Russia asks Interpol to trace producer linked to theater director embezzlement case
MOSCOW, November 28 (RAPSI) – Russian prosecutors have forwarded a request to Interpol seeking to place producer Yekaterina Voronova, charged in the embezzlement case involving the Gogol Center theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, on its wanted list, the Prosecutor General’s Office has told RAPSI.
Reportedly, Voronova was an executive producer of A Midsummer Night's Dream theater performance expected to be staged in framework of realization of the Platforma project. However, the performance has not been staged.
In September, a Moscow court issued an arrest warrant for Voronova in absentia. Investigators allege that she has fled to Latvia.
Serebrennikov was arrested in late August and then placed under house arrest. In early November, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court seized assets belonging to Serebrennikov including apartment, car, and money in the amount of more than 360,000 rubles ($6,000), over € 60,000, and $4,000.
Investigators believe that he was an organizer of the budget money embezzlement. The defendant denied wrongdoing.
He allegedly created Seventh Studio stage company to actualize the Platforma project for promotion of art and invited former head of the company Yury Itin, ex- general producer Alexey Malobrodsky, and former chief accountant Nina Maslyayeva, among others, into organization.
Investigators believe that Itin, Malobrodsky, and Maslyayeva were falsifying data for the Platforma project’s plans in 2011-2014 on request of the theater director. This data was provided to the Ministry of Culture as the rationale for financing from the state budget.
Earlier, Maslyayeva has testified against Serebrennikov. She said that Serebrennikov, Malobrodsky and Itin organized embezzlement of money allocated for a cultural event. Serebrennikov and Malobrodsky cashed the money with the assistance of Maslyayeva. The woman also said that she entered falsified data in financial reports.
Former official of Russia’s Culture Ministry and current director of the Russian Academic Youth Theater Sophia Apfelbaum has been also arrested and put under house arrest on embezzlement charges. According to investigators, from 2011 to 2014, Apfelbaum signed contracts on state grants in the amount of more than 214 million rubles ($3.7 million) with Serebrennikov’s Seventh Studio stage company on behalf of the Russian Culture Ministry, and provided further agreement of received reporting documents, which contained overstated information on quantity and cost of the held events. Thus, she has abetted the embezzlement of about 68 million rubles ($1.2 million) by Serebrennikov and his alleged accomplices, investigators said.
Apfelbaum admitted that she controlled the movement of cash but pleaded not guilty to embezzlement.