MOSCOW, June 22 (RAPSI) – A prosecutor on Monday demanded a 6-year jail sentence and an 800,000-ruble fine for the Gogol Center theater director Kirill Serebrennikov in a case over embezzlement of 129 million rubles (about $2 million) of budget funds allocated for the theater project Platforma, RAPSI reported from a courtroom.

Moreover, the prosecutor asked the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow to sentence ex- Gogol Center theater manager Alexey Malobrodsky to 5 years in penal colony with a 300,000-ruble fine, ex-head of Seventh Studio stage company Yury Itin and ex-official of Russia’s Culture Ministry and current director of the Russian Academic Youth Theater Sophia Apfelbaum to 4 years behind bars with a 200,000-ruble fine each.

In late 2019, the court commissioned the third complex financial and economic, and art valuation examination. A previous evaluation in 2018 failed to establish a fact of embezzlement. According to the results of the third examination, over 129 million rubles were embezzled from the arts project Platforma.

Ex-chief accountant of Seventh Studio Nina Maslyayava is tried separately. She admitted guilt in full.

Other defendants 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.