MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. The Basmanny Court of Moscow ruled to sent Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Tikhonov, accused of embezzlement of 603 mln rubles ($7.9 mln), to a pre-trial detention center for two months, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.
"The petition of the investigation is legal, substantiated, motivated and subject to satisfaction," according to the ruling by Judge Valentina Levashova. The court also ruled to detain other persons involved in the case until November 8.
The Investigative Committee asked to keep the official under arrest until November 8. It grounded its petition by the fact that if a milder measure was chosen, Tikhonov could hide from the investigation, put pressure on witnesses, hamper an objective investigation of the criminal case and continue to engage in criminal activity.
The prosecutor supported the investigation's petition and said that Tikhonov's involvement in the crime was confirmed by the testimony of a witness.
Tikhonov's lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling. The defense also asked to postpone the meeting for 72 hours, since the case file does not contain information about the state of health of the official. The lawyers said that the criminal prosecution of Tikhonov was an attempt to "discredit the ministry’s top officials."
"The charges are actually based on the testimony of one interested person," one of the lawyers said.
According to the files of the case, presented to the court, the Russian Energy Agency (REA) under the Energy Ministry was recognized as the injured party. According to the investigation, Tikhonov has real estate in France, and by his order, his associates are putting pressure on witnesses. Tikhonov noted that the real estate indicated by the investigation was officially declared.
According to spokeswoman of the Investigative Committee Svetlana Petrenko, the investigation revealed that former director of Federal State Budgetary Institution REA Anatoly Tikhonov, his adviser Roman Ryzhkov, as well as vice-presidents of JSC Lanit Vladimir Makarov and Viktor Serebryakov were involved in the theft of at least 603 million rubles. They all were detained and charged with fraud. Tikhonov has been the Deputy Energy Minister since the summer of 2019. According to the Investigative Committee, the defendants stole the money allocated for the creation of an information system.