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Spanish court bars ex-wife, son of former Russian official from leaving country

According to the source, "they exercised their right not to be compelled to testify"
High Court of Justice of Andalusia wikimedia.org/Balbo/CC BY-SA 3.0
High Court of Justice of Andalusia
© wikimedia.org/Balbo/CC BY-SA 3.0

MADRID, November 8. /TASS/. The High Court of Justice of Andalusia has barred the ex-wife and son of Boris Mazo, a former Russian Culture Ministry official, from leaving Spain, a court source told TASS on Friday.

"The man that has been detained in Austria is a former Russian Culture Ministry official by the name of Boris Mazo," the source said, adding: "His ex-wife and son, as well as his [Spanish] lawyer, have also been detained [in Spain]." "His former wife and son were brought before a Marbella court yesterday," the source added.

According to the source, "they exercised their right not to be compelled to testify." Mazo’s ex-wife was ordered to appear in court twice a month. "They were barred from leaving the country and their passports were seized from them," the court source said, noting that the court was waiting for the Austrian judicial authorities to make a decision on Mazo.

Spanish police announced on Thursday that a former top Russian Culture Ministry official had been apprehended in Austria, while his ex-wife and son, both Russian nationals, had been detained in Spain. The Spanish authorities suspect them of money laundering.

A Vienna court is expected to consider putting Mazo in custody on Friday. At the same time, his extradition to Spain will also be considered.

Russian Culture Ministry cases

In Russia, Mazo is a defendant in a case against former Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov, charged with organizing a criminal community and fraud. The Russian Investigative Committee opened the case based on the Federal Security Service’s files related to the embezzlement of at least 450 mln rubles ($7 mln) allocated for the construction of the Hermitage Museum’s buildings.

Prior to that, Pirumov and Mazo were defendants in the so-called "art conservators’ case". On October 9, 2017, Pirumov was sentenced to 1.5 years in jail and a fine to the tune of 300,000 rubles ($4,700), but was freed in the courtroom as he had served out his sentence during a preliminary investigation and a court trial. Boris Mazo was slapped with an 18-month sentence and a 250,000-ruble fine ($3,900). He left Russia after the sentence had been passed. Earlier reports said that he was hiding in his Spanish mansion and had no plans to return to Russia.