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Russian-born US citizen gets 11-year prison sentence in absentia for embezzling $194 mln

The court noted that a Russian-born American citizen had committed 11 crimes under the fraud article

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Moscow’s Basmanny Court has handed down an 11-year prison sentence to Janna Bullock (Zhanna Bulakh) a Russian-born American citizen found guilty of embezzling 11 bln rubles ($194.2 mln) from the Moscow Region’s budget, TASS reports from the courtroom.

"The court finds Bullock guilty under Part 4 Article 159 (large-scale embezzlement) and Part 3 Article 174 (laundering money or other property purchased illegally) of the Russian Criminal Code and sentences (the defendant) in absentia to 11 years’ imprisonment in a general penal colony," as the judge announced the verdict. The court noted that Bullock had committed 11 crimes under the fraud article, the same as she did under the article on laundering.

The imprisonment term will be launched the moment she is detained or extradited to Russia.

The case of the ex-Moscow Region finance minister

Former Moscow Region Finance Minister Alexey Kuznetsov, who, according to media reports, is Janna Bullock’s husband, and his associates are being charged with embezzling 14 bln rubles ($247.2 mln) from the Moscow Region’s budget. Some perpetrators of this case - Valery Nosov, Vladislav Telepnev and Yelena Kuznetsova - are already serving time under the court’s rulings. Bullock’s case was heard in court in absentia, because she is hiding in the US with which Russia has no agreement on extradition.

Kuznetsov served as the Moscow Region Finance Minister in 2000-2008 and also as the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Moscow Region government in 2004-2008. He was arrested in the summer of 2013 near the city of Saint-Tropez on an arrest warrant issued by Russia. The former official had been on the Interpol wanted list since November 2012. In March 2015, the Court of Cassation in Paris satisfied the demand to extradite the wanted official to Russia, but the corresponding French government’s decree has not been signed yet.

Details of the case

Russian Investigative Committee Spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told TASS that Bullock’s role in the crimes consisted of plotting embezzlement schemes, coordinating the activities of the criminal group’s members and overseeing the movement of funds that were on the accounts of the restricted liability companies controlled by the organized gang members. According to Petrenko, the embezzled money was used to purchase luxury real estate in Switzerland and France, two hotels in France, 10 expensive cars, a Cayman Islands -registered motor yacht and other property.

"The investigation on the territory of the Russian Federation also found antique objects of art and historical value which Bullock tried to take to Finland ahead of her departure to the US, which was foiled by investigators," Petrenko said. "This property includes 1,357 objects - these are printed publications and books, paintings, passe-partouts with icons and newspaper extracts, paintings, furniture and interior design items, kitchenware, kitchen sets, statues, porcelain ware, coins, armor, cold and edged weapons, pistols and others." As long as this property was purchased by the defendant using the money that she and the organized gang members had embezzled, a decision was taken to confiscate it and turn it over to state property.