MOSCOW, October 6 - RAPSI, Sergei Feklyunin. A commercial court held in favor of the lower-court's decision denying the Hermitage Capital fund's subsidiaries the right to three companies through which $164.71million in budget funds were stolen, the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) reported from the court on Thursday.

Hermitage Capital was one of the largest investment funds in Russia. In December 2009, the fund reported that police officers seized constituent documents from Hermitage's subsidiaries Rilend, Parfenion and Makhaon in June 2007.

Later, the ownership rights to the companies were registered under a fly-by-night firm and then used by a criminal gang to steal $164.71million.

According to the fund, the companies could only be re-registered using the documents seized by the police. The police officers had the documents during the re-registration.

A commercial appeals court dismissed a Hermitage Capital lawsuit in May.

The Moscow District Federal Commercial Court examined the case for the second time.

According to Hermitage, the dispute is connected with the criminal prosecution of deceased lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Magnitsky, who was accused of corporate tax evasion in relation to his work for the investment fund, died in an investigative isolation ward in November 2009. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, his death was caused by cardiovascular insufficiency.

The criminal case against Magnitsky was terminated by the Investigative Committee due to his death, but the Prosecutor General's Office decided to resume the investigation. Magnitsky's relatives have demanded that the case against him be dropped.