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Kirill Serebrennikov dismisses fraud accusations as absurd

The Russian stage director is suspected of masterminding an embezzlement scheme
Kirill Serebrennikov Sergei Bobylev/TASS
Kirill Serebrennikov
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. Russian stage director Kirill Serebrennikov detained on suspicion of masterminding a 68-million-ruble ($1 mln) fraud, deems the charges as ‘absurd’, his lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov told reporters on Tuesday.

"Kirill Semenovich [Serebrennikov] considers this accusation absolutely absurd. ‘Platform’ was the project that came off, and the money earmarked by the state was spent on this project," he said.

On Tuesday, the Russian Investigative Committee’s Special Investigations Department detained Artistic Director of the Moscow-based Gogol Center theater Kirill Serebrennikov. He is suspected of masterminding an embezzlement scheme of no less than 68 million rubles earmarked for the Platform project in 2011-2014.

His suspected activities are being classified by investigators under Part 4 of Section 159 of Russia’s Criminal Code (Large-scale fraud).

A court session to choose pre-trial restrictions for Serebrennikov is appointed for August 23. It will be held at Moscow’s Basmanny court at 12:00 Moscow time. "We don’t know as of yet what these restrictions will be. Request for the pre-trial restrictions will be submitted to the court tomorrow, at 10 am," Kharitonov said. He said that after the questioning, Serebrennikov was taken to Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility in eastern Moscow.

Earlier, Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said investigators have detained stage director Kirill Serebrennikov on the suspicion of masterminding 68-million-ruble ($1 million) fraud.

"The IC special investigations department has detained the artistic director of the Moscow theater Gogol-Center Kirill Serebrennikov," she said. Petrenko said he had pleaded not guilty during the questioning.

Former Gogol Center’s director and former producer of the Seventh Studio (Sedmaya Studiya) autonomous noncommercial organization Alexey Malobrodsky, as well as the organization’s former Director General Yury Itin and senior accountant Nina Maslyaeva were detained under the same criminal case. Nina Maslyaeva pleaded guilty.