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Ex-Culture Ministry official appeals house arrest in embezzlement case

18:00 08/11/2017

MOSCOW, November 8 (RAPSI) – Former official of Russia’s Culture Ministry Sophia Apfelbaum, who stands charged in the embezzlement case involving the Gogol Center theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, has filed an appeal against a court decision to put her under house arrest.

The appeal will be considered by the Moscow City Court on November 27, the court’s spokesperson Yunona Tsareva told RAPSI on Wednesday.

On October 27, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court refused to release Apfelbaum, who currently runs the Russian Academic Youth Theater, on a 1-million-ruble bail (about $17,000). She was put under house arrest until December 26.

According to investigators, from 2011 to 2014, Apfelbaum signed contracts on state grants in the amount of more than 214 million rubles ($3.7 million) with Serebrennikov’s Seventh Studio stage company on behalf of the Russian Culture Ministry, and provided further agreement of received reporting documents, which contained overstated information on quantity and cost of the held events. Thus, she has abetted the embezzlement of about 68 million rubles ($1.2 million) by Serebrennikov and his alleged accomplices, investigators claim.

Apfelbaum admitted that she controlled the movement of cash but pleaded not guilty to embezzlement.

Serebrennikov was arrested in late August and then placed under house arrest. Investigators believe that he was an organizer of the budget money embezzlement. The defendant denied wrongdoing.

He allegedly created Seventh Studio stage company to actualize the Platforma project for promotion of art and invited former head of the company Yury Itin, ex- general producer Alexey Malobrodsky, and former chief accountant Nina Maslyayeva, among others, into organization.

Investigators believe that Itin, Malobrodsky, and Maslyayeva were falsifying data for the Platforma project’s plans in 2011-2014 on request of the theater director. This data was provided to the Ministry of Culture as the rationale for financing from the state budget.

Earlier, Maslyayeva has testified against Serebrennikov. She said that Serebrennikov, Malobrodsky and Itin organized embezzlement of money allocated for a cultural event. Serebrennikov and Malobrodsky cashed the money with the assistance of Maslyayeva. The woman also said that she entered falsified data in financial reports.

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Ex-Culture Ministry official appeals house arrest in embezzlement case

18:00 08/11/2017 Former official of Russia’s Culture Ministry Sophia Apfelbaum, who stands charged in the embezzlement case involving the Gogol Center theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, has filed an appeal against a court decision to put her under house arrest.
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