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MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. Russian MP Ilya Ponomaryov has been charged in absentia with complicity in embezzling Skolkovo hi-tech hub’s funds and may be placed on an international wanted list, the official spokesman of Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Wednesday.
If State Duma deputy Ponomaryov fails to meet with the investigator, "the Investigative Committee will initiate a search for him and if needed on the international scale," spokesman Vladimir Markin said.
The investigators will also "take measures to repair the damage from this crime," he said.
The criminal probe was opened into the misuse of $750,000 allocated under a 2010 contract on the fulfillment of R&D work and lecturing.
Under the agreement, Ponomaryov undertook to carry out R&D work in several stages, prepare analytical reports and have his work reviewed by international research organizations.
Skolkovo Vice-President Alexey Beltyukov later signed an additional agreement with Ponomaryov, which reduced the contract price to $450,000 but actually cancelled the system of stage-by-stage reports, the Investigative Committee spokesman said earlier this month.
The investigators believe this "created conditions for stealing Skolkovo money in favor of Ponomaryov."
"In order to legalize the payment of $450,000, Beltyukov prepared two reports under the guise of research papers, which absolutely had no scientific value and did not correspond to the requirements of the technical assignment, and attached them to the documents on the spending of funds," the Investigative Committee spokesman said.
According to the investigation, "in order to spend the remaining $300,000, Beltyukov signed another agreement with Ponomaryov, stipulating that the deputy should deliver a course of lectures and workshops on the topic: ‘Commercialization of New Technologies,’" the Investigative Committee spokesman said.
Some time later, Ponomaryov, indeed, submitted documents to the Skolkovo fund on lectures he had delivered, the spokesman said.
"However, when investigators started to study what these lectures were in reality, with each of them estimated at $30,000 on average, it turned out that these were short speeches from 3 to 18 minutes long and, incidentally, were unrelated to the stated theme. However, the reports indicated that these were full-fledged speeches," the spokesman said.
Therefore, the investigation believes that Ponomaryov helped Beltyukov embezzle a total of over 22 million rubles from the Skolkovo fund, the Investigative committee spokesman said.
The Main Investigative Department also continues investigating a criminal case against Skolkovo Senior Vice-President for Development and Commercialization Alexey Beltyukov on charges of the misuse of funds, the spokesman said.