MOSCOW, January 13 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court on Monday postponed hearing of embezzlement case against Nina Maslyayeva, ex-chief accountant of the Seventh Studio stage company created by the Gogol Center theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, until January 21, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The hearing was adjourned because of the witnesses’ default in appearance.
Earlier, the court held that the case would be considered on general terms despite the defendant’s plea deal. Maslyayeva pleaded guilty and signed a deal with investigators but doubts about fulfillment by the defendant of all plea deal terms arose in a judge’s mind. Prosecutors and defense sought for trial under a special procedure without examining evidence.
Maslyayeva is one of the defendants of a high-profile case involving theater director Kirill Serebrennikov. She earlier confirmed that she was involved in monthly embezzlement and cash out of money at the direction of Serebrennikov, ex-Seventh Studio head Yury Itin and other defendants.
In April, the case against Maslyayeva was returned to prosecutors. Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court held that the indictment did not detail Maslyayeva’s role in the crime she was charged with. Prosecutors were therefore ordered to rectify the violation. In May, the Moscow City Court on Tuesday upheld the ruling.
On November 1, Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court began new proceedings in the Seventh Studio stage company embezzlement case against Serebrennikov and others. In early October, the Moscow City Court overturned return of the to a prosecutor’s office and remanded it for a new proceeding.
All defendants in this case along with Serebrennikov are producer Alexey Malobrodsky, ex-head of Seventh Studio stage company Yury Itin, ex-official of Russia’s Culture Ministry and current director of the Russian Academic Youth Theater Sophia Apfelbaum.
They pleaded not guilty calling charges against them pointless and absurd. Moreover, Serebrennikov and Malobrodsky lay the blame on Maslyayeva.
One more defendant, producer Yekaterina Voronova has been put on the international wanted list and arrested in absentia.
According to investigators, defendants in the case stole 133 of 214 million rubles ($3.3 million) of budget funds allocated to the Seventh Studio company in 2011-2014 for development and popularization of contemporary art in Russia as part of the project Platforma.
Serebrennikov was arrested in late August 2017 and then placed under house arrest. In early November, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court seized assets belonging to Serebrennikov including apartment, car, and money in the amount of more than 360,000 rubles ($5,300), over €60,000, and $4,000.
Investigators believe that he was an organizer of the budget money embezzlement. He allegedly created Seventh Studio stage company to actualize Platforma project for promotion of art and called alleged accomplices into the organization.