20 Jan 2020 11:17

Russian Investigative Committee files to extend Abyzov's arrest till late March

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) - The Moscow Basmanny District Court will process a motion by an investigator to extend the arrest of former Open Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov this week.

"The investigator has submitted to the court a motion to extend Abyzov's arrest until March 26. The hearing will be scheduled shortly," court press secretary Irina Morozova told Interfax.

Abyzov was detained and arrested in March 2019. He is charged with massive fraud, setting up a criminal ring, illegal business activities, and money-laundering.

According to investigators, Abyzov formed and headed an organized criminal group when he became a beneficiary of several offshore companies in the period between April 2011 and November 2014.

Investigators believe Abyzov and his accomplices defrauded shareholders of Siberian Power Company (Sibeco) and Regional Power Grids, which generate and transmit electricity in the Novosibirsk region, of four billion rubles. The stolen money was transferred abroad in full.

Investigators also determined during a preliminary inquiry that Abyzov breached the ban on engaging in entrepreneurial activities while a minister and continued running the companies he owned. In 2018, he sold his shares in Siberian Power Company to two companies, Kuzbassenergo and KhSRK.

Investigators believe 32 billion rubles were acquired as a result of crime and that this money was later laundered.

Abyzov denies all charges.

Investigators said earlier that various assets worth up to 27 billion rubles in total had been seized in connection with the criminal case against the former minister.