MOSCOW, March 4 (RAPSI) — The Moscow City Court has placed under house arrest the director of the Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Stavropol branch Guzer Khashukayev, who is a defendant in the case of embezzling natural gas worth more than 30 billion rubles ($405 million at the current exchange rate), the press service of the court informs RAPSI.

The court decided to replace detention of Khasukayev to house arrest for a period until April 24, 2021; the man was released from custody immediately in the courtroom.

Khashukaev is accused of organization of a criminal community and large-scale fraud. He was detained in the framework of the criminal case against ex-senator Rauf Arashukov.

Among other defendants in the case are director of Gazprom Gazoraspredelenie Astrakhan and Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Astrakhan, Ruslan Arashukov (ex-senator's cousin), executive director of JSC Essentukigorgaz Alan Kyatov and General Director of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Stavropol Igor Travinov.

All of the defendants stand charged of organization of a criminal community and fraud on an especially large scale.

According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, Raul Arashukov, in abuse of his office, appointed persons under his control to important posts in the gas distribution organizations of the North Caucasus Federal District. Investigators believe four appointees were involved in the embezzlement of natural gas from PJSC Gazprom. The total amount of respective damages is estimated to make 31 billion rubles ($405 million).

Besides, in early April, the investigating authorities brought new charges against Raul Arashukov, amoung them abuse of office and presenting a knowingly false denunciation.

Rauf Arashukov was arrested and detained in late January 2019. The upper house of parliament stripped him of immunity and gave consent to his prosecution upon an application by the Prosecutor General. He stands charged with murder, participation in a gang and witness tampering.

According to investigators, ex-Federation Council member was involved in the murder of a Karachay-Cherkessia public youth movement’s deputy chairman Aslan Zhukov and the republican president’s advisor Fral Shebzukhov in 2010. Moreover, investigators believe that the former senator is implicated to the natural gas embezzlement from Gazprom company, where his father is among the defendants.