19 Sep 2019 22:54

Moscow court places high-ranking Culture Ministry official Mosolov charged with major fraud into custody until Nov 12

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) - Moscow's Basmanny Court on Thursday sanctioned the incarceration of Pavel Mosolov, the deputy director of the Russian Culture Ministry's department for state protection of cultural heritage, placing him into custody for two months, an Interfax correspondent reported from courtroom on Thursday.

"[The court has ruled] to accommodate the investigation's request to select custody until November 12 as a measure of restraint for Mosolov," Judge Natalia Dudar said, reading out the judgment. Mosolov was earlier charged with embezzlement of public funds allocated for the restoration of cultural heritage sites on the Solovets Archipelago.

As well as Mosolov, the court ordered the two-month arrest of three of his alleged accomplices, including SmartFinans CEO Tatiana Magdeeva, entrepreneur Sergei Semikov, and Roskapstroy head Vladimir Tsvetkov.

None of the defendants pleaded guilty. Their attorneys earlier asked the court to order softer measures of restraint. They petitioned the judge to release the defendants on bail, offering three to five million rubles, or place them under house arrest.

All the suspects detained in the case are also charged with major fraud.

According to attorney Sergei Skryokhin, the charges include five counts of embezzling a total of more than 20 million rubles in public funds allocated for cultural sites restoration. Investigators believe the money was embezzled in 2011-2016. About 70 cultural heritage sites in the Solovets Archipelago were to be restored with the money, he said.

This criminal case was merged with another one opened in February 2018, the attorney said. According to the investigation, the public funds were embezzled during the implementation of a restoration program covering cultural heritage sites on the Solovets Islands, including the Solovetsky Monastery.

As reported earlier, the Culture Ministry praised Mosolov's work: "Mosolov has multiple times earned honorable mentions of the minister and been awarded with the agency's own medal. He earned an honorable mention by the State Duma Culture Committee, particularly for honestly exercising his official duties in the sphere of state protection of cultural heritage sites."

According to the ministry's document available to Interfax, Mosolov, 36, has held several positions at the Culture Ministry since 2005. Currently, he is deputy director of the Culture Ministry's department for state protection of cultural heritage.