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Key witness in Rosagroleasing embezzlement case ready to return in Russia to testify on security guarantees

April 23, 2013, 11:33 UTC+3

He demands the status of witness preserved for him and the state defence from the pressure by the defendants

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MOSCOW, April 23 (Itar-Tass) – Director General of the Voronezh company Vita Sergei Tsvetkov is ready to return in Russia from Thailand to give testimony to the detectives in the criminal case over embezzlement of 1.1 billion roubles from Rosagroleasing on the condition of the status of witness preserved for him and the state defence from the pressure by the defendants, lawyer Alexei Khorolsky told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

“Tsvetkov headed the company only formally and the embezzlement was committed through the company. He is staying in Thailand and is ready to give testimony to the detectives, but he is concerned that if he returns in Russia he will get the status of suspect and will be brought in the detention centre. Every day we are discussing with the detectives an opportunity for his return, as long as we get a clear guarantee to retain the status of witness and to ensure the state defence, Tsvetkov will get onboard the airplane and will fly to Moscow,” lawyer Khorolsky stated.

According to the version of the detectives, the embezzlement of the monetary funds from the Russian agrarian leasing company Rosagroleasing was committed by an organized criminal group headed by former Agriculture Minister Alexei Bazhanov in 2008-2009 through the conclusion of false leasing contracts for the delivery of the equipment for the production of refined sunflower oil to the under-controlled agrarian enterprises. The law enforcement agencies believe that the budgetary funds were transferred to the accounts of the affiliated organizations, including CJSC Group of Companies Masloprodukt and were cashed.

The court has earlier put under arrest Bazhanov and two other figurants in the criminal case - top manager of CJSC Masloprodukt Roman Malov and Director General of Masloprodukt-BIO Sergei Dudenkov.

Lawyer Khorolsky believes that Tsvetkov occupied the post of the head of the Vita limited liability company falsely and was not involved in the embezzlement. “Tsvetkov was the head of the security service at the grain elevator, he was offered to head the company falsely, and he agreed in most cases not understanding and not reading those documents, which were brought to him for signing,” the lawyer remarked.

The lawyer noted that Tsvetkov was acquainted with Bazhanov, however, he was maintaining direct contacts with Malov and other “Moscow lawyers”. “Tsvetkov was not a profit-maker in this scheme, he ran a business negligently, but did not participate in the embezzlement,” Khorolsky stated.

The lawyer also noted that Tsvetkov sent “the initial testimony in the criminal case” to the detective through the email. His testimony can be broadened if he receives the security guarantees for his arrival in Moscow. Meanwhile, Khorolosky could not answer the question whether Tsvetkov’s testimony proves the version of the detectives.

“I faced three versions of the investigation. I cannot confirm or reject them, unless there is a response who was the final profit-maker in the scheme, where and on whose accounts the stolen money is deposited,” the lawyer said in conclusion.

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