owing to the close interaction with law-enforcement agencies we have managed to prevent billion-worth losses of budget funds, Stepashin stressed. As an example he named Inkombank, in the course of whose bankruptcy auditing a 620-million-dollar loss inflicted on the state was revealed. The Chamber auditors also revealed a 40-billion-ruble loss from the illegal turnover of alcoholic beverages in Russia. According to Stepashin, the audit of the Kaliningrad region (western exclave) exposed that the region has turned from a free economic zone into a trade zone where imports prevail over exports. Stepashin paid a particular attention to the preparation by the Audit Chamber auditors of an expert conclusion on the 2002 budget, which will be submitted to the State Duma early next year.