MOSCOW, June 3 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court on Friday sentenced ex-Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Marina Lukashevich to 6.5 years behind bars for embezzling about 50 million rubles (over $800,000), the court’s press service told RAPSI.

Additionally, she was fined 800,000 rubles (about $13,000).

One more defendant in the case, 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) Mikhail Popov was ordered to serve 7.5 years in jail and also fined 800,000 rubles.

 The case concerned the operation of the Science Development Center, which received 5 multi-million state contracts in 2017. Investigators claimed that the company was founded for stealing the funds by Popov.

According to the investigation, Popov organized a tendering procedure to allow the Science Development Center win the tenders. Lukashevich was involved in accepting the contracts. Under the concluded contracts, the company was to draft educational programs and conduct researches for the Science Ministry. 

Lukashevich pled not guilty and insisted that an examination submitted to court was made by unskilled experts.

She was arrested and detained in mid-July 2020. A few days after, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin relieved her of the post of Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education.