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Moscow district court extends arrest of Russian ex-minister

Mikhail Abyzov’s attorneys said they would challenge the court ruling

MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. A Moscow district court has extended the arrest of former Russian minister Mikhail Abyzov, who is facing fraud charges, for two more month, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom on Thursday.

According to the Moscow Basmanny district court, investigators provided convincing evidence of Abyzov’s involvement in the crime he is charged with. The court refused to satisfy his defense’s petition to release him under home arrest saying he may flee the country, destroy the evidence or exert pressure on the witnesses.

Abyzov’s attorneys however said they would challenge the court ruling.

Mikhail Abyzov, who had been minister for open government affairs in 2012-2018, was detained on March 26 on charges of embezzling four billion rubles (about 61.82 million US dollars at the current exchange rate) and setting up a criminal group.

According to investigators, between April 2011 and November 2014, Abyzov as a beneficiary owner of a number of offshore commercial organizations set up a criminal network and steered its activities. Along with other individuals, he embezzled four billion rubles belonging to the Siberian Energy Company and Regional Power Networks, electricity generating and supplying companies in the Novosibirsk region. The Russian Investigative Committee says the stolen funds were entirely channeled abroad to an offshore company controlled by Abyzov.