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Moscow court sanctions arrest in absentia for fugitive Communist MP accused of fraud

March 03, 2017, 20:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Communist lawmaker Denis Voronenkov is accused of selling a building in central Moscow that was not in his ownership

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Denis Voronenkov

Denis Voronenkov

© Anna Isakov/Russia's State Duma press service/TASS

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. A Moscow court on Friday sanctioned an arrest in absentia for a fugitive Communist lawmaker, Denis Voronenkov, who is accused of organizing a large-scale fraud.

Voronenkov is accused of selling a building in central Moscow that was not in his ownership.

The court ruled that the case files, including face-to-face questioning protocols, witness testimony and other documents, provide enough proof of Voronenkov’s involvement in the crimes he is being accused of. The court also took into account his fleeing from investigation.

"These circumstances are real, grounded and are proved by the case files," Judge Yulia Safina said, adding that for these ends a milder measure of restraint is impossible.

A representative of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office told the court session that the Prosecutor General’s Office supports Voronenkov’s arrest in absentia as investigators have proof to his committing two crimes, including a grave crime, he is being accused of. He said investigators insist on his arrest as the former lawmaker may make use of his connections and knowledge of investigative activities to foil investigation and continue his criminal activities.

Voronenkov’s lawyer, Andrei Grivtsov, said in turn that his client "is not hiding, living an open life and giving interviews," so, the investigator can easily establish his whereabouts and issue a summon.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Investigative Committee has put Voronenkov on the international wanted list.

In December 2014, Russia’s Investigative Committee requested the State Duma lower parliament house strip Voronenkov off his lawmaker immunity over a criminal case on a forcible takeover of a building in central Moscow. On April 2015, the Committee referred to the Prosecutor General’s Office documents on bringing Voronenkov to justice as an accused. Fraud charges were officially brought against Voronenkov in February 2017.

Meanwhile, Voronenkov left Russia in December 2016 and is now living in Kiev. He has received Ukrainian citizenship. After he fled Russia, he gave a number of interviews with anti-Russian rhetoric.

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