Moscow court refuses to release suspect in Culture Ministry embezzlement scandal on bail
MOSCOW, May 19 (RAPSI, Yevgeniya Sokolova) – The Moscow City Court has ruled that the extended detention of Boris Tsagarayev, who stands charged with embezzlement of budgetary funds allocated for restoration of cultural heritage objects, was lawful, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom on Thursday.
The defendant’s counsel asked the court to change the present pre-trial restrictions from remand in custody to house arrest or a 10 million rubles ($150,000) bail. However, the prosecutor and investigator in the case petitioned the court to uphold Tsagarayev’s detention, since according to them the defendant could put pressure on other persons involved in this case and use stolen funds, whereabouts of which were still unknown.
The court ruled to uphold the Moscow Lefortovsky Court judgement; Tsagarayev, the head of a state-owned “Directorate for construction, reconstruction and restoration”, will remain in custody till June 21.
Besides, on May 26 a higher court will examine complaints on extended detention of other defendants in the “restorers case”, Dmitry Sergeyev, the head of BaltStroy, Oleg Ivanov, the head of a state unitary enterprise for restoration works supervised by the Culture Ministry, and Boris Mazo, the head of the Ministry Department of property management and investment policies.
Earlier, the Moscow Lefortovsky Court has extended detention of Grigory Pirumov, Deputy Minister of Culture, Boris Mazo, Alexander Kochenov, the manager of BaltStroy, Oleg Ivanov, and Dmitry Sergeyev till August 15. Businessman Nikita Kolesnikov will remain in custody till June 16.
The court has also arrested property and funds owned by Pirumov and Mazo.
The defendants stand charged with embezzlement of more than 100 million rubles (about $1.5 million). The investigation has presumably started basing on a report by the Auditing Chamber on restoration of the Izborsk Fortress in the Pskov region presented yet in 2013; however, it may also involve such cultural heritage sites as the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, as well as works carried out at the Ivanovsky Convent in Moscow, and a theater in Pskov.