MOSCOW, October 16 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court on Friday extended detention of ex-Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Marina Lukashevich in an embezzlement case until November 16, RAPSI learnt from the court’s press service.

According to materials read in the court, the case concerns the operation of the Science Development Center, which received 5 state contracts worth over 40 million rubles (over $500,000 at the current exchange rate) in 2017.

Investigators believe that the company was founded for stealing the funds by Mikhail Popov, a science and education project realization department of the Federal Agency for Affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Residing Abroad and International Humanitarian Co-Operation (Rossotrudnichestvo), who is also involved in the case. According to the investigation, Popov organized a tendering procedure to allow the Science Development Center win the tenders. Lukashevich was allegedly accepted the contracts. Under the concluded contracts, the company was to draft educational programs and conduct researches for the Science Ministry. 

Lukashevich pleads not guilty and believes an examination submitted to court was made by unskilled experts.

She was arrested and detained in mid-July. A few days after, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin relieved Lukashevich of the post of Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education.