23 May 2019 17:35

Abyzov dismisses charges of organizing criminal group as "absurd"

MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) - Former minister of Open Government Mikhail Abyzov, who is accused of organizing a criminal ring, has told the court the charge is absurd, an Interfax correspondent reported.

"Investigators have still not established either the scene or event of the crime. (...) According to the inquiry, I set up an organized crime group [OCG] using the powers of a Russian government minister, no later than April 2, 2012. But I was only appointed to the position on May 21, 2012," Abyzov told Basmanny District Court in Moscow, which is considering extending his arrest by two months, on Thursday.

"I had already not had any contact with some of the people who according to investigators were part of the so-called OCG well before the events in question, and others I don't know at all. Based on logic and common sense, I assert that my accusation, the organizing and running of a criminal group, is absurd," Abyzov said.

The ex-minister, who has also been charged with massive fraud, was arrested on March 26 and the following day remanded in custody.