Boris Mazo did not get rid of the “case of restorers”
Kuibyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for the former Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Boris Mazo on the second “cause of restorers” – about the theft of more than 900 million rubles allocated for the construction of the Hermitage storage facility. The ex-official, who in 2015 held the position of director of the property management and investment policy department of the Ministry of Culture of Russia, was found guilty of fraud on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). He will also pay a fine of 600 thousand rubles.
Boris Mazo was judged later than other defendants. In 2018, he fled abroad and was arrested in absentia in Russia. Pretty soon, he was searched for in Austria, where the extradition procedure dragged on for two years – only on February 18, 2022, the Supreme Land Court of Vienna made the final decision to extradite Mazo to the Russian Federation for criminal prosecution. At the end of March 2021, he was expelled to his homeland.
In July 2022, his case was received by the Kuibyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg, but it did not immediately begin to consider it. The fact is that the defense petitioned to change the jurisdiction of the case. However, in November 2022, the Supreme Court of Russia refused this and decided to hear the case in the Northern capital.
As previously reported by Business FM, the Mekhstroytrans company carried out construction and installation work in the museum, namely the construction of a storage facility in the amount of 3.7 billion rubles. In the course of its execution, the accomplices stole over 900 million rubles allocated from the budget as an advance.
Subsequently, with the help of various financial transactions, they laundered part of the stolen funds in the amount of 800 million rubles. Later, the court declared the contractor bankrupt, and the Hermitage appealed to law enforcement agencies.
Boris Mazo denied guilt, but partially compensated for the damage by paying 500,000 out of the stolen 900 million rubles, the United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg said.
Lawyer who previously defended Boris Mazo Alexey Kupriyanov told Business FM that his client never hid from investigation and had the right to go abroad after he was released in the courtroom in the first “case of restorers.” “His whereabouts were known – he lived in Spain, then he traveled around Europe, he was detained in Austria, as he was put on the Interpol wanted list,” the defender explained.
He believes that there was no embezzlement of money when allocating an advance for the construction of the Hermitage storage facility.
Kupriyanov noted that it was not a one-day firm, but a large, well-known construction company. According to Kupriyanov, Boris Mazo was illegally prosecuted.
He explained that for a person to be charged with the article “fraud”, the loss of money is not legally required. “It is enough to obtain them illegally. This already forms the composition of this criminal offense,” the lawyer said. “Therefore, the prosecutor’s office considered that fraud had taken place, since the advance payment was illegally received. It doesn’t matter to them whether the money is lost or not.”
The defendants in the case, in addition to Boris Mazo, were initially the former Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory PirumovChairman of the Board of the Oil Alliance Bank Oleg Grigor, de facto head of the Rospan group of companies Nikita Kolesnikov, chief engineer of Gorizont LLC Valery Rogov, financial director of this company Yulia Begeza.
Depending on the role they were charged creation of a criminal community and participation in it, fraud on an especially large scale, legalization of funds acquired as a result of a crime (parts 2 and 3 of article 210, part 4 of article 159 and part 4 of article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In July 2022 Krasnogorsk City Court of the Moscow Region sentenced them to terms ranging from six years in a suspended colony to eight and a half years of real imprisonment. Grigory Pirumov received the longest term. His court decided to serve in a strict regime colony. He denied guilt in this case, in contrast to the first “case of the restorers.” It concerned the theft of more than 160 million rubles during the restoration of other cultural objects.
In this case, we are talking about seven objects: the Novodevichy and John the Baptist monasteries in Moscow, the Pskov Academic Drama Theater named after Pushkin, the Museum of Cosmonautics in Kaluga, the Izborsk fortress in the Pskov region, the Aseev estate in Tambov and the Kronprinz tower in Kaliningrad. The investigation found that contracts for repair and restoration work at these facilities were concluded with commercial structures at deliberately inflated prices, on average – by 25%. The Dorogomilovsky Court of Moscow in October 2017 appointed the defendants short terms: eight defendants received from one year of imprisonment on probation to one and a half real years.
In the first case, Pirumov pleaded guilty. Then the court released the key defendant and his four accomplices from serving their sentence: they served their sentence during the investigation and trial.