The Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) has completed an investigation into the criminal case of the former director of the Department of Property Management and Investment Policy of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation Boris Mazo.
Ex-official, accused of embezzlement of a little more than 800 million rubles. during the construction and restoration of the Hermitage objects in 2015-2016, last year it was issued to Russia by Austria. Now Boris Mazo, together with his lawyer, is getting acquainted with the materials of the investigation. Meanwhile, the Moscow City Court extended the arrest of the accused for another three months, until May 16 this year. The former official does not admit his guilt.
Consideration of the petition of the investigation team of the TFR to extend the period of arrest of Boris Mazo in the Moscow City Court went according to the expected scenario. The investigation insisted on extending the measure of restraint to the former director of the property management and investment policy department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, noting that he was accused of a serious crime committed as part of an organized group. According to the representative of the investigative team, Boris Mazo cannot be at large during the period while he and his lawyers are getting acquainted with his 80-volume criminal case. In the event that a different measure of restraint, not related to detention, is chosen for him, the accused, in the opinion of the investigation, may hide and continue to engage in criminal activities and put pressure on witnesses. As an argument, they cited the fact that Boris Mazo was already hiding abroad, where he asked for political asylum. However, as Kommersant previously reported, in March last year, after lengthy legal proceedings, Austria extradited the former official to Russia.
In turn, Boris Mazo, who had already spent a year in the special block of Matrosskaya Tishina (the so-called Kremlin Central), told Judge Alexandra Kovalevskaya that he was not going to run anywhere, and would not be able to do this, since during the extradition law enforcement officers took away he has all the documents. And so he asked the court to change his preventive measure to at least house arrest. The ex-official’s request was supported by his lawyer Vladislav Musiyaka. He stated that the accused was not hiding from anyone at all, and he moved to Austria for treatment even before the initiation of a criminal case. There, according to Mr. Musiyaka, the accused officially registered and, having learned later about the criminal case, notified the Investigative Committee of the place of his stay, indicating the address. In addition, the defense presented to the court medical documents testifying to the poor health of Boris Mazo, who has several serious illnesses. In addition, Musiyaka’s lawyer asked the court to take into account that the law does not prevent the placement of the accused under Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud on an especially large scale) under house arrest.
As a result, Judge Alexandra Kovalevskaya found the arguments of the investigation more convincing and extended Mazo’s preventive measure for another three months.
At the same time, the judge agreed with the position of the defense that when familiarizing themselves with the materials of the criminal case, the investigation is engaged in red tape. Of the 80 volumes, according to Mr. Musiyaka, the accused and his defense managed to get acquainted with only six volumes.
Recall, according to investigators, in 2015, former Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov created a criminal group, which included several people, including Boris Mazo, as well as the head of the Rospan group of companies, Nikita Kolesnikov, who is engaged in the construction business. The purpose of the perpetrators, according to the investigation, was the theft of budgetary funds in the amount of more than 916 million rubles allocated for the construction of a complex of buildings and the Hermitage storage facility under a state contract concluded by the museum and MekhStroyTrans LLC, controlled by Nikita Kolesnikov. In 2015-2016, the investigation calculated, the criminal group managed to steal 800 million rubles. The trial in the case of alleged accomplices of Boris Mazo is already underway in the city court of Krasnogorsk near Moscow.
According to the lawyer Vladislav Musiyaka, who is going to appeal the decision of the Moscow City Court, Boris Mazo, “the investigation is actually holding hostage the results of the verdict of the Krasnogorsk City Court, which is considering the case of former Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov and others.” The lawyer added that the evidence contained in the criminal case was “sucked out of thin air.” At the same time, Mr. Musiyaka noted, during the extradition, Austria imposed a ban on bringing charges against Boris Mazo under Part 3 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and part 4 of Art. 174.1 (creation of a criminal community, as well as legalization of criminal proceeds on an especially large scale), although the investigation was going to do this.