1 Apr 2019 18:13

Jailed ex-minister Abyzov not depressed, actively involved in discussing defense matters - lawyer

MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) - Lawyers for the open government ex-minister Mikhail Abyzov, arrested for embezzlement, have visited him in custody for the first time.

"He is still in quarantine, but despite the extremely uncomfortable conditions he is not complaining, not depressed, but on the opposite, he is a working and constructive mood," his lawyer Alexander Asnis told Interfax on Monday.

During today's visit the lawyers and Abyzov discussed a range of matters relating to the gathering the proof of his inculpability.

"Abyzov is certain of his innocence and intends to prove this to investigators," Asnis said.

The investigator had invited the lawyers to take part in relevant inquiries on April 3, he said.

On March 27 Moscow's Basmanny district court remanded Abyzov in custody until May 25. The ex-minister has been charged with forming a criminal group and a four billion ruble embezzlement.

Investigators believe that Abyzov organized and headed a criminal group while being a beneficial owner of several offshore business firms from April 2011 through November 2014. Thus, acting in concert with Nikolai Stepanov, Maxim Rusakov, Galina Fraydenberg, Alexander Pelipasov and Sergei Ilyichev, Abyzov embezzled four billion rubles from Siberian Energy Company and Regional Power Grids, the firms that generate and transmit electric power across the Novosibirsk region, by way of defrauding their shareholders. All the stolen money is believed to have been moved abroad, the Investigative Committee said.