The Second Cassation Court of General Jurisdiction rejected the complaints of those convicted of embezzlement of 49 million rubles. from the accounts of the Russian embassy in Israel, the former accountant of the diplomatic mission Natalia Zhuravleva, her assistant Anna Sidorova and the chief accountant of the FSUE State Foreign Property Irina Los. According to the verdict, the defendants wrote off funds on false documents, allegedly for renting premises and paying taxes and fees, and then spent them on real estate in Moscow and the region. For this, Ms. Zhuravleva and Ms. Elk were sentenced to six and five years in a penal colony, respectively. The execution of Ms. Sidorova’s punishment was postponed until her children reached the age of 14. The lawyers insisted that the investigation incorrectly identified the injured party in the case, but the cassation court did not agree with them.
The Second Cassation Court of General Jurisdiction considered complaints against the verdict passed earlier in this criminal case by the Nagatinsky Court of the capital. During the proceedings in the court of first instance, it turned out that from October 2012 to August 2014, the figurants, using their official position, stole more than 49 million rubles in ruble equivalent from the foreign currency accounts of the diplomatic institution. To do this, the case says, they forged documents, according to which the money was allegedly transferred to the rental of real estate, as well as the payment of local taxes and fees.
As established in the TFR, other heads of the diplomatic institution, including the ambassador, were not aware of the fraud, as they were misled. However, in 2014, during the next financial audit, the theft was revealed. Anna Sidorova and Natalia Zhuravleva were accused of especially large-scale fraud (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). At the same time, Ms. Sidorova immediately cooperated with the investigation and gave confessions. Partially agreed to admit guilt and Natalia Zhuravleva. Based on their testimony, Irina Los was also prosecuted.
In court, it turned out that the millions of sums withdrawn from the foreign currency account of the embassy were spent by malefactors on the purchase of real estate in Moscow and the region.
The Nagatinsky court sentenced Natalia Zhuravleva to six years in prison, her colleague Anna Sidorova to eight years, and Irina Los received five years in a penal colony. However, only convicts Zhuravleva and Los had to actually serve their sentences.
Ms. Sidorova was released because she is raising two young children and granted a reprieve until they reach the age of 14.
First, the convicts appealed the verdict to the Moscow City Court, insisting either on a review of the case or on a reduction in the terms of imprisonment. Moreover, Irina Los, as in the district court, asked for an excuse, stubbornly refusing to admit her guilt. But the city court rejected all complaints, after which the lawyers appealed to the Second Cassation Court. Anna Sidorova, apparently not counting on success, this time refused to file a complaint.
In the cassation instance, the lawyers asked to cancel the verdict and send the case materials for a new trial, but not in the Nagatinsky, but in the Presnensky court.
The lawyers insisted that earlier the investigators of the Main Investigative Committee of the ICR incorrectly identified the injured party, identifying the Russian Embassy in Israel as such. Therefore, the case was considered in the Nagatinskiy court, at the place of residence of one of the accused. In reality, defenders assure, the case should have been considered in the Presnensky Court of Moscow, which has jurisdiction over the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Lawyers for Irina Los also claimed that Natalia Zhuravleva had slandered her. “Irina was brought to the case as a defendant at the very end of the preliminary investigation,” lawyer Violetta Volkova explained, “but Zhuravleva refused the testimony given against her in court.” However, the Court of Cassation decided that the injured party had been correctly identified and upheld the verdict.