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Austrian court releases former Russian Culture Ministry official on bail

In Russia, Mazo is a defendant in a case against former Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov, charged with organizing a criminal network and fraud

VIENNA, November 8. /TASS/. The Vienna Regional Criminal Court has released former Russian Culture Ministry official Boris Mazo on a 25,000 euro bail, barring him from leaving the country, a court source told TASS on Friday.

"The individual concerned has been released on a 25,000 euro bail and barred from leaving Austria. He must stay at the Vienna address where he is registered and appear in court when necessary," the source said.

A Vienna prosecution source confirmed to TASS on Thursday that Austria had detained the former Russian official at Spain’s request.

Spanish police announced earlier 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.

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 network 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.