MOSCOW, June 6 - RAPSI. The Moscow City Court found Russian businessman Victor Baturin guilty of fraud for his illegitimate sale of a central Moscow property, the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) has reported.
The verdict is still currently being read, and the sentence has not yet been announced. Prosecutors have sought a suspended sentence with three year probation.
The defense claimed innocence.
According to investigators, Baturin sold his acquaintance a 211 square meter property in the center of Moscow that he co-owned with his wife on June 2, 2008. The deal yielded 23.8 million rubles ($850,500).
Investigators maintain that Baturin entered into one more contract for sale of the property on June 30, with another purchaser, Dmitry Zhuravlyov. Zhuravlyov, director of investments at PTK Gazstroykomplekt, paid $1.5 million for the property. Later, Zhuravlyov said that Baturin had returned the money and compensated him for damages. Therefore, Zhuravlyov had no claims to pursue against Baturin. Zhuravlyov stated that he was hoping for the most lenient sentence for Baturin – even acquittal, if possible.
Baturin was charged with large-scale fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The businessman has insisted that the case is a set-up, but could not identify who might profit from his prosecution.